You’ve brought your patrons’ tongues on a scintillating beer journey; why not transport the rest of them to Belgium (or France, Italy, or Iceland)? Whether you set the mood with music or create an immersive experience through movies or slideshows, we’ve got you covered.
Music: Get Your Groove On!
Need some jams to get you in party mode? Some tunes to keep the party going? Simply open a web browser to play any of the following playlists:
+ 1982: Billboard hits from the year Vanberg & DeWulf was founded.
+ Belgian Oldies but Goodies: Enjoy a beer while listening to the soothing sounds of Belgian classics.
+ New Belgian music: best appreciated with a pintje
When it comes to the Belgian music scene, there are numerous greats that cannot go without mention. Classics include the iconic Jacques Brel (check out the albums Quinze Ans D’amour and Ne Me Quitte Pas) and Salvatore Adamo, whose ballads on the album Salvatore Adamo 63-64 are among the best ever written. Also of note is The Wallace Collection, a band with influences ranging from pop to jazz to classical, who attained worldwide popularity with their hit “Daydream”.
Breakout talent Selah Sue (whose hits include “Crazy Vibes” and “This World” ) blends Reggae, Soul, and popular music styles to such great effect that her self-titled debut album reached number one on the Belgian music chart. Another Belgian Talent to recently reach super-stardom is popular music sensation Gotye, whose hits “Somebody I Used to Know” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (making him the second Belgian artist ever to do so).
Honorary Belgian Artists
Just as we have our honorary Belgian beers, we also have a list of honorary Belgian artists to enjoy.
Our friend Loic, the export manager at Brasserie Castelain, sent us a great set of recommendations. He begins with Serge Gainsbourg, citing three albums in particular: Histoire de Mélodie Nelson (1971), L’homme à la Tête de Choux (1976), and Aux Armes et Cætera (1979). These three albums come from the middle of Gainsbourg’s prolific career, and showcase the perfect blend of innovation and irreverence that made him one of France’s most captivating popular artists.
Next up, Georges Brassens. In Loic’s own words, the “perfect songwriter! No matter what age you are in France, you have to know Brassens.” Standout albums include La Mauvaise Réputation (1952) and Les Copains D’abord (1964). Brassens is a true classic, and these recognizable tunes are sure to delight any audience.
Those looking for something more modern should check out Phoenix (a wonderful alternative group from France that has recently exploded into the mainstream). France also has a vibrant electronic music scene, ranging from greats such as Daft Punk (who helped define the style), as well as emerging DJ’s such as DJ Cam Quartet. If your event calls for electronic dance music, look no further.
The birthplace of classical music and Opera, Italy has an incredibly rich musical history. Standouts include composer Ennio Morricone (who scored almost all of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns) and Nino Rota (who scored Fellini’s films, as well as the Godfather Series). Italy is the birthplace of ballet, and as it also one of Catholicism’s seminal nations, has a great history of sacred music.
More recently, popular artists such as Giusy Ferreri and Andrea Bocelli have exploded into the international spotlight, shining new light on Italy’s modern music landscape.
The music scene in Iceland is truly amazing. Concerts have even been known to take place at the Blue Lagoon. Here are some recommendations from Jon – our friend and the brewer/founder of Olvisholt (who himself is working on performing mostly classical pieces of Icelandic music). He begins with one of Iceland’s most famous exports, Bjork, pinpointing the track Human Behavior. A standout from her debut album, Human Behavior is about the relation between humans and animals, from the animal’s point of view.
Next on Jon’s list is Sigur Ros, an ambient post-rock group that has garnered international attention. The track Viorar Vel til Loftarasa (Good Weather for Airstrikes) will hypnotize you, and is a perfect showcase of their unique sound.
Also worth noting is one of Sigur Ros’ contemporaries, Mugison. Bluesy and folksy, with just a touch of heavy metal, Mugison is an artist who also defies genre classification. And as you can see in his photography, he is incredibly proud of his Icelandic roots.
On top of that, Icelandic DJ Margeir has a whole playlist that you can download (and listen to on Iceland Air flights) . It is available here, and showcases the modern dance, electronic, funk, and even jazz music styles coming out of this vibrant music scene.
Movies: Transport Yourself Through Film
Belgian Movie Night for the Coast to Coast Toast? Consider screening films by Benoît Poelvoorde, Chantal Akerman, and the Dardenne brothers. We love Toto the Hero by Jaco Van Dormael, The Promise by the Dardenne brothers, and Rundskop by Michaël R. Roskam.
Whether the Neorealist greats by Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica, whose films Shoeshine and The Bicycle Thief rank among the most influential films of all time, or Auteur Frederico Fellini’s classic film Eight and 1/2, a surreal contemplation on the life of a director slipping into insanity, Italy has a vibrant cinematic history that has left an undeniable mark on the medium.
And, of course, when you talk about Italian cinema, you can’t leave out the classic Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone. His Dollars trilogy (Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) and the film Once Upon a Time in the West came to define the genre, and contain some of the most iconic movie images of all time.
This compilation brought to you Loic from Brasserie Dupont, Jon from Olvisholt, Wendy, Danica, and Parker.
Slideshows: Brewery Beauty, Frame by Frame
Chuck Cook loves Belgian Beer as much as we do (check out his wonderful blog on Belgian Beer and travel here). He crafted Flickr slideshows featuring five of our breweries: