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What’s on this week: 10 to 16 November

Music City Hall Festival Brussels
17:10 08/11/2023
Free concerts, music from Georgia, arty films, circus thrills and new exhibitions. Find out what’s happening in Brussels and beyond this coming week.

Wander around the grand chambers of Brussels’ city hall taking in hip-hop, funk and jazz concerts during the Music City Hall Festival. Create your own programme by choosing from any of the 20-minute concerts that are scheduled multiple times. The music offering – some 18 concerts - includes Flamenco Pura, Groove Travellerz and Jazmyn. It promises to be a fun event for the whole family.  Entry is free with advance reservation. 12 November 14.00-20.00, Grand Place 1


One of the central themes of Europalia arts festival, focused on Georgia, is the country’s long tradition for polyphony. This Muziequepublique concert by the Chamgeliani Sisters showcases not only their incredible singing but deep knowledge of their ancestors’ songs from Lakhusdi, the ‘singing village’ they call home. Here they perform Svan music, which like most Georgian music, is based on three-part polyphony. 11 November 20.00, Molière Theatre, Galerie de la Porte de Namur, 3 Square du Bastion (Ixelles)


The British Council and European arts organisations host Performing Gender in Brussels, an event for artists and policymakers on 14 & 15 November that will explore the difficult relationship between culture and marginalised communities. It includes a livestreamed performance by two artists at LaVallée on Tuesday evening that’s open to the public, featuring choreographer Bakani, dance teacher Marina Santo and moderator Sekai Makoni. For information about attending the live event, email 14 November 18.00-19.00, Rue Adophe LaVallée 37 (Molenbeek)

in sardinia jeff biggers

The American Club of Brussels (ACB) hosts a literary and culinary evening with US historian and author Jeff Biggers on Tuesday evening. He will be presenting his latest work, In Sardinia - An Unexpected Journey to Italy, a travel narrative about the enigmatic Mediterranean island. Fittingly, the venue is Siendas, a restaurant serving modern Sardinian cuisine with fresh and seasonal products. A welcome drink and some delicious snacks are included in the entrance price (€25; reservations until Sunday evening). It’s also possible to stay for dinner after the talk. 14 November 18.00, Place Jourdan 26 (Etterbeek)

BAFF (c)Asian Shadows, Unifrance

You can make some fascinating discoveries at the Brussels Art Film Festival, which screens movies that mix the narrative with imaginative storytelling techniques. Check out Man in Black, for instance, in which Wan Xilin, one of China’s greatest contemporary composers, bares his body in a shadowy theatre to show his re-education camp scars (pictured). Or Algorithms of Beauty, which helps us sort out the organic from the technological. There are also BAFF screenings in Ghent, Mons and Antwerp. 15-19 November, across Brussels

Cri du Bombyx (c)Courtesy Halles

Brussels troupe Gorillas Cie presents Le Cri du Bombyx, a mix of circus, visual arts and eerie soundscape. Ropes figure heavily in this production, for climbing, pulling and bondage, but also intricately weaved to act as near-living creatures. Bodies, screams and rope interact until the performers themselves become embodiments of this pliable yet extremely strong element. 15-17 November, Les Halles de Schaerbeek, Rue Royale Sainte-Marie 22a

(c)Courtesy Fifty Lab

The Fifty Lab Music Festival features more than 60 Belgian and international musicians and bands performing over three days in multiple venues. One wristband lets you hop between them. A diverse mix of electronica, punk, hip-hop (like 39Bermuda, pictured) and world fusion, these are up-and-coming acts, the best of the undiscovered. As band competitions sponsored by Humo and Studio Brussel can attest, the amount of talent bubbling below the surface is astonishing. 15-17 November, across central Brussels


Book now: Young Frankenstein For its big autumn production, amateur musical theatre company BLOC presents Young Frankenstein. Complete with a live orchestra, this show travels to Transylvania for a comic tale that will leave audiences in stitches. Mel Brooks’ adaptation of his cult movie combines the glamour of Broadway with his monstrous sense of humour. It’s packed with catchy tunes, witty one-liners and the legendary song Putting on the Ritz. Staged by Andrew Fisk with musical direction by Steven De Mesmaeker. 23-26 November, Auderghem Cultural Centre, Boulevard du Souverain 183


