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WOUTER EN DE DRAAK - Zonnewachter 

WOUTER EN DE DRAAK - Zonnewachter 
Private Label 

This is album number two from Dutch balfolk duo, Wouter En De Draak. Comprising Wouter Kuyper on diatonic accordion / bagpipes and Joris Alblas on acoustic guitar, Zonnewachter has 12 tracks of original music from the pair. With a scattering of other musicians on flute, whistle, bombarde, flugelhorn, trumpet, percussion and hurdy gurdy, the duo plays its way through several different dance forms – polskas, waltzes, mazurkas, bourrées, gavottes etc. – to create a varied and pleasing album.

The musicianship is first class, with Wouter’s accordion and pipes weaving in and out where necessary, and the guitar being equally suited to accompanying and lead roles. Joris is an excellent DADGAD player, with strong rhythm where it is needed, and the ability to flatpick too (as in the set of jigs he wrote, Fretjetoe). The album begins with Fireflies And Mosquitoes, a catchy tune with a happy feel (even if it is about mosquitoes!). It is one of the more traditional sounding tracks here, and works well. It was hard not to be drawn in to the movement of Valse Draque, a waltz that builds in speed and intensity as it develops, or the very chilled out mazurka, Mazurmeau, and its mildly jazzy hues with the addition of the brass instruments and flute.

Mention must also be made of the excellent quality of the recording (by Jeroen Geerinck of Studio Trad in Belgium). The clarity of the sound throughout is outstanding, and the guitar in particular is recorded beautifully.

Fiona Heywood


This review appeared in Issue 140 of The Living Tradition magazine