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About Robber Zany

I am the Robber of Zany because I like Robbers and I like Zany.

 

I like robbers because they are smart and because they have guts. They plan something and take action, generally in an inventive and creative way. Without mercy. They never doubt and are sure of what they are doing. Of course they sometimes fall flat on their face. The same, to me, music is thought-through, requires the necessary time and preparation and is then send out to conquer the world. And you hope you will win the hearts and minds of the audience.

 

I like zany because to me zany is the fuel of life. For optimists, it is easy to find. Life without zany is kind of difficult. Pleasant situations pop up every day. Generally you can grasp them easily but, when missing, you can invent them. Fantasy is the oil of life. So, check-up the fuel and oil level of your zany -engine every day and keep it running.

About the band

So,  uhm….   There is no band  (gotcha !)   There is just me, Robber Zany, supported  by  studio-musicians who did a great, great job. I explained what I wanted and they play it.

I was lucky to find the right people who could translate my music to their instruments.

For all numbers it was funny to hear them being played by a band. I was used to sing and play these songs on acoustic guitar and to record them on a small multi-tracker but I was not able to fit all arrangements on it.

Most of the arrangements were in my head and some on paper. There were no rehearsals for these songs and it was only in the studio that I for the first time played these songs together with a band.

I used almost every room in the Galaxy Studios so that we could all play together to give it a live feeling. That was real fun!

So, talking only about me, Robber Zany, would not be fair. It’s the great merit of all musicians who participated and therefore I use the name The Robber Zany Band.

I hope that once, if the time is right, there will be a live band (I write this in summer’07)


If there is news about this, I’ll let you know on our weblog.

 

Read about The Musicians

 

The musicians on the album are:

Francis Luyten : acoustic, electric, fretless bass

Yvo Heylen : Lead vocal, harmonica, backing vocal

Steven Scheelen : saxophone

Nico Schepers : trumpet

Carlo Mertens : trombone

Philip Kerckhofs : drums, percussion

Frank Michiels : percussion

Patrick Steenaerts : lead and rhythm guitar

Jef Neve : piano, Hammond organ (Jef Neve appears by courtesy of Universal Music Belgium)

Hildegarde Vandenhove : backing vocal, radio voice, Spanish voice

Wanda Pauwels : backing vocal, lead vocal

Els Brouwers : backing vocal

Marc Janssen : accordion

Frans Willems (Robber Zany): rhythm guitar, organ, backing vocal

and

Romme Vosselman :  sound recording  “ A windy Summer “
Andra Mc Cartney :  sound walk recording  “ In the Park “
Lodewijk Leenaerts :  sound recording shopping Ladies  “King of Swank “

Shopping Ladies : Marianne Johnston & Wendy Richardson

Website  by Tom Steenhuysen - www.betawave.us
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Filip Heurckmans at Galaxy Studios Mol, Belgium.

About the music

Let’s call it BLEND-music, a mixture of music styles and atmospheres.
Sounds have a feel of rock, pop, jazz, reggae, blues, latin. The music is bright, pleasant to the ear, sensitive, frangible. The lyrics are positive, funny, not provocative. The album is eclectic, cocky but accessible.

 

The mean thing was to fit all songs collected during the last 15 years on one album. Because all songs have different styles it was not easy to find one sound that could cover all the styles and which could be played by one and the same band.

The solution was using basic instruments like drums, piano, organ, guitar, bass… and to go for a very natural basic sound. We chose to leave out synthesizers, samples, e-stuff, drum- computer etc. which was not always easy.


There is no precise reason for the variety of styles on this album. Driven by the chords and the lyrics, the songs got the style they deserved: “Sexy Nails” is a kind of  reggae, ”In the Park” a sort of blues, ”Chop Choy” alludes  to jazz, “Ordinary Husband” is a variation on swing, “Today” rather sounds like pop music. There was one condition: they should be accessible.  Having several styles on one CD makes listening to it as listening to a radio station.    Read more...

