Global (Street) Sounds and hip-hop @ AB


Last year, AB decided a change of course at the start of the season: what used to be known as ‘Steenstraat – Muziekstraat’ was renamed Global Street Sounds.  A colourful curtain-raiser with music from all over the world, it is a perfect reflection of the diversity of our capital.  This year too, we worked with a curator: Seb Bassleer, the inspiration behind Rebel Up, a Brussels DJ collective that has ‘Sounds From The Global Underground’ as a baseline.

That musical diversity is not a passing fad; in the past it was always reflected in the regular programme, and more recently it was evident in festivals like the Feeërieën or BRDCST, which last year featured groups from Niger to Turkey.  For the forthcoming concert season, AB is moving up a gear and bringing all its world music concerts under the umbrella title Global Sounds.  Global Sounds explores the wonderful world of vibrant global world sounds which are contemporary and modern, often decisively so. This is music that has been in AB’s DNA for decades – see: Tinariwen, Kel Assouf, Mulatu Astatke, Omar Souleyman, Meridian Brothers,... -  but is now getting an extra boost under this title.

We have forged alliances with trendsetting labels that have inspired us for years, such as Glitterbeat, Strut Records, Brownswood, Soundway Records, Sahel Sounds, Honest Jon’s, Sublime Frequencies and Awesome Tapes From Africa.

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We are devoting special attention this year to collaborations with Asia and, in particular, Indonesia and South Korea.  So we are teaming up (again) with the biennial Arts Festival Europalia, which has chosen Indonesia as its main guest country. We will be staging two unique productions together.  Moondog for Gamalan is a tribute to The Viking Of 6th Avenue – aka Moondog – which was premiered at the Unsound festival in Poland and then moved to the prestigious Barbican in London.  The collaboration with explosive Javanese duo Senyawa is, in turn, a collaboration with the 25-strong Brussels-based polyphonic choir Patshiva Cie.
Under the title Modern Sound Korea – organised by the Korean Cultural Centre in Brussels – we are jointly presenting Jambinai in concert. Jambinai makes fantastic noise with a sound that varies between meditative world ambient and apocalyptic post-rock or metal folk.


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Hip Hop

It seems as if since Kendrick Lamar’s masterpiece ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, everyone is into hip hop again. AB is also devoting particular attention to this genre with the unique two-day event of Run The Jewels, Machine Gun Kelly and upcoming talent such as the Colombian-American Kali Uchis, Sudan Archives and Israel’s Noga Erez.

To turn the spotlight even more onto hip hop, we have entered into an alliance with ALL EYES ON HIP HOP, which has been programming high-quality hip hop for years.

Hip hop is enjoying unprecedented popularity in Belgium. What is more, Belgium has recently – finally – developed a hiphop scene that is also making an impression abroad. So this season, AB will be playing the card of the Brussels hip hop scene. The curtain raiser is the Niveau 4 project that was created under the aegis of Couleur Café and is a project that brings together a range of Brussels/Belgian top talent, such as Zwangere Guy, L’Or Du Commun, Le 77,… This will be followed in the spring by shows by Roméo Elvis, Stikstof, Hamsa, Senamo (La Smala) and Caballero & JeanJass.

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Finally, we will be revisiting the Gelukkig Zijn (Be Happy) Sessions, where singing along together in Dutch looks like a winning concept, and is now entering its third season.

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