CD LAUNCH: Folksongs from a Non-Existing Land
Roland Van Campenhout The Blues - Folk Magician!
Right from the very first note, ‘Folksongs from a Non-Existing Land’ draws you into the dark and magical world of its maker: Roland Van Campenhout. The Belgian master-guitarist and singer accompanies us through a mysterious, musical landscape. You can feel the affinity with Ry Cooder’s legendary soundtrack for ‘Paris, Texas’ (Wim Wenders), and also the daring of Captain Beefheart, the great singer-songwriter Tom Waits and the shaman Dr. John.
Now 74, deeply rooted in blues and folk, Roland is a master of every musical style, ranging from jazz to ethno to psychedelic. A living legend, an archetype of a dying race: the ‘Sound Magician’. He defines his most recent work as ‘Mantra Blues’.
This exceptional work was recorded in Ghent, Belgium, and then mixed in Tokyo by Australian Joe Talia, giving the album an eastern touch.
An endless source of inspiration was revealed to Roland at a young age, after reading Jack Kerouac’s beatnik classic ‘On the Road’ and the works of Allen Ginsberg & William S. Burroughs. This explosion of new ideas gave life to Roland’s first skifﬂe band. By the end of the ’60s, he went in search of his roots in the blues with people like Tim Hardin, Leo Kottke and, of course, his good friend Rory Gallagher. These experiences formed the foundation on which the bearded man started experimenting and that’s how he continued on to the turn of the century. Always with his legendary, recognizable sound.
As of the year 2000, the master worked with younger musicians like Helmut Lotti, Mauro and Sioen.
With the making of ‘Folksongs from a Non-Existing Land’, Roland returned to the primal landscape in himself. The trip through a non-existent wilderness, an imaginary world, gives a great deal of satisfaction, a shot of endless creativity.
'The title contains much humour', laughs Roland, 'on the other hand, it describes my musical evolution. Sounds from folk music, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie or Joni Mitchell. After decades of exploration, all over the world, it’s no surprise that my music continues to change. You get to know many people, friendships are formed and that can turn into a jam-session. If I’d held on to one sound for my entire life then that would have been such a creativity killer.'
About his father, who died when Roland was only 5-years-old, he says: 'My father has always had a great influence on me. Both my father and his father were jazz musicians. I am convinced that they have both had – and always will have - a great impact on my work.'
He classifies his oeuvre as ‘Ethno-Pop-Folk’, because 'that’s the definition I like.' he giggles cheerfully, 'the man who explores the world with eyes and ears wide open, immersed in the magic of this world. Later, I process my impressions by writing lyrics and making music. I have been on the road since forever; it has taken me to the most diverse countries and continents. It will never change, but anywhere I go there is music created. Music that exudes curiosity, transparency and restlessness.'