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CHIMERA

Prog Folk • Netherlands


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Chimera biography
CHIMERA began as a duo of fellow students Bas and Marry Verkade. The Verkades soon wed, and along with Marry's brother Koos became a trio whose music consisted largely of British and popular American folk covers. By the late seventies the group had migrated to Dutch folk themes and original compositions, leading to their first studio release ('Des Duivels Oorkussen') on the Stoof label in 1979. This was followed with a second and final album, 'Obstakel' in 1981, where the band expanded their sound to include electric instruments and a somwhat more rock-oriented sound, particularly on the second half of the album. The second release was well-received and the group had a planned international tour and tracks recorded for a third studio album, but as Bas and Marry felt the call to full-time parenthood for their two children they disbanded the group in 1982. The band reformed several years later and existed in varying degrees until illness led to a second retirement in 1995, but no further recordings were issued.

CHIMERA reformed in 2007 under Bas and Marry, accompanied this time by their eldest son Marijn. The band is campaigning both to release new material and to have their two original albums reissued on CD. In the meantime a small number of live appearances are scheduled locally.

>>Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth)<<

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CHIMERA discography


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CHIMERA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.16 | 6 ratings
Des Duivels Oorkussen
1981
2.96 | 5 ratings
Obstakel
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Uitgevlogen
2010

CHIMERA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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CHIMERA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Obstakel by CHIMERA album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.96 | 5 ratings

BUY
Obstakel
Chimera Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Chimera go electric for their second and final studio release. While the core of the band’s sound is still folk, they manage to stumble into prog-folk territory by virtue of what I suspect was actually an attempt to appear more mainstream by adopting some soft rock and pop sensibilities. While the first album featured almost exclusively acoustic instrumentation and virtually no drums (in fact, none that I can discern although there is a bit of percussion here and there); the songs on this record are all noticeably ‘rocked-up’ with snare drums and electric guitar. Not Def Leppard by any stretch, but more like the sort of modernization makeover the Welsh band Brān went through just a few years prior with their second record.

There are bright spots, particularly the soft-rocking “De Stalknecht” with unmistakable eighties riffs and danceable rhythms but also quite lovely vocals from Ms. Verkade and a couple of dulcimers that aren’t prominent but serve to balance the electric guitar. “Da Stirkganz” is also quite good, very similar to the stuff the band recorded on their first album with plenty of recorder, flute and violin to accent Verkade’s excellent vocals. “Wachten” features more of the same but includes vocals from Verkade’s husband as well.

The last couple of tracks veer off into artsy pop-rock territory though, with a combination of violin and keyboards that is toe-tapping enough, but not at all in the same mold as the rest of the album and a bit ill-fitting on the record as a whole. The band sounds like they spent a fair amount of time in the studio trying various sounds and styles that might click with several audiences, but instead of working toward cohesion they simply threw everything together and called it a day. Taken individually the songs are all decent, but none of them stand out with the possible exception of the slightly stodgy “Da Stirkganz”.

Of the two Chimera albums I prefer the first, but this one is slightly more approachable for broader (i.e., non-folk) audiences. Neither record is very memorable, but I have to give this one a slight nod over the other only because the group is obviously trying to stretch themselves; it’s just that they may have stretched a bit too thinly. Mildly recommended and three stars.

peace

 Des Duivels Oorkussen by CHIMERA album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.16 | 6 ratings

BUY
Des Duivels Oorkussen
Chimera Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

2 stars ‘Des Duivels Oorkussen’ is a pleasant enough debut from Dutch prog folk band Chimera. Not to be mistaken with at least a dozen other bands by the same name including former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Weston’s early seventies group Chimera, these guys appear to have been mostly the husband/wife team of Bas and Marry Verkade along with three other guys who would never be heard from again: bassist Ruvo Schotting, violinist Kees Mook and multi-instrumentalist Koos Leezer.

The lyrics are Dutch I presume, certainly some sort of Scandinavian tongue that sounds awfully warm and inviting on the tongue of young Marry Verkade, and the music is so heavily folk-leaning that I hesitate to even call it progressive or even contemporary folk. This stuff is firmly rooted in older Dutch traditional folk, with variations on violin and flute-driven reels abounding throughout and a couple of more laid-back pastoral pieces, the most eloquent of which is easily the instrumental “St Vitusdans” which features every instrument in the band’s repertoire including an Indian organ, violin, flute, whistles, recorder, dulcimer, mandolin and of course a couple of guitars.

Another track (“De Droghen Haring”) hints at the slightly more rocking and modern pose the band would strike for their second and final release ‘Obstakel’ a year later, but beyond that most of the album is quite well-played but rather pedestrian folk. The band offers up something of a magnum opus with the 9-minute plus “De Loteling”, reminding me for some reason a whole lot of the British contemporary folk act Faraway Folk despite the cultural and language differences. Mostly the interplay of Marry Verkade’s tempered soprano and the various male singers on the song I suppose, sort of a non-harmonizing trio/quartet much like what Faraway did for several years.

Not much else to say about this record. It hasn’t ever been released on CD to my knowledge, although I know Bas and Marry Verkade reformed the band as a trio with their eldest son a few years ago and expressed some interest in reissuing their back catalog. The three of them don’t appear to have been active in some time now, so I don’t expect anyone will re-release this of ‘Obstakel’ any time soon.

I have nothing against this album and actually kind of enjoy the interaction between Marry Verkade and the traditional instruments; but much like groups such as Dulcimer, Horden Raikes and Heron this is quite good folk music but not so much progressive. I’ll have to go with two stars but only based on a prog-folk scale; would be three easily if I were only judging the folk quality of the music.

peace

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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