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Band World Folk


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"Folkwoods festival Eindhoven"

A special concert for me was Urban Trad - I knew their CD before, and liked it a lot, but I was not sure if they could do this on stage - but they could, it was a fantastic concert. They brought the audience to dance quite from the start of their concert. Urban Trad's mastermind is the multiinstrumentalist Belge Yves Barbieux. He started Urban Trad more as a project for an album - but then it went on so well, that he created a band. Urban Trad is the name and the programme of this - Yves wants to make music rooted in different traditons (like Irish, Galician, Belgian, etc.) which can be found in the metropoles, at this time mixed with more modern sound of the cities. His band is great, with good stage performance - a personal highlight was the appearence of one of the Galician singers of Ialma. Great stuff! - FolkWorld Live Review 12/01

"Traditional music on urban beats"

I don't know if people who like folk music also watch the Eurovision song contest, but this year's edition proved that the show is worth watching now and again. The Turkish winner Sertab is not the reason for my saying so, but the Belgian band that came second with only a few points less. The band is called Urban Trad and, according to their founder Yves Barbieux, the band mixes tradition with urban beats. The wonderful sales figures of their new post-song contest cd Sanomi show that they do so in a very successful way. After having interviewed Yves Barbieux twice, I will try to paint a portrait of this Belgian group in this article.

Urban Trad didn't start as an official group, but as a project for which Yves was asked by his manager Wilfried Brits. Wilfried wanted to do a project with music in the style of Hevia and he definitely wanted to do something with the song La belle gigue by Andre Bialek. Yves had had the idea of working with traditional music for some time and when he heard of Wilfred's plan he started to mix the Bialek song. In this way the foundation of Urban Trad was laid and Yves could begin creating other songs for their debut album One o four. Most songs that can be heard on this cd were not written especially for this album, but were songs that Yves himself already played in an acoustic setting. Yves chose the songs he wanted to record and then looked around for musicians he would like to play with. Luckily, most musicians liked the project and were very willing to play on the cd. Having good musicians was important, but Yves also claimed a big part for the sound engineer Nicolaas Vandooren who knew how to create the urban beats Yves had in mind. When One o four was released, it received quite a bit of attention. Although it all started out as a once-only cd project, Yves suddenly got requests for concerts. He brought together a group of musicians who liked touring and slowly the "project" band developed into a real band.

After One o four a lot of things changed. Yves really felt the urge to work with a steady group of musicians. Together with four musicians who were also on the debut cd and four new musicians he formed a new basis for the band. One day, Wilfried, the manager, started to tell Yves a long story about the Eurovision song contest; explaining how good it would be for promotional purposes. Wilfried had probably expected Yves to dislike the idea of taking part in such a contest, but Yves liked the idea right away and even thought it was quite an amusing plan. He knew that they did run a risk (suppose they would finish as number 20 or so), but somehow he felt it was worth giving it a try. So, very shortly afterwards they found themselves in Riga. For the band it was all a kind of game and they were quite relaxed ... until the moment the points were given. Suddenly they realised that they had a good chance of winning the contest. Before, they had hoped to finish with the first fifteen, but eventually they came second. When they returned to Belgium, they were welcomed as real heroes. Over 30.000 copies of the single were sold and the cd was gold in no time. According to Yves, the song contest has brought about good things only. The band is now known all over Europe, but they still perform at the sort of festivals and in the kind of concert halls they like. Very unexpectedly, the 2003 Eurovision song contest has turned out to be a very successful one for this Belgian band.
- Folkworld 27 02/2004

"Urban trad"

URBAN TRAD has managed to combine the spirit of european traditional music with modern grooves…



Spreading success of URBAN TRAD beyond boundaries is no surprise.Yves Barbieux not only knows how to make traditional music sound modern, but he manages to work with top notch musicians.
World class level, that should allow them to perform at the WERCHTER ROCK FESTIVAL… "
- NEWSPAPER « DE MORGEN » (01/05/2005).

"Aymon Folk Festival"

Top of the bill, Urban has carried away some 2000 people. (…) As much as during their concert in Paris for the « music’s day » (fêtes de la musique) and in Châlons-En-Champagne last week, the audience in Bogny-Sur-Meuse has given the very up-and-coming band a warm welcome - NEWSPAPER « L ‘ARDENNAIS »

"Urban Trad"

The concert is imposing, far better than I expected (…) Their manager asks me « Do you think they would make it in Ireland ? »Urban Trad would make it just anywhere ! … Sean Laffey, Irish Music Magazine editor, for Celtica ( 9/12/03 ) - Sean Laffey, for Celtica ( 9/12/03 )

"5 days in spa"

(...) we will emphasize the exemplary shows of (... among 10 others) Urban Trad. - Le soir / 23/07/07


One o Four (2001): Universal Music Belgium
Kerua (2003) : id.
Elem (2004): id
Erbalunga (2007): id.



As the name indicates, Urban Trad is a traditionally-inspired music band, deeply rooted in the 21st Century. The acoustic instruments (accordion, violin, flutes, etc.) and the singing are supported by a rhythmic section and modern stuff which endow the group with its unique color: a music which suits as well for a rock concert as for a cultural center. The vigor and the musical quality, which emanate from the songs, catch on to people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. In the beginning, it was meant to be just an album project, but the success encountered during the promotional concerts encouraged Yves in adding a public dimension to Urban Trad with other artists. It’s during the Eurosong festival in Latvia in May of 2003 that Urban Trad wins the hearts of the general public. « Sanomi », a song performed in an imaginary language (thus universal), received a surprising second place, just two points from the Turkish winner. Further to this superb performance, success became a habit: more than 30.000 copies of second album « Kerua » (and single « Sanomi ») were sold in Belgium; the CD was released in several European countries, and the concerts are increasing in Belgium and abroad (Louisiana, The Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Spain…) Spring 2004 was a turning point: while keeping the modern touch which has made the band’s success, the new repertory isn’t any longer exclusively Celtic-inspired. Yves has indeed drawn his inspiration from all over Europe (Scandinavia, France, Spain, Eastern countries, etc.). The third record whose production has been left in Simon Emmerson’s hands, from the English group « Afro Celts Sound System» will be released at the end of September 2004. Urban Trad played on the main stages of these festivalsFestival international de Louisiane (USA), Brussel''s Eurythmix (Belgium), Dranouter Festival (B), Francofolies de Spa (B), Colors of Ostrawa (Czech Republic), Llanes al Cubo (Sp), United Islands of Praha (Czech Republic), International Festival Tilburg and Leeuwaarden Celtic Nights (The Netherlands), Andar per Musica (Italy), Triskell Festival (It), Skagen Festival (Denmark), Aymon Folk (France), Tondela Festival (Portugal), BBC Live (UK), Santiago Festival (Sp)... Urban Trad have now released four CDs