Made in Belgium: Laïs

Belgium has a vibrant folk scene and one of the top acts is Laïs. These 3 hip young women are known for their polyphonic harmonious (a-capella) singing, often based on medieval international texts. Discovered by the folk group Kadril they got a first big career opportunity at the folk festival of Dranouter in 1996 and their passage their didn't go unnoticed in the folk scene. Their first CD in 1998 was a European success right away . New concerts at Dranouter followed, but also Rock Werchter, concerts abroad (eg supporting act for Sting in France in 99).

One of their first singles " 't Smidje" about a blacksmith and his unhappy marriage has become a well-known folk dance in Flanders even for non-folk lovers. It always amazes me to hear this being played at a normal party ...and to see all these teenagers lining up and starting to dance.

In the winter of 2008 the Belgian press all of a sudden discovered that there was a remarkable number of you-tube movies from Poland where you can see Polish kids dancing to ...indeed " 't Smidje" by Laïs. Nobody is exactly sure how they have become a hype in Poland but it's probably due to the many exchanges by Flemish youth organisations & Polish youth organisations. Quite funny!

Smidje - 1998

Smidje dance here in Belgium and examples from Poland here , here, here, here, here, ....

Dorothea - 2000

Le renard et la belette - 2002
This is a famous folk song from Bretany famous in France in the version of Tri Yann or in the version by Manau which I really really love! Quite different from Laïs. I love listening to the 2 versions after one another.

Kalima Kadara (end titles of Flikken in season 7)


Brian Miller said…
love the blend of instruments in the second it plays well with their voices...whats up with the skull?
Goofball said…
@Brian: good question....if I google a bit, Yorunn would have a fascination for skulls and took one for a photoshoot
Kathleen said…
I love this band. I should listen to one of their cd's again one of these days.
Betsy said…
ik ken een Belgische vrouw die haar dochtertje Laïs genoemd heeft-- vraag me af of het iets met deze groep te maken heeft, of het ook een andere betekenis heeft?
Goofball said…
@Betsy: geen idee. Als ik google vind ik dat het een Griekse courtisane is maar ook lied, stem betekent.

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