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Folk Music of Belgium
Belgium is cultural crossroads where Flemish Dutch-speaking and Walloon French-speaking inhabitants mix with German minorities and immigrant communities from Republic of the Congo and other distant countries.

Belgian folk music has survived the 20th century much more effectively than folk traditions in most other countries due to the efforts of ethnomusicologists early in the century. Consequently, there was an ample repertoire and documentation of traditional Flemish music in the 1960s and early 1970s, when people like Wannes Van de Velde, Herman Dewit, Walter de Buck and Hubert Boone led a folk revival. Some of these musicians, especially Van de Velde, modernised Belgian folk music by using self-penned urban songs using influences from Spain and Greece. Wannes, for example, sang in the dialect of his native Antwerp and collaborated with Amparo CortÚs, a Spanish flamenco singer.

The 1970s saw increased popularity of modernised folk music, with bands like Rum and Hubert Boone's influential Brabants Volksorkest. During the 1980s, folk became less popular, with only a few folk-rock bands like Kadril achieving much success, but Herman Dewit founded an annual music course in Gooik which kept the scene alive. In the mid-1990s, groups like Ambrozijn, Fluxus, Marc Hauman & De Moeite, La´s emerged from these yearly events.

Walloon music has not had as vibrant a revival as Flemish, but artists like Co´ncidence, Remy Dubois, Luc Pilartz, Rue du Village and Claude Flagel have kept the folk traditions alive.

Since the early 1980s, African musicians have played an important part on the Belgian scene, especially those from the former Belgian colony of Congo. Congolese-Belgian Princesse Mansia M'Bila, Rwandan-Belgian CÚcile Kayirebwa, and DieudonnÚ Kabongo led this wave that soon incorporated Argentine tango, Moroccan oud and other music from around the world. The 1990s saw the emergence of Zap Mama, a group of Congolese-Belgian women who played a fusion of Pygmy and other African music with European influences.

Contributed by Wikipedia
5 January 2004

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