Get tix now: Maritim is a brand-new 10-hour day rave experience. If that sounds your ideal way to welcome winter, snap up tickets soon as limited places remain for the event. It boasts an eclectic and genre-bending line-up, including an extended set by Swiss electronic music duo Adriatique. The rave at the Gare Maritime hub is organised by Hangar and Belgium’s eco-friendly festival Paradise City Festival. 9 December 15.00-1.00, Gare Maritime, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C

Hans Zimmer (c)Dita Vollmond

Get tix now: The World of Hans Zimmer  There are very few tickets left for this celebration of the film composer who delivered such emblematic soundtracks as The Lion King, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dune, The Dark Knight and Interstellar. It would be impossible for Zimmer himself to be present during the never-ending dates of this popular show, but he has personally curated the pieces of music played by a symphony orchestra accompanied by renowned soloists. Grab the last tickets – or secure seats to the Antwerp show one year from now. 3 April 2024, ING Arena, Brussels; 12 November 2024, Sportpaleis, Antwerp


Untitled, Bonifaci Bros, 1984 (c)Stichting Collectie De Stadshof

The kind of museum-goer you are – searching for meaning or taking it all at face value – will determine your reaction to the word “Untitled”. If you are the former, you might go mad (forgive the pun) at the latest exhibition at Dr Guislain Museum, home to outsider art, which includes work created by people in psychiatric institutions. Untitled is an homage to the work of these artists who are simply giving a visual form to their lives and preoccupations. The lack of unifying theme reminds us that themes are the invention of curators, not of artists. Until 4 February, Jozef Guislainstraat 43, Ghent

Conversations left (c)Courtesy Museum Mayer van den bergh, right (c)Rinus Van de Velde, courtesy Tim Van Laeree Gallery

See the eclectic collection of the Museum Mayer Van Den Bergh through fresh eyes during Conversations, wherein contemporary artists sidle their own works up alongside those from other centuries. The choices they make run from the curious to the profound. Do they have the same story to tell in their own way? Do they use colour and light just the same? Are their figures similar but play fundamentally different roles then and now? A nice way to view the artistic masters of then and now. 10 November to 3 March, Lange Gasthuisstraat 19, Antwerp


the prestigious Antica Namur Fine Art Fair opens with another outstanding display of art, antiques, jewellery and beautiful objects. For the 46th edition, some 115 stands include renowned galleries such as fine art from Raf Van Severen gallery (pictured) as well as 20 new exhibitors. Among them is Sophie Derom, whose modern and contemporary jewellery includes a gold bracelet by late German artist Klaus Ullrich, shown under the banner of Iconics, a selection of 20 fine pieces. The fair is appreciated for its eclecticism, in addition to the quality of its exhibits. (11-19 November, Namur Expo, Avenue Sergent Vrithoff 2, Namur


Tickets are already sold out for the first weekend of the international circus bonanza Festival En L’air . So get your skates on to book seats for the second half of this contemporary circus celebration staged by Belgian and international companies. During the second weekend, shows include Inertie (pictured) by the Underclouds company (from five years), La Dyane by Sitting Duck company (all ages) and a musical spectacle by Les Frères Chantier (only on 18 November). Food trucks will be on site to keep everyone refreshed. 11-19 November, PAMexpo, Court-Saint-Etienne, Walloon Brabant


Immerse yourself in the evocative sound of traditional polyphonic singing performed by the prestigious Basiani Ensemble. These concerts Namur and Liège are part of the biennial Europalia arts festival that is focusing on the country of Georgia. The all-male choir is renowned for its rendition of traditional folk songs and performs regularly around the world. Their programme consists of folk songs and Christian hymns from the 11th and 12th centuries. 16 November (Namur Concert Hall, Grand Manège, Rue Rogier) & 17 November (Salle Philharmonique de Liège, Boulevard Piercot 25)

Discover more upcoming events at The Bulletin's events page.

Photos: (main image) ©Eric Danhier; Performing Gender in Brussels, Premiere of the Nobody Whistles Anymore in Ljubljana ©Nada Žgank/City of Women; BAFF ©Asian Shadows, Unifrance; Cri du Bombyx ©Courtesy Halles; ©Courtesy Fifty Lab; Hans Zimmer ©Dita Vollmond; Untitled, Bonifaci Bros, 1984 ©Stichting Collectie De Stadshof; Conversations left ©Courtesy Museum Mayer van den bergh, right ©Rinus Van de Velde, courtesy Tim Van Laeree Gallery; Antica ©Johan-Frison-©Raf-van-Severen; ©Basiani Ensemble

Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw