July 22, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Willem Vermander (84) has stopped performing: all planned concerts have been cancelled

Willem Vermander (84) has stopped performing: all planned concerts have been cancelled

Vermander can look back on a rich career on stage. In 1968, after going to a monastery for a few years and working as a teacher, he released his first album: Songs of the Westhoek. This was the heyday of cabaret and popular music.

He traveled through Flanders and the Netherlands with a group of musicians, his “friends”, who had not changed much over the years: Freddy Desmedt (clarinet, saxophone and harmonica), Paul Depoort (guitar and mandolin) and Bart Caron (double bass). Together they gave typical concerts with songs and “novels”, stories that Vermander dug up between them.

Vermandere’s lyrics revolve around Westhoek, war and everyday life, but also about solidarity and diversity. Sometimes Vermandere also performed instrumental music, for example with the bass clarinet. When he sang, he almost always did so in his native language: West Flemish. In total, Vermandere released more than 30 albums.

“His timbre is very unique,” ​​says Bart Caron of Vermander’s music. “He didn’t care about fashions and developments in the music world, yet his songs remain relevant. They have an eternal value. When he sings “A Thousand Soldiers” today, it’s not just about the war in Westhoek, but also about Gaza and Ukraine.”

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