VAYA CON DIOS
August 17, 2008 - 8:30 pm
Acoustic featuring Dani Klein
With the warm and bluesy voice of Dani Klein, Belgium’s most famous female artist was one of the main sounds of the nineties. Many of the classic tunes remain strong today: “What’s a Woman”, “Nah Neh Nah”, “Don’t Cry For Louie”, “Just a Friend Of Mine”, “Don’t Break My Heart”,… Vaya Con Dios will be in Byblos for 2 “Best of” acoustic performances with guitar, piano, drums and double bass.
The story began two decades ago with a voice – Dani Klein’s voice, the voice of Vaya Con Dios. An extraordinary voice, gracing an incalculable number of memorable hit songs. Vaya Con Dios wasn’t the first introduction to Dani Klein; back in the mid-Eighties, you could hear her singing on commercials, in bars, on the stage, as the vocalist for indie heroes Arbeid Adelt. But she didn’t take her place in the spotlight until she formed Vaya with bassist Dirk Schoufs and guitarist Willy Lambregt. There was no five-year plan; just the maverick urge of three musical magpies to riff on the sounds they loved – and to see what happened when you mixed rock with Latin rhythms, blues, flamenco or chanson…
Vaya soared into the stratosphere; no surprise there. In the 1980s, ‘mainstream’ mainly meant ‘soulless’. Singles like ‘Just a Friend of Mine’, ‘Puerto Rico’, ‘Johnny’ and ‘Don’t Cry for Louie’ were like lifebelts to those longing for music of color and passion and flair and heart and, of course, soul. If the music made people do a double take, so did the first time they saw Dani on TV. Her voice sounded like it belonged to a Delta blues-woman or a Detroit diva. Not a down-to-earth woman from Brussels… By now, that down-to-earth woman from Brussels was a big name around the world. Vaya were selling millions, scaling dizzy heights with the 1990 album Night Owls and smash hits like ‘Nah Neh Nah’ and ‘What’s a Woman?’
In 1991, Dani and Dirk Schoufs decided to go their separate ways; some time later, Dirk suddenly died. Dani didn’t drop Vaya but went on as a one-woman-show. The melancholic Time Flies and velvety Roots & Wings albums followed (including timeless numbers such as ‘Heading for a Fall’, ‘Forever Blue’, ‘Stay with Me’ and ‘Don’t Break My Heart’). But by the mid-Nineties Dani felt smothered by the limelight. She found it much too burdensome, and opted to step out of that hothouse. Decided to find herself… Over the next few years she devoted herself to making up for lost time with friends and family she’d barely seen for a decade. She travelled the world, finally visiting the places she’d only managed to glimpse on tour. She even went back to university, studying psychoanalysis, philosophy and literature.
Eventually the ache to create music returned. In 1999, Dani and four musician pals began jamming together and formed the band Purple Prose, recording an album of quiet, low-key beauty. Five years later, once again as Vaya Con Dios, she made The Promise, all summery loveliness, especially the glorious ‘Je l’aime, Je l’aime’ and ‘Don’t Deny’. It’s the work of an artist at the peak of her creative powers.
• Vaya Con Dios (BMG, 1987)
• Night Owls (BMG, 1990)
• Time Flies (BMG, 1992)
• Roots & Wings (BMG, 1995)
• What’s a Woman (BMG, 1998)
• The Promise (Ultermundo/PIAS, 2005)