Nomad Swing starts off the festivities. This Belgian quintet combines French chanson with early swing jazz and is sure to bring you back to the first half of the 20th century. Don’t miss the next act, Thierry “Titi” Robin. This French guitar player, who also masters the Arab oud and the Greek bouzouki, both lutetype instruments, blends East and West into a heart-warming, highly textured mix that reveals his interest in flamenco, musette, Indian hymns and eastern European percussion.
Accordion player Piet Maris, who lends his voice to the Brussels band Jaune Toujours, is also one of the trio Mec Yek, together with two Roma singers (pictured). Apparently, the pair once just jumped on stage at the end of a Jaune Toujours concert to sing with the band. And so Mec Yek was born, an electrifying band that, like all good Balkan ensembles, sounds happy and sad at once.
Top of the bill of Gipsy’s in het Park is the Orchestra National du Vetex. This highly festive brass band mixes musicians from Flanders, Wallonia and the north of France to explore diverse musical traditions: Balkan swing, polka, Latino, klezmer, ska and, of course, gipsy music. Dancing isn’t required, but it will be difficult to resist.