 

Half of the numbers are instrumental. The lyrics of the songs are mostly positive. At the origin of the lyrics are small visual fragments of every-day life, with a touch of fantasy. They are a blend of non-fiction and fiction. There is no red thread linking the songs. They talk about people and things. They are generally cheerful or it is attempted to make them sound cheerful. Songs were allowed the length they deserved: song length was not restricted by radio format.

 

Mixing, mastering and final sound of the album is created by engineer Filip Heurckmans.  He suggested to mix all tracks by ourselves, without a producer, which was a very good idea. This way, we were able to make “our” music with minimal influences of other opinions. From the first moment on I liked his style of working. Thanks man!!
The most ear-catching thing after recording the songs is the clarity of the numbers. Every single track is identifiable and can be tasted, owing to the quality and the sensitivity of the recording.

 

[please note: MP3 downloads never have the same digitally perfect quality as the originally mastered CD]

 

About Funny Face

Click on the song titles on the right to find out how it came about or how I feel about it...

 

Buy the CD "Funny Face"

MURZIK (2.38 min)

An article in the newspaper on Anna Kournikova, a famous Russian tennis player, was at the origin of the opening song of this CD. Only her best friends were allowed to call her Murzik. Without knowing what Murzik stood for, the word kept resonating in my head, until the day my guitar produced some chords and I felt Murzik was born. Only later, when I got to know that Murzik is Russian for darling and that you can use it as pet name the song started to take its light, playful and frolic atmosphere, of young girls giggling.

IN THE PARK (3.13 min)

An old man is sitting in the park, singing and playing his old blues guitar. He enjoys to sit there. His eyes are laughing and he looks happy. He sings and plays and makes the passers-by smile. He relates about the good things of life. He certainly has felt life’s sharp edges but he is at the age you know they are part of life and he is smilingly silent about them.

KING OF SWANK (3.46 min)

All of a sudden I saw him standing there 'The King of Swank'. What an appearance! Full of pretension! The instant I had enough material to make a song. In a fortnigh everything was written down. Back in the studio, the song rolled out as if it was played before. Funny and catchy.

TODAY (3.24 min)

Today tells the story of a boy who watches passing by a girl on her bike. The girl is blond, beautiful and he starts daydreaming. " Maybe she is from Russia? Would she be in need of help? Could he offer her something?"  Hidden behind a screen, he would love to direct her like a puppet or a cybernated girl. He would make her pass by over and over again. Make her come so close that he could admire her face.   His virtual thoughts become disturbed when he realises he has fallen in love with her from the moment he saw her. He is too shy to talk about it. In fact, ” Today ” is the day he steps out of his virtual world, gets rid of his shame and bluntly tells her: I love you.

ORDINARY HUSBAND (3.54 min)

Though I'm father now of two children, this song was not written right for me. Years ago, when having children was the last thing in my mind, I could not know I would be one day in a comparable situation. But it is funny for sure. This song is about fighting against the drag of daily life. My “Ordinary husband” tries to make best use of the limited free time he has as a parent and to stay an optimist, which can do wonders.  Remain creative, get the best out of it and life will swing.

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (2.55 min)

Returning home from work in the early morning or late at night and though being too tired to do anything, I would take my guitar and play just a few easy tunes.

Now and then a chord stayed humming in my head. After 2 years I had the accompaniment of a song I could not grasp. There did not seem to be a matching melody. The number is called ‘From Dusk till Dawn’ referring to the moment of the day it was written. It remained on the shelf till I decided to give it another try just 14 days before the studio recordings. In just a few days a piano melody swayed over the chords. Something that seemed so difficult in the past was now just a piece of cake. Maybe it just needed time to mature as a good bottle of wine.

EVENING HYMN (2.35 min)

Initially ‘From Dusk till Dawn’ was planned to fade out in soft piano tunes. A kind of quiet after a storm. Yet the song started to live its own life and drifted away from the original song. On the album they are together as the day fades into the night.  The song deserves a special place on the album. My wife ♥  gave the number its beautiful title.

