Tristan Driessens

As a great admirer of Wannes Van de Velde, the man who wove rebetiko and flamenco into Flemish folk singing, Tristan Driessens mixes a variety of eastern influences in the world of Western European folk music. Long before the Belgian oud player would be introduced in the secrets of classical Ottoman music, he was widely known as a talented folk dancer.

Together with hardanger violinist Wim Baeck, he formed the core of Balacordes, a band which expressed their mutual passion for Swedisch polska, Irish jig and other folk traditions. In his recent recordings, mainly Tristan’s inspiration from the Turkish masters resonated, whereas with A Folk Dancer’s Journey he returns to his first passion: A French circle dance mixes with a dazzling lezginka from Azerbeidzjan (Caucasian Eagle dance), a mazurka goes over in an irregular rhythmical pattern on the heavenly sounds of the Turkish kemençe (Alethea’s First Song) and tin-whistle tones float on the gnawa grooves of a Jewish Moroccan song (Mandragora’s Jig).

This album presents an almost perfect synthesis of the musical routes Driessens has been exploring over the past years, as it features an impressive cast of musicians with whom he has been collaborating: the Turkish kemençe master Derva Türkan (Lâmekân Ensemble), French hurdy gurdy virtuoso Gregory Jolivet, Bulgarian tapan player Niki Aleksandrov (Karsilama Quintet), Armenian duduk player Vardan Hovanissian, Belgian Woodwind Wizard Tom Callens (Soolmaan, La Compagnie d’Elias), Belgian early music expert Jowan Merckx (AmorromA) and many others. A Folk Dancer’s Journey paints the picture of a restless nomad who, accompanied by his faithful lute, has reached a crucial stage on his way between East and West.

Childhood friends and pioneering musicians

Press reviews "A Folk Dancer's Journey"

Dit is met afstand de mooiste cd die ik in lange tijd beluisterd heb. Een cd ook die je in gedachten doet reizen naar het Oosten, en die toont dat Oost en West weliswaar verschillen van elkaar, maar samen ook prachtige dingen kunnen bereiken.

Folkroddels, 2019

Ranging across most of Europe, and from the Renaissance to the railroad era, this album centres on old instruments - oud, flute, harp, violin and percussion - to perform dance music from Scandinavia to Samarkand, as well as some improvised pieces more suited to listening. Driessens plays oud, and its distinctive slack-strung sound leads some tracks and seasons most others, but A Folk Dancer's Journey gathers over a dozen other musicians, mainly from France and Belgium. The only name I recognise is Gregory Jolivet, hurdy-gurdy maestro with Blowzabella: I'm guessing the others come from the folk dance world, highly competent players of woodwind and strings mainly, with backgrounds in Bulgarian, Turkish, Irish, Swedish and other traditions.

Folkworld, 2019

Onze wellicht grootste meester op oud, en de laatste jaren vooral bezig met talloze boeiende, Oosters geïnspireerde, projecten (waaronder Refugees For Refugees), liet eerder al zijn liefde blijken voor onze eigen (dans)traditie toen hij ons onder meer wist te bekoren met Balacordes Duo. Op A folk dancer’s journey gaat hij andermaal voluit de oriëntaalse invloeden verweven met de West-Europese volksmuziek.

New Folk Sounds, 2019

De kracht van Tristan Driessens is niet alleen dat hij zijn instrument zodanig goed beheerst, dat hij vrijwel iedere stijl aankan, maar vooral dat hij, allicht mede door zijn veelvuldig reizen en alom studeren, ook al deze stijlen onder de knie heeft gekregen, zodat je, ook na vele beluisteringen, je bewondering alleen maar voelt toenemen. Als Tristan zich ergens ingooit, dan lijkt hij niet tevreden voor hij alles tot in de puntjes onder de knie heeft: dàn pas lijkt hij iets te kunnen toevoegen en begint zijn echte rol als componist/arrangeur en muzikant.

Folkworld, 2019

Media "Tristan Driessens"

Tristan Driessens

As a great admirer of Wannes Van de Velde, the man who wove rebetiko and flamenco into Flemish folk singing, Tristan Driessens mixes a variety of eastern influences in the world of Western European folk music. Long before the Belgian oud player would be introduced in the secrets of classical Ottoman music, he was widely known as a talented folk dancer.

Together with hardanger violinist Wim Baeck, he formed the core of Balacordes, a band which expressed their mutual passion for Swedisch polska, Irish jig and other folk traditions. In his recent recordings, mainly Tristan’s inspiration from the Turkish masters resonated, whereas with A Folk Dancer’s Journey he returns to his first passion: A French circle dance mixes with a dazzling lezginka from Azerbeidzjan (Caucasian Eagle dance), a mazurka goes over in an irregular rhythmical pattern on the heavenly sounds of the Turkish kemençe (Alethea’s First Song) and tin-whistle tones float on the gnawa grooves of a Jewish Moroccan song (Mandragora’s Jig).

This album presents an almost perfect synthesis of the musical routes Driessens has been exploring over the past years, as it features an impressive cast of musicians with whom he has been collaborating: the Turkish kemençe master Derva Türkan (Lâmekân Ensemble), French hurdy gurdy virtuoso Gregory Jolivet, Bulgarian tapan player Niki Aleksandrov (Karsilama Quintet), Armenian duduk player Vardan Hovanissian, Belgian Woodwind Wizard Tom Callens (Soolmaan, La Compagnie d’Elias), Belgian early music expert Jowan Merckx (AmorromA) and many others. A Folk Dancer’s Journey paints the picture of a restless nomad who, accompanied by his faithful lute, has reached a crucial stage on his way between East and West.