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Bibi Seck selects her top 20 funky and groovy tracks from Belgium

Pictures by Annika Wallis

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After six very quiet months, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. And while the event industry is gradually picking up some speed again, let’s get back in the mood with some of Belgium’s best selectors picking their favourite tracks!

As one of the fresh faces on the Studio Brussel roster, Bibi Seck has proven herself as one of the most exciting selectors in the country. The Antwerp-native lives right above the Pekfabriek nightclub, which technically makes her the resident DJ. With no events taking place, she’s more than happy to provide us with a definitive list of her 20 favourite groovy and funky tracks from Belgium. Note: the 20 songs are ranked randomly.

1.  Merrilyn Fox - For Ladies Only

"A good bass line, English vocals with a strong Flemish accent, and a high dose of Vanity 6 inspiration. I discovered this record on a blog a few years ago, and it turned out to be a hidden gem".

2.  Wizards Of Ooze – Hifi

"A superb hit of the Antwerp-based funk band Wizards Of Ooze. This track breathes funk and groove. The vocals of Trijntje Oosterhuis (and the backing vocals) are the cherry on the cake. When I first heard it, I assumed it was a track from the late 70s or early 80s. To my great surprise, it came out in 1996. In short, it’s a real killer track, and it’s perfect to start a DJ-set with, as it immediately sets the right tone".

3. Alec Mansion - Trop Triste

"This has to be one of my favourite boogie tracks, and coincidentally it happens to be Belgian. Alec Mansion, born in Bruges, released this record in 1983. It’s impossible to listen to this track without dancing. Perhaps it’s a bit gloomy, but nevertheless, it’s incredibly funky".

4.  The Chakachas - Jungle Fever

"This track should be part of our national heritage! The production doesn’t have a lot of structure, and the panting and groaning almost seems improvised, but this was a global hit in the 70s. The groove makes it the perfect soundtrack for a sweaty summer night. One of the songs from their eponymous album was later sampled in ‘Backseat Freestyle’ by Kendrick Lamar".

5. Max Berlin - Elle et Moi

"This is an absolute classic, and it’s one of my all-time favourites too. This vibe is endearing yet subtle. The repeating piano chords, the loud cowbell, and the voice have always captivated me, and in some way, they are reminiscent of Serge Gainsbourg".

6.  Love Dream – Sexy

"This is an obscure disco track with simple lyrics that send a clear message: ‘we are so sexy, but they don’t know’. It’s so girly, and super mega kitsch. I love it"!

7. Lieven - Spitsuur

"Initially, this record caught my eye because of the corny title (‘Jus d’Orange’) and artwork. Many of the nine featured songs charm me, but there is one real gem. ‘Rush hour’ is a funky song with a very cool laidback groove. I love the nice synths and the catchy guitar. The legendary Marc Moulin made the arrangements, and you can tell".

8.  Marc Moulin (Placebo) - Humpty Dumpty

"I know this might be categorized as jazz, but Marc Moulin could not be omitted from this list. As a Belgian, I’m proud of his legacy. This beautiful track is an excellent mix of jazz, funk and rock. He has got some very seductive chords".

9. Electronic System – Skylab

"In the 70s, Dan Lacksman experimented with a Moog synthesizer, and the result was, among other things, the ‘Tchip Tchip’ album. Besides an absurd ‘synthesizer cover’ of the vogeltjesdans and a whole bunch of other eyebrow-raising tunes, the last track is terrific. The slow, sensual, dreamy and, above all, super groovy track goes on for 14 minutes. Listening to this, I imagine myself in a spaceship floating towards another galaxy. Pure magic"!

10.  Dan Lacksman - Love You Everyday

"Another one from Mr Lacksman because, yes, I’m a fan! This time it’s a little more up-tempo, and this one contains lyrics. Again, the English vocals have a thick accent, which is an added value in this case. Lacksman, who went on to become the co-founder of Telex, was a real pioneer in the Belgian electronic music scene".

11.  Lio - Sage Comme Une Image

"I don’t know if the Portuguese-Belgian Lio was a good girl, but what I do know is that this song has a super funky bassline that few can resist. This is a grade-A record with a chorus that will stay in your head for at least four days".

12.  Lavvi Ebbel - Give Me A Gun

"This famous Belpop song was very successful in the 80s. It’s a mixture of new wave and funk, and it works amazingly well. This song sounds tense, but it’s also very danceable because of the fat bass and funky drums".

13.  Fragile On The Rocks - La Vie Continue

"This is a French cover of The Whispers’ ‘And The Beat Goes On’ by a female band from Wallonia. They only released one record, entirely produced by Isabelle Antena (girl power!). It came out in 1990, but all songs are entirely immersed in a tasty 80s sauce".

14.  Two Man Sound - Que Tal America

"This is one of the few Belgian songs I know that falls under the ‘disco’ category. It has an uplifting rhythm and a samba sound that makes you reminisce the summer of your life. This is perfect for playing at an open-air event, which I hope we can do again soon".

15.  Plus - Put Everything Together

"What a beautiful song from the 70s. I found this one on one of the Funky Chicken compilations, and I was instantly hooked. The soft conga’s in the background do the trick for me. It’s perfect picnic music".

16. Janko Nilovic - Funky Tramway

"During the first minute, this track goes in a very jazzy direction, but towards the end, it blossoms into a very funky tune. Janko Nilovic has roots in Montenegro, but he worked together with Dan Lacksman (see above) and Koen De Bruyne on this album. The song could be a title song for a detective series. I can see it as the soundtrack during an exciting chase scene, perhaps on a tram or something like that (laughs)".

17.  Sunhouse - Don’t Skimp With Us

"You can’t find much of this Belgian band on the internet. All I know is that they made this record at the end of the 70s, and it’s also the only thing they ever made. But bullseye! It’s a very funky tune, full of cool drum breaks and poorly recorded vocals. Need I say more"?

18.  Hugo Raspoet - Spuitje op, laat je rijden!

"Hugo Raspoet became famous with the rather sad track ‘Helena’. I, for one, am a bigger fan of this funky song about cheating in the cycling sports industry. Yes, you read that right, I’m not making this up. Somehow, it’s very danceable, and it even has an organ in the background".

19.  Walter Verdin – Cinema

"Funky trumpets, female backing vocals, and a great clavinet. These are the best ingredients for a boogie and funk record. The Flemish lyrics sound very ordinary, but somehow it works".

20.  Patricia Burns – Paddock

"This song by the Belgian Patricia Burns is a real gem. If you listen to the album, ‘Grand Prix’, you can hear the racing cars in the background. Additionally, the album cover is a straight 10/10".