SPREAD YOUR WINGS part ½ (5.37 min)

This song is about coming out of one’s shell. Do something, try out something, no matter what. The song starts with the guitars giving their best. They start around a theme but then open out, they try, freak, dare, explore … until a voice wants to have her say. Though words should be carefully weighed, she thinks words are a better way to express oneself. But you need guts to express yourself verbally. “So everybody, don’t be shy”, say it, sing it and try to be free. “Don’t wait take your chance” is for the instruments the signal to mix in again. They lure the voice into a rhythmic whirlpool that seems never-ending. They venture, they play a devilish beat, and together they feel free. They are who they are and this “can do no wrong”.

CHOP CHOY (2.39 min)

Steely Dan is one of my favorite bands and I often listened to their music. I bought some song books and started to understand how they arrange their songs. The chords and the melody of Chop-Choy came to life when analysing their music. I don’t know if Chop-Choy has anything of a Steely Dan song, but the idea that I was inspired by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen pleases me.

SEXY NAILS (6.48 min)

Puerto Rico is a place to be. This island is like a pearl in the sun.  Special about Puerto Rico are the “Sexy Nails” shops. Women enter and return with works of art on every nail. Back home I started writing a song about a man who is attracted by those sexy nails. He gets himself into a story. Dazzled by the sun, completely stunned, he awakens and sees the woman behind the nails.

A WINDY SUMMER (4.01 min)

In a cozy corner of my living room stood my guitar and stereo rack. All windows of the house were open and allowed a gentle breeze to come in. Just the perfect weather to enjoy a favorite book and a drink in a lazy chair. That’s the atmosphere in which I started “A windy summer”. Chords and melody came whispering in on the wind. The sound was so transparent that it could vanish as it arrived.

ITALIAN GANGSTERS (2.46 min)

These gangsters are dangerous. They are oh so hungry but entered the wrong restaurant. At almost every street corner in Belgium you can find a ” frituur “, a low-budget eating place with French fries and junk-meat. You can pass by almost every moment of the day and enjoy a quick bite. Real Italian gangsters do not eat junk food. They want pasta.

NAKED TREE (5.09 min)

A boy returns home after a rehab. He tries to connect again with his mum, dad, friends. The gap is big, he wants to succeed and he does not want to make false promises. He feels the warmth of friends and family but he knows that he’ll have to realise it by himself. He is like a naked tree. To express that feeling in this song, there is just a lead vocal, without dubs or back-up vocals, who tells his story. At the end, the horns express his loneliness, the tumult of the sounds his turmoil.

Songs & Lyrics

All words and music by FRANS WILLEMS

Order the CD directly from Robber Zany!

 

MURZIK

IN THE PARK

KING OF SWANK

TODAY

ORDINARY HUSBAND

FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

EVENING HYMN

SPREAD YOUR WINGS part 1/2

CHOP CHOY

SEXY NAILS

NAKED TREE

A WINDY SUMMER

ITALIAN GANGSTERS

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The Robber Zany Band
About the Music
About Robber Zany
News
News
News
About the Band
Songs and Lyrics

IN THE PARK    words and music by FRANS WILLEMS

The old man is sitting in the park
Playing his old blues guitar
Well, sitting in the park, well, well, well
Playing his guitar
Well, he’s sitting in the park
Playing his blues guitar

The old man is lying in the sun
Thinking ‘bout the day he had some fun
Well, he’s lying in the sun
Thinking ‘bout fun
Well, he’s lying in the sun with his blues guitar and
Rip tip tap sitting in the park

And lay, lay, lay, tiptiptie



The old man is sitting in the park
Playing his old blues guitar
Well, sitting in the park, well, well, well
Playing his guitar
Well, he’s sitting in the park
Playing his blues guitar

The old man is dreaming he doesn’t wanna die
’cause all good memories are passing by
Well, he doesn’t wanna die
Memories passing by
Well, he’s mute ‘bout this part, keeping things dark
You can be sure he’s sitting in the park

And lay, lay, lay, tiptiptie

lead vocal / harmonica  – Yvo Heylen
acoustic guitar – Frans Willems
acoustic bass – Francis Luyten


ITALIAN GANGSTERS words and music by Willems Frans

We- we are Italian gangsters
In a good- good- goody mood
To- today we will not kill you
Only- only lookin’ for good- goody food

