Posts Tagged ‘on the road’

Like thousands of other fans around Belgium and the world I was in awe of Urban Trad. The band seemed to explode onto the scene around 2001, a year after I had moved to Belgium. By 2003 and their second album, they were well and truly established as one of the biggest acts on the European circuit. The Eurovision song contest 2003 saw them end up in second place with a song called Sanomi which was unique in the sense that it was a song composed from a constructed language (prompting the famous remark of BBC commentator Terry Wogan “They’ve got 4 languages in Belgium and they’re singing in an imaginary one, the very essence of the Euro” (No comment) 🙂

I remember politics also reared it’s ugly head during that time  as my friend, singer Soetkin Collier did not attend the event in Riga due to allegations which arose in the newspaper “De Standaard” as they said she had political sympathies with right wing organisations in Flanders. You can read her reply HERE. I want to also make it known that the  Belgian security council admitted later that they had made a mistake regarding their decision in not allowing Soetkin to take part in the Eurovision.

Having known and worked with some of the band’s musicians individually over the years I was first invited to do an opening act for the band in France with Marijke Peters from The Netherlands. It really was a super experience and a very proud moment for both of us.

Marijke and I opening for Urban Trad in France

Opening for Urban Trad in France

Soetkin, Marijke & Veronica

Soetkin, Marijke & Veronica

Mid July 2008 I got a phone call from the main guitarist Philip Masure asking me if I’d be interested in filling in with the band as their guitarist in Brittany for two shows later that summer. Jeroen Geerinck (who now plays with snaarmaarwaar) was their regular stand in guitarist and was not available as he was booked , believe it or not, at the same Dutch Festival as Philip himself was booked at with COMAS. Unreal I know.

I was flattered and I thought this was great until I met with Jeroen (as he was the one given the task of going over the show with me) and I saw the sheet music/guitar tablature. The nerves began directly and I began to think “What have I gotten myself into here?” I wasn’t going to have much time to learn this off by heart, though I rehearsed for many many days along to mp3s that Jeroen hade made up or me though I do like a challenge.

The weekend of the gigs arrived and as usual there was great fun on the road down as I got to know some of the members I hadn’t met before like Yves, Cedric and (Michel Morvan whom we tragically lost so suddenly in 2010, may he rest in peace) Usual drill…check into hotel and straight into afternoon soundcheck. Just to make things more interesting…Urban Trad was a SILENT STAGE SET UP…meaning no monitors on stage only in ear monitoring which (believe me) takes a lot of getting used to if you haven’t used them before….I was lucky I had. Although I was using Philips MIX which I hated (he knew the show already remember) so i was trying to figure out what mix I actually needed. Remember this sound check AND show was the first time EVER on stage with these guys who are, by the way all top top seasoned professional musicians. YIKES.

Now…… The band also worked with a rolling electronic drum machine pre programmed for each track (along with the live drummer) The button pressing was Cedric the bass players job, who incidentally was almost hurt that first day when some idiotic stage hand try to move a 20 foot lighting ladder all by himself. The ladder fell right on top of Cedric’s hand built 5 string bass which was on a stand luckily as Cederic was lying back on stage resting when it happened and the bass saved him) The bass was relatively unhurt also.

Yves and I

Yves and I

Dirk, Me. Yves & Sophie

Dirk, Me. Yves & Sophie

Once that button was engaged here was no turning back, you were on it or you were lost…The machine gave us all a count in French “Un, deux, trois, quatre”……which only the band could hear, then enter the drum machineThis had an amazing affect along side the brilliant live drumming of Michel Morvan who was always astounding to watch and hear.

I got HUGE sheets printed up which had the guitar tab in big letters gaff taped onto my drum riser…yes I was up on a drum riser at the back same height as the drummer (in case I wasn’t nervous enough) I remember keeping my right foot on the sheet at all times with my toe just under the track we were performing so that when I looked up to smile and pretend to be rocking out in sheer enjoyment I could look back down to where was foot was and try to find my spot 🙂 It was terrifying!!

A few thousand people attended both open air shows and although It was a very intense couple of days it was magical.

one of the crowd shots

All weekend the whole band were so kind and considerate to me as they knew I had an unenviable task but we all got through it and I’m very grateful to all involved and for the invitation to stand on stage with some of the most amazing musicians and singers in the world. Urban Trad

Urban Trad and Me

Urban Trad and Me


  • Yves Barbieux: flutes and Galician bagpipe
  • Veronica Codesal: vocals
  • Soetkin Collier: vocals
  • Sophie Cavez : diatonic accordion
  • Philip Masure: acoustic guitar
  • Michel Morvan: drums (died 3 July 2010)
  • Dirk Naessens: violin
  • Cedric Waterschoot: bass


Post script:

Last I heard, Urban Trad are going to reform but not with the same line up. I wish them all the very best but I’m not free for gigs 🙂


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According to Facebook if you have over 2000 friends you can be classed as popular. What a load of shite. I know people with No friends who are more popular than I’ll ever be.
“He’s on that damn facebook again posting crap about his gigs” 🙂 facebook pages (fan site and regular) , reverbnation, Ustream, myspace (my what?) web site, blog, the mobile app, twitter, you tube etc etc etc on and on.

when all that’s updated and your one good typing finger is aching how are you going to strum a guitar for a few hours to nail that new song you’ve been working on since your career began? I don’t know. Social networking is a necessary evil these days kids whether you like it or loath it. With the demise of record labels us independent artists are embracing the power of the internet like never before, some of us are even investing in things other than instruments or studio time like PC’s and macs.. 🙂

Apple mac

Bands and artists on every level in today’s industry are spending more and more time on the internet updating tour dates and trying to get their music out there and their fans interested that I have no idea how we ever find the time to write, rehearse, and find new gigs these days.

Did you know that 7 years worth of new video footage gets uploaded to you tube every day? 7 YEARS WORTH EVERY DAY!!  so if you or your band think you’re going to get discovered on you tube then think again. I DO recommend having a you tube or vimeo account though as people who want to book you want to see and hear what you do live and it’s a very useful tool. Stuff like mobile Apps seem to be becoming very popular also as more and more people use smart phones to access the net than ever before. I’m trying this one out which is free (to the user, not to me) and powered by reverbnation  http://www.reverbnation.com/daithirua (another handy tool to check out)

My free App

Finding ways to capture an audience even when you’re not on stage is also something I became fascinated with some years ago with the introduction of live streaming. Using something like Ustream http://www.ustream.tv/channel/daithi-tv really is an effective way to do that. It incorporates a live chat room where fans, friends and family can watch a performance from the comfort of their own home while you perform from the comfort of yours or indeed at a live event.

I like the fact that it takes place in real time but it also gets recorded if you wish for people to re play or share at a later time. Below is a really cool photo of some friends enjoying a live stream show the next day on their i pad during breakfast. 🙂 

As an independent artist of any kind. Social networking is the only way forward unless you happen to be financially backed by a major investor or record label. Even then I don’t believe that anyone big or small can do without the power of the internet for promotion in this cyber world we live in. I’m finished updating my blog now the status and tour dates are done. I’ve twittered enough for one day. Same time same place tomorrow? or is it today already?  Confused dot com.

live stream for breakfast.

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