My fluency in Dutch is measured in negative numbers but I do know that draak means dragon. Wouter En De Draak are Wouter Kuyper who plays accordion and bagpipes and guitarist Joris Alblas, who must be the dragon although anyone who looks less draconian you couldn’t hope to meet. They are augmented by Isaac Muller on whistle, flute and bombarde, Frank Van Vliet on brass, percussion by Roeland Uijtewilligen and by Harald Bauweraerts who plays hurdy gurdy on one track. Zonnewachter is their second album and the title means sun watcher which doesn’t do a lot to explain the cover design.
Most of the twelve instrumental tracks are written by Wouter with three by Joris and all are in dance form with an emphasis on continental styles – no reels to be found. The set opens with a lively polka, ‘Fireflies And Mosquitoes’, and that’s followed by ‘Legopolska’ – I suspect there may be a joke somewhere in there – a light, airy tune. Next comes ‘Scottish Périphérique’ which is described as “Scottish”, presumably a schottische, and which features hurdy gurdy. and then comes a mazurka, which is introduced by Joris’ guitar and features Van Vliet’s brass.
Joris’ first composition is ‘Costa Gwad’ which is essentially a guitar piece with flute and percussion. Gwad may be a place in Switzerland which is pretty far from any costa so I suspect another joke. ‘Turning 84’ is a waltz and continues the gentler style of ‘Costa Gwad’. Again the brass has its turn to shine. Then come a bourrée, two gavottes and another waltz – ‘Gavotte Caresse’ does just that – and finally Joris closes the album, firstly with a finger-picked set of jigs over Wouter’s rhythm accordion and lastly ‘Sarah’s Waltz’.
I’m not sure I would dance to Zonnewachter even when I was younger and fitter but I’ve enjoyed listening to it very much. There is more variety than you might imagine and some catchy melodies to make you go back and listen again.
Artists’ website: https://www.wouterkuyper.nl/groepen-en-projecten/wouter-en-de-draak/
‘Fireflies And Mosquitoes’ – official video:
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