Hilke grew up in a musical family and was smitten with folk music from an early age. It was inevitable that her roots would lead her to begin practicing music herself. She started on the piano and recorder at the Schilde Academy, which later on was exchanged for the Academy of Arts in Turnhout. She obtained a master’s degree in “music therapy” at the LUCA (campus Lemmens Leuven). Although she has practiced numerous instruments since childhood, it was the diatonic accordion that eventually won her heart. At the age of 16 she devoted herself to this great love as an autodidact. To open up the potential of her playing style and let in a fresh breeze of inspiration, she followed internships under Didier Laloy, Anne Niepold, Martin Coudroy, Simone Bottasso, Stephane Milleret, Aurélien Claranbaux en Emile Verstraeten. Hilke appeared on several stages with her first folk group ‘Sakura’, with whom she won the competition at the Lindeboom festival in northern France and released a CD in 2011: “The Bea(s)t Inside”. Being a creative and composing musician, she doesn’t shy away from giving it her all to make sure that the music gets the energy it requires. She is urrently an active member in Hidrae, Duo Bauweraerts Van Hees (CD 2017: “Fly In”) and Duo Brabants Bauweraerts. Hilke also teaches at the academy in Herentals, Sint-Niklaas and the Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege in Malle. She creates / gives many workshops for the KID concerts of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and she also taught at the folk stage of Kalmthout & Gooik. Hilke plays an instrument by the French builder Bertrand Gaillard.
Marieke Van Ransbeeck
Marieke Van Ransbeeck (°94 – Aalst) has roots in the Belgian folk music scene as a musician, music pedagogue and organiser. She began playing the bagpipe at the age of eight in Gooik, Flanders, with her teacher Jean-Pierre Van Hees. Passing through Ethno Flanders as a teenager she understood for certain her calling as a musician. Like Hans Christian Andersen puts it: “Where words fail, music speaks”. From that moment on, it was clear that she wanted to become a musician, share her music with the world, and emotionally carry an audience. In 2013, Van Ransbeeck got the opportunity to study a master in Flemish bagpipes and baroque musette at the early music departement of LUCA School of Arts in Leuven.
After Marieke graduated in 2017, she wanted to deepen herself more into folk music. That is why she continued her studies with the “Nordic Master in Folk Music”. This study took her around the Nordic countries for two years, where she studied at the folk departments of the Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm, the Syddansk Musikkonservatorium in Esbjerg, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and the Ole Bull Akademiet in Voss. Currently Marieke is working as a freelance musician in several folk and baroque projects like Hidrae, the international band Farandi and her own project Van Ransbeeck Band.
Named after a legendary folk band and the child of two folk-loving parents, Malicorne grows up breathing the world of traditional folk music. During her classical music education she quickly acquires a taste for the violin. Her teacher Ann Lafaille knows like no one else how to convey passion and musicality in her lessons and subsequently plays a major part in Malicorne’s musical development. She later establishes a substantial interest in the pure Centre-France violin style (in which the bourrée auvergnate take centre stage) due to several folk internships, including those at Jean-François Vrod and Luc Pilartz. Furthermore she starts exploring various musical projects (Chitty Bang Bang, Famuze, Kotjesvolk, Kadril, Zjef Vanuitsel, Les Sauvages), where she always looks to combine improvisations with subtle accompaniments. Malicorne sees folk music as a perfect way to differ from her day-to-day scientific research.
Zjef Van Steenbergen
Zjef Van Steenbergen (1994, Arendonk) began playing the electric bass when he was twelve. After high school, he started his musical studies at the Academy of Arts in Antwerp in 2012, where he was taught by Piet Verbist. The following year he continued these studies at the conservatory in Ghent. Here he was taught by Nicolas Thys, Yannick Peeters, Vincent Pierins and Janos Bruneel, amongst others. He currently plays in various projects covering different genres (jazz, reggae, funk, pop, folk, ect.)
Ever since the hurdy-gurdy crossed his path, Thomas has been enchanted by the rich tunes of this unique instrument. His love became a passion. Thomas attended intensive workshops and training programmes both nationally (Martina Diessner, Iep Fourier, Hans Quaghebeur…) and internationally (Gregory Jolivet, Gilles Chabenat, Isabelle Pignol, Valentin Clastrier…). Some years later he knocked at the young folk band’s door himself. Now he tours throughout western Europe with the established Bal Folk formation called Cecilia and since the summer of 2013 with the promising young band Elanor as well. From spring 2018 onwards, he gives a traditional touch to the large-scale project FolKK (Folk meets KleinKunst), a cooperation between Nekka & MuzMoz with Walter Evenepoel as the force behind. Very recent he became the regular hurdy-gurdy player in Hidrae.
Furthermore he is a popular guest musician in several ensembles. On account of his background in IT, he manages to combine ancient tones with the most modern sound techniques. This recently resulted in a new drone project duo mOthA (wih Maarten Marchau). Thanks to mOthA, he was able to join the project “Rooted: The Manen Opzij”, a production from the Dranouter Music Center in which two musicians who are involved with folk / traditional music in an innovative way are confronted with two equally innovative musicians from different musical directions.
More, Thomas has over time been teaching his instrument among others at “Draailier & Doedelzak” (Netherlands), at vzw Westelfolk as well as academies in Dranouter, Gooik & Gent.