Laïs picks up thread of anthem ‘t Smidje’ again with first album since 2009

Three years after the anniversary compilation 25 years of Lais and tours with covers and church concerts, Laïs reconnects with his own past. The longest night is the first album of new work in over a decade. Most notable change: Nathalie Delcroix (46) and Jorunn Bauweraerts (43) will now manage without Annelies Brosens, who left the group in 2020.

“She no longer wanted it on the road-Live life as a singer. We can now put that right. Being on the podium with two at the front doesn’t feel all that different. It makes Laïs a little less girl-group-ish, which isn’t bad either. There was a moment of panic. When Annelies stopped and corona came on, all our certainties suddenly fell away. In the end, that gave us the strength to continue,” the duo outlines.

© Sebastian Steveniers

Jorunn and Nathalie jokingly call this Laïs 2.0 “the ABBA of the Low Countries”, since they allow themselves to be flanked by a group including their partners Bjorn Eriksson and Tomas de Smet, centipedes with pasts in groups such as Zita Swoon, Think Of One and The Broken Circle Breakdown Bluegrass Band. “They know us and our tastes. It came about very spontaneously and organically that we would work together.”

on The longest night sings Laïs again in Dutch, with lyrics based on Jorunn’s collection of old songbooks. With this approach, Laïs nods to the self-titled debut album from 1998, still the country’s most successful folk record ever. Musically, the group is fanning out in more exotic directions in 2022. “In addition to our personal taste, which ranges from Greek music to Turkish seventies psychedelics, the influence of our partners certainly also plays a role. We like to believe that the combination of the ethnic rhythms that Tomas contributes and the cinematic synths that Bjorn adds makes Laïs innovative.”

© Sanne Delcroix

TV show in Poland

Meanwhile delivers ‘t Smidje, the group’s 34-year-old classic, Laïs continues to experience unexpected adventures. For example, the group was recently allowed to go to Poland to perform ‘Belgian dance’ at a festival and in a TV show. “the blacksmith dancing has been going on in village squares for years. Everyone in Poland knows the song, apparently since an exchange of youth movements, but no one could put a face to us. So until now.”

“We hear ourselves the blacksmith also still in the strangest places, from the supermarket to the playground of schools. We are very fortunate that Laïs is a fixed value in Flanders. We notice that our youngest single Orion played on the radio and was well received. We don’t expect more. And if it really doesn’t work here anymore, we’ll just go back to Poland.”

‘The Longest Night’, Lais, now available to listen to. Concerts 25/11 Tienen (CC De Kruisboog), 16/12 Lommel (CC De Adelberg). www.lais.be

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