Last June when we played in Belsele at ‘t Ey (Belgium), Dirk from the very nice team hosting us that night played this Flemish song that we then heard for the first time,on the piano… the moment was magical! And we both thought once we’d have some time we would try to work on a version of ours. Moreover the song from Wannes Van de Velde is about Pieter Brughel (the XVI° painter, that painted The Tower of Babel) and his dilemma and understanding of how due to political changes, from Spanish language people in Flanders had switched to French when his own language was Flemish.
This is the original version we worked from – pronunciation is so clear and detached despite of the speed space! It has been a challenging exercise to find the balance between some Flemish-Antwerp sounds and the way I normally would pronounce it in Dutch – that is: with an obvious French flavour!
The Tower of Babel, the famous painting from Pieter Breughel relates to the biblical story about misunderstanding between humans caused by different languages. For us it relates to the awesome richness of humanity, and more than other things reminds us of our stay in South-East of Turkey, in the areas of Mardin and Diyarbakir and to a certain extend in Lebanon. What we most loved was the blurred border between human groups. You can’t easily tell who belongs to which group, based on what? religion? language? accent? race??? Surprisingly and in its own way, Diyarbakir was much more cosmopolitan than Istanbul. Our plan for after the album’s release was actually to go back and cross the border to Northern Iraq, which sadly is at the moment totally impossible. Sadly also we see how this rich mixture of cultures is dying in one of the most important areas for our cultures.
For those who wonder, we both speak some reasonable Dutch since we lived in The Netherlands for a while but…. a loooooong time ago!
We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as La Jotinette! 😉