What is this here on the table
You call it a meat-a-ball
But it smells like my stepmother
Do you think it’s eatable

What is this here on the table
You call it a play-e-boy
But it looks like my strong willy
Don’t you think it is a toy

What is this here on the table
You call it a bitt-er-ball
But I think it is a bullet
Do you see that brick-e-wall
I’ll try to put him in my Uzi
And I will make a big-e-gap
Then we will escape from here
Hey you stupid

Call a cab 

Because, we don’t like to eat potatoes
Or, we have to make a deal
Can you serve Italian pasta ????
So we have good- goody meal

Good- goody meal   

We- we are Italian gangsters
In a good- good- goody mood
To- today we will not kill you
Only- only lookin’ for good- goody food   

Good- goody meal  

We- we are Italian gangsters
In a good- good- goody mood
To- today we will not kill you

lead vocal  – Yvo Heylen
acoustic guitar – Frans Willems
electric bass – Francis Luyten
saxophone – Steven Scheelen
trumpet – Nico Schepers
trombone – Carlo Mertens
electric / nylon guitar – Patrick Steenaerts
drums / percussion – Philip Kerckhofs
accordion – Marc Janssen


NAKED TREE words and music by Willems Frans

I’m leaving this park, I’m on my way
I’ve seen all trees, I don’t wanna’ stay
Crying fence but an open gate
Hope it’s not too late

Oh, I know there’s more than this
Grass is grey and the wind won’t whiz
It’s all so quiet, it’s all so sad
Once I will be glad

Is it to the left or is it to the right
Oh yes I know this road by sight
It’s straight ahead, don’t look back
I’m on the beaten track

Here I come, here I am
Yes it’s me, I will not lam
I’m trying to breathe, yes my friend
I’m lucky if I find a vent

Oh, oh, mama please understand
No it ain’t the way I planned
Things went wrong, temptation strong
Weak, take me along

Oh, oh, papa please take my hand
And lead me to reality land
Try to find a job, become a man
You will see I can

Oh, oh, brothers, sisters and the band
Take me along to friendly land
It’s strange to say, but you have my word
I’m back on planet earth

lead vocal – Yvo Heylen
acoustic guitar – Frans Willems
electric bass – Francis Luyten
piano – Jef Neve
trumpet – Nico Schepers
trombone – Carlo Mertens
electric guitar – Patrick Steenaerts
drums – Philip Kerckhofs

 

KING OF SWANK words and music by Frans Willems

If you see me walking on the street
You will say Oh-Whee
Clean and sweet
If you see me dancing on this beat
You will say Oh-Whee
Shaking meat
    But I have to admit I’m not bright or smart
    Do you know there’s a difference between a mile and a yard
But if you look attentive to my van
You will say Oh-Whee
I’m your man
If you see my property and my house
You will see Oh-Whee
Makes me rouse
    But I have to admit I’m rather poor than rich
    Do you know my girlfriend will be … a queen not a bitch
So that’s why I asking you to dance
You will say Oh-Whee
Is this romance
I whisper in your ear what to do
You will say Oh-Whee
Beautiful you
    Beautiful me, beautiful you

But if you see my muscles and my scar
You will say Oh-Whee
Let’s go far
If you see my new tie and my suit
You will say Oh-Whee
You’re so cute
    But I have to admit I’m a bighead and a crank
    Do you know my friends call me King of Swank

    Beautiful me, beautiful you

lead vocal – Yvo Heylen
backup vocals – Wanda Pauwels, Els Brouwers
acoustic guitar – Frans Willems
electric bass – Francis Luyten
saxophone – Steven Scheelen
hammond – Jef Neve
drums / percussion – Philip Kerckhofs

 

SEXY NAILS words and music by Willems Frans

There’s a pearl in the sun
     Bienvenido señor
I hear Caribbean sound
     Le gusta la música puertorriqueña
This is real fun
     Yo conozco un lugar fabuloso
I have to touch the ground
     Pues! Vamos juntos?

