FolkWorld Live Review 04/2004 by Eelco Schilder

TRAD IT Festival
March 2004 Groningen, the Netherlands


Wolfgang MeyeringThe TRADIT festival is a relatively new festival in the upper north of the Netherlands. This year it had it's second edition and it was the first edition I attended. The reason why I travelled to Groningen was the challenging program and I wasn't disappointed.

The evening started with Wolfgang Meyering's project Malbrook, one of the reasons for me to be there considering the fact that the Malbrook cd was one of the best in 2003. Together with five musicians from both Germany and Sweden, Wolfgang showed great care for the music. It took the band a few songs to get away the nerves and what followed was fifty minutes of intense songs and exciting tunes. The concert had a warm, friendly atmosphere helped by the both peaceful and convincing vocals of Wolfgang but also the nice musical arrangements. It was clear that the band just loved what they were doing on stage. Most of all this concert showed how close the musical traditions in the North of Europe (I'm including North-Germany and Holland in this) are connected.

After this strong start I went to the big concerthall to see the known Cara Dillon. It didn't take long until I got so irritated by her fake presentation and no-risk middle of the road folkpop that within 20 minutes I choose to drink a beer with friends instead of torturing myself by staying in the concerthall. Luckily the evening had two other surprises waiting. The English Dr.Faustus, which until this day was unknown to me, surprised me with their fresh interpretation of English traditionals. Virtuoso, humour and passion made their concert one of the three highlights from this festival.

Warsaw Village BandThe third highlight was the Warsaw village band who gave a concert for the first time on Dutch grounds. Although the band didn't look to happy (was it concentration? Did they just arrive and were they tired?) the music had fire and was full of a dangerous tension. The strong female vocals, the roaring violins and beating drum, created a dark, sometimes hypnotising atmosphere. Between the highlights I enjoyed myself by listening to Four men and a dog which clearly is a group full of experience and just relaxed to watch. The same for the French group Le diabl' dans la fourche. Bit more intense was the Norwegian duo Jon Alders Halvorsen & Tore Bruvoll. This duo brought fragile Norwegian traditionals.

I can conclude that the TRADIT festival fulfilled my expectations. I did go their to see Malbrook and Warsaw village band who both were as good as I hoped they would be. I discovered Dr Faustus and enjoyed a few others. Nice that this festival dared to take the risk of programming some unknown names besides the known names. It makes a festival much more interesting to visit.

Photo Credit: Photos by The Mollis: (1) Wolfgang Meyering of Malbrook (at TFF Rudolstadt); (2) Warsaw Village Band at TFF Rudolstadt

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