Derroll's Dream

© Andy Somogy © Wiet Van de Leest © Willy Cornette © Janis Mednis © Nick Hannes © Pia Maarit Kokko © © Dave Henderson © Stephan Vanfleteren
10 July 2010
Theatre Stage
//   15:00

Derroll's Dream

Project creation by Brosella-Gentse Feesten-Dranouter
Vera Coomans (vocals), Soetkin Baptist (vocals, mezzo-soprano), Lady Angelina (vocals), Anu Junnonen (vocals), Anja Kowalski (vocals), Kaat Arnaert (vocals) and Maggie Holland (vocals, banjo)
Orchestra directed by Timur Sergeyenia, Laci Olach, Farhad Yuldashev, Vanessa Salamon, Clair Bourdet (first violins), Stefan De Rycke, Emmanuel Crombeen, Eva Ackerman (second violins), Laurent Tardat, Maria Chichova, Danila Mashkin (alt violins), Maxim Fernandez-Samodayev, Bart Verhaeghe (celli), Sergey Gorlenko or Svetoslav Dimitriev (double bass)
and Roland Van Campenhout (guitar)
Under the musical direction of Wiet Van de Leest (violin)
Derroll Adams, an American singer-songwriter and folk artist, spent half of his life in Belgium, neatly divided between Brussels and Antwerp. He was a beautiful man and a friend of the Vrienden Van Brosella (Friends of Brosella), but also very good mates with quite a few musicians. One of them, Wiet Van de Leest, told us that Derroll dreamed about performing one day with plenty of violins and female vocals. Usually, he was on stage on his own, with just the five-string banjo and his deep velvet voice. Wiet took the challenge to fulfil Derroll’s dream. Brosella created in 2001 (with huge success) a project “The Derroll Adams Tribute Big Band” to honour this legendary folk hero. And now three festivals are joining forces to make Derroll’s dream come true and to honour the tenth anniversary of his passing.
Patrick Ferryn made in 2005 a documentary of 85 minutes about the artist, called "I Was Born In Portland Town". Copies of this documentary will be for sale during the festival.

Vera Coomans, singer with the famous folk band Rum at the end of the sixties and of Madou with Wiet van de Leest in the seventies. Her voice was honoured in the past by Arno and has not lost any strength yet. The accordionist Philip Hoesen and, more recently, guitarist Tom Theuns are amongst her musical companions.

Soetkin Baptist, lead singer of Ishtar between 2004 and 2009, she also took part in 2008 in the European Song Contest in Belgrade, finishing second with the band. Today, she’s a member of several ensembles and joins in various projects (Encantar, Polygone, Chansons sans Paroles by Wouter Vandenabeele, ...).

Lady Angelina the description of her songs as a mixture of blood and castorsugar gives a clear impression of the style. She throws the audience into a world of passionate kitsch, tragic romance and bombastic fragility with compelling songs in French, Dutch, Spannish and Yiddish.

Anu Junnonen, Finnish vocalist who got the taste for jazz in her teens. She attended lessons and masterclasses by Maria Schneider, Herb Pomeroy, David Lynx, Hank Roberts and others. She performs today in various bands: including “aNoo” (original repertoire with strong roots influences), “The Screaming Bitches” (A capella quartet) and the international trio “The Caribous” (mixture of pop & free jazz).

Anja Kowalski sings and plays guitar in several bands (“Flat Earth Society”, David Bovée, Pierre Vaiana, …) and is involved in interdisciplinary projects on the national and international scene (Opera “Heliogabal” by Peter Vermeersch; “LARF” by Josse De Pauw; “Le Tango des Centaures” by Théâtre National & Lucilia Caesar, ...).

Kaat Arnaert, the tortured, fragile singer of the bands “Sutrastore” (mix of triphop and pop) and “Tommigun” is still too often compared to her sister, Geike Arnaert (ex-“Hooverphonic”). This young lady deserves to be judged by her sexy voice and on her own merits.