What, what‘ya tellin’ me boy? What, say what’ya tellin’ me now?

There’s a man and a cab
     Es poco lejos, tomamos un taxi
A Puerto Rican smile
     A este lugar con chicas lindas
This is real fab
     Nosotros vamos a disfrutarnos
I’d like to stay for a while
     Quédate aquí, guapito !

What, what‘ya tellin’ me boy? What, say what’ya tellin’ me now?

And then she said
Good good lookin’ mister
A place full of girls
I bring you to my sisters
Like beautiful pearls

It was a big surprise
Something tickled my back
When I opened my eyes
No colours, just black …
Before I realised
Something tickled my back
Couldn’t believe my eyes
Only colours, no black…

I saw sexy nails Oh yeah, but what about, what about her body and face
I saw sexy nails Oh yeah, but what about, what about no body no face

What ??? No body no face???
Are you right??? We think maybe you were in space???

We can’t imagine what you’re saying is real
So at this point we have to make a deal
You tell the story and we’re all ears
Try to trust us and have no fear

I ran away, sink holes and trails
I lost my way, thinking of the nails
Dizzy of the sun, I fell on the ground
Completely stunned, dreaming homeward bound

What, what‘ya tellin’ me boy? What, say what’ya tellin’ me now?

There was a funny noise
     Sonido,sonido gracioso
The sand was warm
     Arena, arena caliente
It was a female voice
     Voz, voz de mujer
She moved with charm, she said
     Ninfa en calor sofocante

Hey you, beautiful stranger, listen to me you are in danger
I will bring you to my place, and I will give you a brace
Try to concentrate, it’s not too late
Open your eyes and be carefree, tell me slowly what you see

I saw sexy nails, oh yeah, what about, what about her body and face
I saw sexy nails, oh yeah, what about, what about her body and face
Sexy nails. Oh yeah, a perfect body, funny funny face
Sexy nails. Oh yeah, a velvet body, fascinating face
Sexy nails. Oh yeah, it was no dream ‘cause it was all true
Sexy nails. Oh yeah, it was no dream ‘cause this girl wants you!

lead vocal – Yvo Heylen
backup vocals – Wanda Pauwels, Els Brouwers, Hildegarde Vandenhove
radio / Spanish voice – Hildegarde Vandenhove
acoustic / electric guitar/ organ – Frans Willems
electric / fretless bass – Francis Luyten
saxophone – Steven Scheelen
trumpet – Nico Schepers
trombone – Carlo Mertens
drums – Philip Kerckhofs
percussion – Frank Michiels

 

ORDINARY HUSBAND words and music by Willems Frans

I’m driving my car
The children in the boot
They’re quiet now, they’re sleeping
But I’m not in the mood
This whole week was a mess
Family, nothing less
    But it’s worth it to carry on
    Because dreams are never gone

My wife starts to chuckle
She’s always reading books
She seems to be happy
That’s the way it looks
She’s never in a hurry
She never seems to worry
    But it’s worth it to carry on
    Because dreams are never gone

The neighbours are so cute
They live in a cocoon
When I catch a glimpse
They’re still on honeymoon
Surrender in the sphere
One day they disappear
    But it’s worth it to carry on
    Because dreams are never gone
    But it’s worth it to carry on
    Because dreams are never gone

I am a man of many many wishes
I am a man so strong and ambitious
I want to be an actor
I want to be a star
Not an ordinary husband
With two kids and a car
    An ordinary husband
    An ordinary man
    An ordinary husband
    He does all that he can
    He wanna to be an actor
    He wanna to be a star
    Not an ordinary husband
    With two kids and a car

lead vocal/ harmonica – Yvo Heylen
backup vocals – Wanda Pauwels, Els Brouwers, Hildegarde Vandenhove
acoustic guitar – Frans Willems
electric bass – Francis Luyten
saxophone – Steven Scheelen
trumpet – Nico Schepers
trombone – Carlo Mertens
electric guitar – Patrick Steenaerts
drums – Philip Kerckhofs

 

