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Biography

Armed with a guitar, footstomp and vocal cords “Little” Louis van Empel delivers a surprising and energetic performance. His songwriting combines raw deltablues and dark americana with various folky sounds. His main influences are the old bluesmasters like Blind Willie Johnson, Son House and John Lee Hooker, but also artists like Beck, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Tom Waits. Louis performed with The Little Louis Band, consisting of: Aart van der Wulp (harmonica), Geurt Engelsman (upright bass) and Gabriël Peeters (drums). With full dedication, they deliver their own unique version of "the blues".

In 1994 Louis founded the first Little Louis Bluesband. This band acquired a large regional reputation, which eventually yielded them a performance at the prestigious Belgium Rhythm & blues festival (BRBF) in Peer in 2000.
As from 1999, writing songs with influences from folk, americana, country, latin, blues, jazz and rock occupied Louis and it was no longer possible to incorporate all of his ideas into the bluesband's repertoire. After recording the first independent cd "Compass & Chart", he founded the band "Louis!" at the end of 2000. In 2001 a second independent CD was released, titled "Tales of Liquid Desires & Shining Armours". This album was praised by various dutch music magazines and other music critics. During the summer of 2003 the third Louis! album was recorded, and became the official debut album on Corazong Records. The cd, titled "A Close Watch", received great reviews by the (inter)national (music)press and quite a bit of airplay on national and regional radio.
Apart from the release of the new cd the establishment of the songwriters-collective, Songwriters United, with BJ Baartmans, Eric van Dijsseldonk and Eric Devries was an important activity in 2004. As a result Songwriters United released a live-DVD on Inbetweens records in 2005.

The "blues-noir" album "Speak or the Devil" was released on Inbetweens records, january 2007. Louis played most of the parts on the album, accompanied by the Little Louis Band. The band also released a free, internet only, Live CD: "Live at Paradox". The band's performance at Moulin Blues, Hollands' biggest roots & Bluesfestival, has been documented professionally on the live CD + DVD, titled "Footstompin' Ground!". In 2011 The Little Lous Band changed their name to The Mighty Ya-Ya. The new band moved towards a bigger sound: classic rock, mixed with universal danceable grooves, bombastic big-band fury and a hint of kitsch. All of this molded by the firm but gentle hand of Mother Blues. The debut album was released in february 2012, under critical acclaim in the Dutch and Belgian music press. The second album "Magnum Sonus" has been released January 2016. For more information visit: www.mighty-ya-ya.com


Discography

The Mighty Ya-Ya
2016: Magnum Sonus (Porcupine Records)
2012: The Mighty Ya-Ya (Porcupine Records)

The Mighty Ya-Ya Magnum sonus The Mighty Ya-Ya CD cover

Little Louis
2008: Footstompin' Ground! (Porcupine Records)
2007: Live at Paradox (promo, internet only)
2007: Speak of the Devil (Inbetweens Records)
2002: Hangin' in the Alley (Vinyl LP / Porcupine Records)
2000: Juicy Pear (Self released, out of print)
1998: The Little Louis Bluesband (Self released, out of print)

Little Louis Band - Footstompin' Ground! CD cover

Louis!
2004: A Close Watch (Corazong Records)
2001: Tales of Liquid Desires & Shining Armours (Porcupine Records, out of print)
2000: Compass & Chart (Porcupine Records)

Songwriters United
2007: Another Round with... (Inbetweens Records)
2005: Songwriters United DVD (Inbetweens Records)

Songwriters United DVD cover Another round with Songwriters United CD cover