Maggie Holland met Derroll Addams for the first time in Bristol in 1972 during the recordings of the “Feelin’ Fine” album. He inspired her to pick up the banjo. Later on, in 1976, she played bass on his “Movin’ On” album. Some of Derroll’s songs are still in Maggies’s repertoire today.

Roland Van Campenhout, emblematic giant of the Belgian music scene, is an extremely driven artist. He has been involved over the years in almost every music style: blues, rock, folk, country, world, jazz, whatever makes him tick... Derrol Addams was one of his first musical encounters. Derroll took him under his wing and introduced him to folk and blues. And Roland, who’s particularly sensitive to friendship, still carries Derroll in his heart.

Wiet Van de Leest, his name will forever be associated with the folk group Rum and later on with Madou. Wiet is a versatile musician (violin, guitar, berlinitza (East European stringed instrument) banjo and harmonium). His passions (the Soignes forest, which he used to guard as a forester or World War I) are sources of inspiration for his creations. For example, “Grijsland, Citizens of Death’s Grey Land” by Les Enfants de l’Yser, was created under his musical direction in 2003.
Press Quotes:
His friends and admirers:

Alan Taylor: He never lost sight of the dream that we all shared when we started out "on the road". Not for his fame or glory or money, just the joy of playing music and getting by.

Allen J. Redman: Derroll's music, and his role in the music and folk song field, has showed a deep change from the beginnings (or at least the first known recordings in the late fifties), until the last performances and recordings of the '90s.

Dick Gaugan: I saw a cowboy hat move above the sea of heads and stop, turning to face the hall, fixed in the one spot. Then the most astonishing thing happened. Silence began to slowly move backwards from the stage area, an almost physical wave creeping through the hall. People stopped in mid-shout and turned to see what was causing everyone else to fall silent. Once the silence was solidly established, a deep, rough, lived-in voice began to sing. This was my first experience of Derroll Adams and was a master class in that oft-discussed phenomenon, "stage presence".

Donovan: I didn’t know how to fingerpick until I met Derroll, who played banjo in a very unique way. I would follow Derroll around like Dylan being a disciple of Woody Guthrie.

Elliott Murphy: I had never heard "Portland Town" until that night in Belgium. I could probably not find it in any music store in Paris and I'm sure it will never be played on the radio anywhere if I listened all year long. And when I heard it that night I cried. I hadn't shed a tear at a concert in a long, long time.

Hugo Valcke: Seeing and hearing Derroll Adams play and sing when I was seventeen, was a personal and musical turning point. Since then I have been captivated by the possibilities of the banjo as an instrument. Whether used in traditional old-time music, bluegrass, Irish folk music, New Orleans or Dixieland jazz and swing, the banjo is as diverse as its music.

Martin Kingsburry: He was a man with style and presence reaching legend status in Europe with his unique banjo style.

Michel Hindenoch : Grand musicien, il avait cette qualité rare : Sa voix nous plaçait en nous-mêmes, au plus profond : Là où nous cachons nos larmes premières.

Mojo Mendolia: Derroll Adams, the Zen master of the five string banjo and Folk singer from Oregon/USA became famous for his song "Portland Town", an anti war song, he wrote a long time before the Vietnam war. Not only was he a fine musician. Much more than that he was a great buddy and a deep thinker, from whom I learnt a lot as a youngster.

Tucker Zimmerman: . . . And Derroll was generous too. He gave himself away at all times. He gave himself away to audiences and he gave himself away to strangers on the street. On a winter day in the mid-1980s

The press: : Quite a few English banjo-players started out back in the late 1950s, inspired by the skiffle craze, and also, some of them, by Ramblin' Jack Elliott and his banjo-playing compadre Derroll Adams, who lived in the UK for some years and was an inspiration to many. Banjo player Derroll Adams quietly influenced every musician he came in contact with during his life A new Dolly recording was recently released overseas, with the issue of Banjoman, a tribute album to legendary banjo picker Derroll Adams

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