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I’m sorry, I’ll read that again – Belgian Bluegrass?

December 7, 2013

At first glance, the idea of Belgians playing bluegrass makes as much sense as Texans  doing Morris dancing – it might happen, but do we really want to see  it? In this case – the Belgian one – the answer is a surprisingly definite yes.

The band in question is called The Broken Circle Bluegrass Band, but it’s not so much a band as a group put togother for a film – “The Broken Circle Breakdown“, released in late 2012 but Belgium’s entry to this year’s foreign film award at the Oscars. It’s a dark love story between a tattooed atheist called Elise and a religious guy called Didier who plays banjo in a bluegrass band.

Not too many hollers in Belgium – Jacques Brel did not sing about “Le Plat Pays” (The Flat Country) for nothing. But to be honest you would not know from the film album – “The Broken Circle Breakdown” – that you were listening to anything but solid U.S. bluegrass.

When it knocks out “Country in My Genes” with the lyrics ”  I can’t help the way I talk, I wouldn’t change it if I could” you would never guess the actress/singer is called Veerle Baetens and comes from Brasschaat in deepest Flanders.  (As an aside, Baetens played Sara in the Flemish version of “Ugly Betty”. Who knew?).

The album, which is now being released more widely, was the best selling soundtrack ever in its home country. A tour by the band has been sold out.

So two thoughts: 1) This is a good album. I like it. I will play it. 2) Here we have yet more proof that Americana, in this case the bluegrass shoot, has a home but does not belong to anyone. As it should be.

Here’s the film’s trailer. Tell me you aren’t intrigued!


From → Music, Music Review

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