SPREAD YOUR WINGS  (2)  Words and music by Willems Frans

All you guitar players make much noise
You better try using your voice
I can yell and I can shout
I can scream it out loud
    And I can free my mind in this song
    But words are weapons, don’t get me wrong
I can change measures I can change a beat
Change a title and words I don’t need
And it won’t take much tension
To give it a whole new dimension
    And I will send a message in this song
    But words are weapons, don’t get me wrong
So everybody don’t be shy
You can do it, there’s no reason why
Try to sing and try to dance
Don’t wait, take your chance
    And free your mind in a song
    Express yourself, can do no wrong

So together with those strings
I wanna’ spread my wings
If you think I’m gonna’ fly
You're wrong, do you know why?
I will stand here on my feet
Touch the ground and feel the heat
Of the music in the air
Much much more than I can bear
I hear the melody in my head
Major, minor, seven, flat
The band is playing loud and clear
Too fast, too fast, in top gear
With violins, bass, bassoon
I know I cry for the moon
It’s the artist in my brain
I know it sounds insane
But sometimes I know it’s there
And sometimes I don’t know where
I think it’s never far away
So I’m glad that I can say
    I don’t need an amplifier
    I don’t need electricity
    I wanna be wireless
    I wanna be free    

So let this be the message of this song
Be yourself, can do no wrong
on part 1


lead guitar – Patrick Steenaerts
electric bass – Francis Luyten
acoustic guitar – Frans Willems
drums – Philip Kerckhofs
percussion – Frank Michiels

on part 2:
lead vocal – Wanda Pauwels
backup vocals – Els Brouwers, Hildegarde Vandenhove
electric guitar – Frans Willems
electric bass – Francis Luyten
wah-wah guitar – Patrick Steenaerts
piano – Jef Neve
drums – Philip Kerckhofs

 

TODAY words and music by Willems Frans

Lonely girl on an empty street
Why can’t we meet
Quiet girl on silence street
Hear your heartbeat

Yo’ no cyber
Yo’ Rossija     
Miles away               

Yo’ no fay                        
Yo’ so real                            
Why don’t you stay                        
And all I ask you                  
Take the love                       
We try to give you                      
Right today                               

They talk about it
They ask about it
But they don’t care
They see it all
They feel it all
But no no one is there

Please take some time
And look around
I will be there
Show me your face
Let me hear your voice
And I will care


lead vocal – Yvo Heylen
backup vocals – Wanda Pauwels, Els Brouwers
acoustic guitar – Frans Willems
electric bass – Francis Luyten
saxophone – Steven Scheelen
hammond – Jef Neve
drums / percussion – Philip Kerckhofs


 

Frans Willems (’59) was born in the northern part of Belgium, in a place called  Balen, where he still lives.
He became interested in music in the ’70. At that time there were a lot of bands who impressed him. Some of these bands ( Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers,… ) played Southern rock, a great mixture of jazz, country and folk, which influenced the music he plays. He was inspired by the harmonious sound of the Eagles and the Dooby Brothers. But he is also a big fan of Steely Dan, Van Morrison and Sting and this you may hear in his music too.

At the age of 14 he started to play guitar. Being an autodidact, a few good books were the basis of his knowledge on music and the art to play guitar. He was searching a long time how to play left-handed on a right-handed guitar. Picking and rhythm guitar is his preferred style. Over the years he played in several local bands.

About 15 years ago he wrote his first lyrics and music to the song “In the Park”.
Becoming more and more familiar with the world of melody and harmony, he learned how to arrange a song for a whole band. All songs of this album were written in the ’90s. It took so long to record them because music for him is just a hobby and not a full time occupation.

