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What’s on this week: 11-17 January

11:45 10/01/2019
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Shake off those post-holiday blues with a little jazz. Though Brussels is offering more than a little, with no less than three jazz festivals this month. Djangofollies is a tribute to the great Belgian-born Django Reinhardt and takes place across the country, with the artist’s signature jazz guitar taking centre stage. River Jazz Festival – a collaboration of three Brussels clubs – is a celebration of the modern jazz scene, from fusion to world. And, finally, the Brussels Jazz Festival, based at Flagey, brings some of the biggest local and international artists and ensembles to the capital. A lively film programme includes classic and new cinema with jazz scores. Many BJF shows are already sold out, so check the programme and book now. Until 30 January, across Brussels & Belgium

Like most art forms, art brut, or outsider art, has been dominated by men, which is why Brussels’ museum dedicated to art created by those outside artistic society – including the mentally ill – have dedicated an exhibition to women. Women in Art Brut? is culled from the private collection of Austrian collector Hannah Rieger and alternates works by women with portraits of women created by outsider artists. Until 10 February, Art et Marges, Rue Haute 314

The English Comedy Club is performing its winter pantomime, a popular family tradition in Brussels expat community. It’s a new production of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Woods, in which the evil sheriff of Nottingham hatches a wicked plan to marry Maid Marian. But first he must get rid of the Babes – Maid Marian’s Belgian cousins. 18-20 January, Auderghem Cultural Centre, Boulevard du Souverain 183

Yoga at the Museum

C’mon, you can tell us: How much weight did you gain over the last few weeks? No problem, there are two excellent methods to help you firm back up: Run Kanal Run and Yoga at the Museum. The former takes place every Saturday, combining sightseeing and running, followed by free entry to the Kanal-Centre Pompidou. The latter is every Friday at the Fine Arts Museum and is open to beginners as well as the more advanced among you.

One final New Year concert to wave goodbye to the holiday season, and how: Musical theatre, ballet and orchestras from Prague present Ein Abend in Wien (An Evening in Vienna), with festive dancers of waltz, polka and ballet performing to the work of Johann Strauss. Fairy-tale Viennese atmosphere guaranteed. 14 January 20.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Didn’t get a chance to ski during the recent holidays? Let the Expat Club drive you through eastern France’s snow-filled Vosges mountain to a ski resort this month. The weekend trip is open to non-members, as are many of the club’s outings. Coming up next month is a trip to Venice for Carnival, and in March they’re going to London for a ‘Brexit Weekend’. Ski weekend: 18-20 January

 40 years after his assassination’

French artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest may be getting on in years, but his confrontational silkscreen prints are no less contemporary for it. Whether this is because his finger is on the pulse of modern society or whether social and political mores never change is up for debate. Don’t miss his first solo show in Belgium, a rare retrospective of the man’s work, which is usually site-specific. Until 10 February, Botanique, Rue Royale 236

The biggest bagpipe show in the world comes to Brussels and features Belgian singer Micha Marah, known for her albums of Irish and Celtic traditionals. Music Show Scotland is an impressive spectacle, with a castle enshrouded in the mists of the highlands right on stage. 12 January 19.30, Forest National, Avenue Victor Rousseau 208

BOOK NOW: Refugees for Refugees is the kind of group that gives hope to the most jaded: 10 musicians from Syria, Tibet, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan – who have in common a flight from their home countries to eventually land in Belgium – have spent two years learning each other’s music and are releasing their first album. Don’t miss the release concert at AB, which is sure to sell out. 16 February 20.00, Ancienne Belgique, Anspachlaan 110

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin


Heaven laughs, Earth exults! Bach was perhaps never more clear in his examination of the relationship between heaven and earth than in his famous Easter cantata, but the Bach Academy Bruges has found many more ways to explore the subject. This eight edition of the festival uses “Heaven on earth” as its guide. The exceptional programme includes the rarely performed Concertos for three and four harpsichords by Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (pictured) and Claire Croizé’s Flowers (we are), with three dancers and two pianists playing a new composition inspired by Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. 15-20 January, across Bruges

Isn’t it interesting that we can still find ‘the perfect chair’ or a desk that appeals like no other even after hundreds of years of design? Contemporary Belgian designer Benoît Deneufbourg is still improving on the look and feel of the most basic tools of everyday life, much of which is on show in the exhibition Process: Benoît Deneufbourg. Until 3 February, CID, Grand Hornu site, 82 Rue Sainte-Louise, Hornu

Photos: Lisa Simone/Brussels Jazz Festival/©Alexandre Lacombe, Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s ‘Pasolini: 40 years after his assassination’ (detail)/©EPE/Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co, Bach Academy/©Uwe Arens

Written by Lisa Bradshaw