traditional music from Flanders
The Jan Smed band - named after a Flemish folk dance - was formed in 1969 by five youngsters from Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe, a Brussels suburb. They were one of the very first groups in Belgium to revive the traditional music of their region.
Jan Smed mainly play dance music: country dances, waltzes, polkas, schottisches and other traditional dance tunes. A large part of this repertoire comes from their own province of Vlaams-Brabant and the adjoining province of Antwerp, where local dance traditions were best preserved. The tunes were found in old printed collections or country fiddlers' and brass players' tunebooks, or were collected by Wim Bosmans from old village musicians.
The line-up includes many of the instruments traditionally played by Flemish amateur and semiprofessional dance musicians. Among them are local versions of the bagpipe (doedelzak) and the plucked dulcimer (hommel). The band feel at home in all kinds of circumstances, but they especially like playing for club audiences and dancers. So far the band have made three LPs and two CDs, and have contributed to a dozen of other discs.
Since 1983 the line-up has remained unchanged, and has consisted of:
Wim Bosmans: flute, recorder, fife and tin whistle
Ivo Lemahieu: fiddle, phono fiddle and bagpipe
Ritteke Demeulenaere: hommel and percussion
Francis Marrant: melodeon and fiddle
Charly Vandenputte: double bass and side drum
Wim, Ritteke and Ivo have been long time fife, hommel and fiddle teachers. Wim works at the Brussels Musical Instruments Museum (www.mim.be), where he is the curator of the European folk instruments collection. He has extensively published scholarly and large public articles and books on musical traditions in the Low Countries, including monographs on the tabor pipe and the fife, both with substantial English summaries.