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Biography - Paul Rans

PAUL RANS (voice, lute) made several recordings with the highly successful Flemish folk group Rum during the 1970s, followed by an LP with lutenist Lieven Misschaert, Die Nachtegael int Wilde.
He took part in many Belgian radio productions such as the Islandsuite, Vive le Geus and De Liedboeken.
He spent eleven years in England (1976-1987) where he combined his musical activities with lute making. During this time he also released a solo LP/CD, Blame not my Lute with 16th century songs in Dutch, French and English.

Back in Belgium in 1989, he formed the Paul Rans Ensemble, or RANS for short. Their three CDs with Flemish Christmas carols, songs from the medieval Gruuthuse Ms and from the Antwerp Songbook (1544) received much acclaim from both the public and the media.
Their fourth CD, RANS & FLAGEL: Van Antwerpen tot Parijs/ De la Seine à l’Escaut, was awarded a CHOC! by the leading French music magazine Le Monde de la Musique.

Paul Rans has also sung in many separate projects, such as with the Dutch early music ensemble Camerata Trajectina or with Flemish folk bands such as Het Project with Wouter Vandenabeele, Trio Viool or Ambrozijn with whom he recorded the CD De Hertog Van Brunswyck, released in 2003.

In 2005 Paul Rans, Wiet Van de Leest and Dirk Van Esbroeck – the three original members of RUM – reformed to sing in a project with the girl singers of Laïs. Sadly, Dirk Van Esbroeck had become gravely ill and he died on 23 May 2007. His musical friends performed in numerous tribute concerts and the massive attendance showed how popular Dirk had been.

In 2008 there was a Flemish-British cooperation between Rans and Coope, Boyes & Simpson, with Fi Fraser, Georgina Boyes and Jo Freya.
In this meeting Flemish Christmas songs got a touch of English colour while the British carols wwere seasoned with some of the Burgundian Flemish spirit.

In January 2009 the latest Rans & Flagel CD was released, Drie oorlogstaferelen / Trois tableaux de guerre / Three Scenes of War (Fréa Records MWCD 4061) with songs of war from three separate periods, namely 16th century, 18th century and WW I.

During the tribute concerts to Dirk Van Esbroeck, Paul Rans and his old Rum mate Wiet Van de Leest worked with singer Marc Hauman and guitarist Jokke Schreurs. This encouraged them to create a new programme together, A la Rum, featuring old Rum repertoire besides totally new material.

Paul Rans started broadcasting for the English language programmes of the Flemish World Service, RVI, in 1985 and in 1993 he started producing and presenting world music programmes for VRT Radio3, which changed its name into Klara.
In February 2009 he retired from his radio work, but meanwhile he is making lutes again in Dorset, where he lives with his English wife, the artist Nell Race.

And he hasn’t stopped singing and playing … - most recently with Coope Boyes & Simpson and Michael Morpurgo in a programme commemorating the beginning of WW1 in Ypres and London.

You can also download a more extended Biography in pdf.

Short biogs of musicians who work or have worked with Paul can be found in Collaborations at the bottom of the page.