Va Fan Fahre

Va Fan Fahre


A Balkan brass band goes Arab …The collaboration with Moroccan singer Aicha Haskal on the previous CD resulted in their third album, Al Wa’Debt, which turns out to be a surprisingly natural fusion of Balkan brass band and Arab music. Ranked 9th in WMCE - november 2010 and airplay on BBC.


A Balkan brass band goes Arab …

In November 2010, a third cd by Va Fan Fahre hit the shops. After the acclaimed previous CDs Romski Robbery and Zet je maar, the time seemed fit for a calculated risk. The collaboration with Moroccan singer Aicha Haskal on the previous CD, made the band decide to firmly root the new project into two radically different cultures at once. The result turns out to be a surprisingly natural fusion of Balkan brass band and Arab music.

Like the majority of the compositions, the title track is written by band leader Michael De Schryver. Other tracks are by Dieter Bossu (track 8: Edala3 We3mel Mabadalak) and Bertel Schollaert (tracks 5 & 6: Addis and Belomi Benna). Al Wa’ Debt also contains one cover: the luscious Ya Habibi Taala (My love is coming), as immortalized by the Egyptian singer Asmahan.

Aicha Haskal’s vocals on five of the thirteen tracks prove an obvious added value to the album. Her supple, warm voice effortlessly switches between the classic Arab inflections, parlando and even rap. The lyrics of three of the tracks on Al Wa’ Debt were written by the Brussels based Egyptian poet Abdelhamid Farag, who calls himself a ‘poète de l’ éloignement ’ (poet of the absence). His writings are permeated by deep melancholy and romanticism.

But the Arab and Ethiopian influence are not the only changes in the band’s repertoire. Michael De Schryver trades his accordion for rootsy organs and analogue synths. The percussion gets an extra spicy injection through the addition of the riqq (Arab tambourine) and carcabous (Moroccan castagnets). Another novelty with the rhythm section are the electric guitars of Eduardo Vega, which also yield some sparkling solo’s, inspired by the Egyptian guitarist and composer Omar Khorshid.

The link with the Arab world also shows in the graphics and sleeve photography. The pictures are works by travel photographer Wim Pi, from the photoreports 'Nergens heen' (Vers nulle part) and Anna and my passport, which he made throughout the Mediterranean and Minor Asia.

The final result is a fresh, modern, yet authentic and varied album. Al Wa’ Debt is a record that without a doubt will appeal to an audience broader than the average diehard world music fan. It is packed with catchy tunes and infectious rhythms, nestling into the ear, and inviting you to shake a leg...

History of the band

Va Fan Fahre was formed in March 2003. Initially, the repertoire consisted of klezmer and Romanian and Bulgarian brass band music. From 2004 onwards, the band started to write their own compositions, lacing Balkan Brass with influences from other world music genres.

In May 2005, Va Fan Fahre released Romski Robbery, a first CD with their own compositions. Radio 1 was wildy enthousiastic. On 19 November 2005, Va Fan Fahre featured as one of the acts at the Radio 1 happening (Big Bang) at Vooruit Ghent (B). Their single ‘Plakke Plakke’ reached no. 3 in Radio 1 ‘s Carte Blanche charts.

Va Fan Fahre also started gathering international attention. In the top 1000 of the World Music Charts Europe 2005, their first CD reached no. 127. This made them the highest ranking Belgian band. In November 2005, the band travelled to Milan, for a live show on Radio Popolare (, and played in front of a sold out Casa Loca. At the end of March 2006, they returned to Italy for further concerts.

A highlight in 2006 was the invitation of the Balkan Brass Festival in Prague on May 9th. In 2007, a.o. a concert at the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna-Austria) followed, and the band toured Italy for the 3rd time.

Va Fan Fahre released its 2nd CD in 2007, entitled Zet Je Maar. It was presented at Rivierenhof, Handelsbeurs and Ancienne Belgique (B). It featured Indian influences from Rajasthan and Ghent dialect, the gypsy fiddle of Tcha Limberger, the Arab vocals of Aicha Haskal and the Spanish-Colombian melancholy of Paola Marquez.

The CD received much international acclaim. Radio BBC 3 played the titeltrack Zet Je Maar many times. Some of the songs appeared on a number of compilation CDs: Balkan Beats ( – Berlin), ‘Gypsy Garden vol. 2’ ( –
Germany), De Komplete Kleinkunstkollektie (Universal), ...

In 2008-2009, Va Fan Fahre appeared at the Sfinks , Dranouter (B) and Musiques des Rues (Besançon, F) festivals.


2005 - Romski Robbery - full Cd
2007 - Zet je maar - full Cd
2010 - Al wa' debt - full Cd