In the summer of 2005 “ In the Park” was the first song he recorded in Galaxy studios (www.galaxy.be), his backyard, and a start was given to the recording of his debut-album named “FUNNY FACE”

 

12-08-1969. Neerpelt, Belgium. Philip Kerckhofs was born and destined to get infected by the music microbe with two elder brothers playing music: one guitar, the other keyboard. At very young age he built his own drum set from wash powder boxes (brand ‘Dash’). He got his first real drum set at the age of 7 and was his own teacher. When he wanted to get enrolled in the music grammar school of Hasselt – he was 14 then – he had to sit for an entrance exam … but not being able to read sheet music he asked the teacher to play something that he would repeat. It all went perfectly well and he was allowed to start. After the music grammar school he continued at the conservatory in Antwerp, followed by 2 years in the Jazz Studio, Antwerp. He drummed in the Dirk Schreurs Band, the Michel Bisceglia trio, Time design and was/is asked several times as studio musician. Actually he plays with Coco-spirit a coverband with a bunch of artists (www.cocospirit.be) and with Mo’Jones bringing own work (www.mojones.nl). He often listens to Aerosmith, Muse, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Cold Play but also to Weather Report, Joni Michel, Elvis Costello, Miles Davis, Mind Condition,…

 

Wanda Pauwels, 33, started singing about 5 years ago, quiet a late discovery. She followed one year singing at the Jazzstudio/Antwerp and two years at the Oldskool/Brussels. Now she works as a vocal coach in the Oldskool and Vrije Ateliers/St-Niklaas. She is leadsinger in 2 bands : 'Wanda's Waggon' and 'Maximum Basie' www.maximumbasie.be. Wanda’s biggest examples are Janis Joplin en Tina Turner.

 

Yvo Heylen was born with two passions : football and singing. As a child he daydreamed becoming a football star or a pop star. He was encouraged by his father to play football and he scored high. Music was limited to passive enjoying (Bob Dylan and Cockney Rebel were amongst his first favorites) and some jamming in a local band. When his football career was brusquely halted by an injury, music brought consolation. The rough root sound of Burning Spear introduced him to the world of dub and reggae. Years passed and only when already in his forties he decided to more profoundly discover the world of music. He wanted to sing on stage. In Ruben Vervecken, he found his perfect companion and “Roots Addicts” was born. Acoustic  blues of Robert Jonshon and others. Singing in small cafés was good experience. For a while he sang with and The Robin V band (blues) and is now still the lead vocal of The Misfortunes. He was asked by Frans Willems to join The Booze Brothers and his project The Robber Zany Band. Music genres that were of most influence were dub, reggae, soul, funk, gospel, jazz, trip hop, lounge and dance. Little Axe, Horace Andy and Massive Attack are his examples.

 

 

We are 1977. Stimulated by his father, Francis, then 7, joins a local brass band and learns to play the trumpet. His capricious nature already shows: he changes instruments every other minute - trumpet, bugle, baritone, tuba,- with the only constant factor that it always brings him closer to the basses. When he is 14, he is overwhelmingly impressed when listening to a recording of Jaco Pastorius, a legendary bassist. He constructs his first ‘bass-sound-producing’ instrument from a discharge pipe and a rubber band and starts experimenting. He buys his first real bass and plays in several, generally rough, local bands. He discovers the contrabass and takes courses at the local school of music. He joins several amateur symphonic orchestras. He follows contrabass with Rinus Raaijmakers (jazz). He is a musical gourmand. In the former Robber Zany and C° project, The Booze Brothers, he is occasionally bassist. He joins the Funny Face project and sells all his electric stuff after the recording (he is capricious, we already said!) and solely concentrates on playing contrabass (read quickly because tomorrow this may not be true anymore).

 

 

Fate and destiny can be surprising, unexpected, strong. Though I’ve been singing almost every day of my 42 years – lots of it was bathroom singing –, with a classical vocal education I had to be married to the Robber of Zany to be part of this “band”. The last few years, I dedicate every (spare) free moment to get away with jazz and pop. I enjoy every kind of music, any singer, that thrills the senses.

 

 

Els Brouwers (Hasselt, Belgium, 1972) followed a classical music education at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven. She followed jazz and singing at the Jazz Studio in Antwerp and at the Oldskool in Brussels she took courses in singing from former Blue Blot-singer Laurence Putman.

 

 

 

someday,
the past is what once was, now is the moment,
I'm a musician on the road,
trying to touch the sky and sometimes
using instruments to do so,
I'm proud to cooperate with this project of Frans
Willems whom I admire for living his dream