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Song : Guido Belcanto
Year : 1998
Record Co : VIA / Oorwoud
His real name is Guido Versmissen, born in Turnhout in 1954.
His musical career started way back in the 1970's as a singer for ballroom
orchestra's, busker and finally as a variety artist.
His first glimpse at fame came in 1987 with a TV-special about him on national
Television. Two years later, his first full album and his single debut "Droevig
is deze wereld" followed. He also formed a band called "Het orkest zijner
dromen" (The orchestra of his dreams).
To give you an impression of the themes he sings about, here are some of the
songtitles from his first album "Op zoek naar romantiek".
- Balzaal der gebroken harten (Barroom of broken hearts)
- Op zoek naar romantiek (In search of romance)
- Vannacht droomde ik dat ik beroemd was (Tonight I dreamt I was famous)
- Op het zeildoek van de botsauto's (on the canvas of the dodgem cars)
- Droevig is deze wereld als je in eenzaamheid leeft (this world's so
sad when you're lonely)
- Rome bij nacht (Rome by night)
- De dag dat mijn meisje me verliet (the day my girl left me)
- Een zanger moet trachten de pijn te verzachten (a singer should try
to heal the pain)
- Rode lampen en havenvampen (Red lights and harbor vamps).
Or, as an enthusiastic concert promoter said : "Guido Belcanto, barroom
singer from the fifties grew out to be a cult figure with his curious mixture
of self-satire and sentiment. Going to see Belcanto is like taking a bath filled
with sweet smells and lukewarm water".
In 1989 he also participated for the province of Brabant (team led by Lou
Depryck) in the "Baccarabeker", an occasion for which he brought
the local woman's guild with him on stage.
that year on, his albums start selling reasonably well. The second one "Plastic
rozen verwelken niet" was produced by Henny Vrienten (former member of the
once incredibly popular Dutch reggaepop formation Doe Maar), the fourth one "Zeerover
zonder boot" by Patrick Riguelle (see Riguelle
& Hautekiet, Kadril ...).
After 1993, things grew a little bit quieter around Guido Belcanto, although
there still is the occasional single release to let us know he may be down, but
not out. He also continues to tour the lowlands. It lasted more than 3 years for
his next cd "La Comedie Humaine" to appear.
In 1998, Guido assembled a new orchestra (The Libido's, with Lieven Demaesschalck
(guitar/piano), Danny Heylen (accordion), Benny Dom (drums) Dominique Osier (bass)
en Walter Baeken (sax)) and started touring once again. In the fall he went back
to the roots (rock'n'roll & blues & bal-musette), released a new CD ("Man
van lichte zeden" - Man of loose morals), a new single ("Puntschoenen
en een zonnebril" - pointed shoes and sunglasses) and a book with his lyrics
(publ. Houtekiet). Or as he wrote in his press-release : "Today I can
proudly present you, not only that I'm still alive & that my health is in
tiptop shape, but that I've once again made an excellent, blistering, swinging
& high-in-hitpotential new album. Because there's no doubt on my behalf that
you'll once again cherish this work, and that you'll shower it with superlatives,
perhaps will even invent new superlatives just to describe it, I would like to
thank you very humbly."
1999 he told on Paul de Leeuw's programme on Dutch television about his "female
alter ego", a side of himself which he doesn't want to hide anymore. "Gina
Divina", as the vamp in question is called, also made an appearance in the
videoclip for the song "Dirty Thing" of the band Soul
Sucker. Less funny was the news that almost all summer gigs had to be canceled
due to a serious illness.
In 2001, Guido Belcanto re-emerged with a programme called"Van den Duivel
bezeten" (possessed by the devil). In it, the singer "explores the duality
between gladness & sadness, between lust for life and weariness of life, between
chastity & sin, between comedy & drama, between woman & man". According to the
press-release this make Guido Belcanto "shamelessness in the flesh, by far
the biggest exhibitionist & eccentric of all chansonniers".
There also was a new Guido Belcanto single, called "sinds jij uit mijn bestaan
(since you got out of my life).
More-over, Guido Belcanto starred as the main character in a Flemish staging of
the legendary musical "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", in a direction
of Stany Crets (première 28/4, shown at NTG until 16/6).
Buy CD's of this band at
- Op zoek naar Romantiek (EMI, 1989)
- Plastic Rozen verwelken niet (EMI, 1990)
- Plaisir d'amour (EMI, 1992)
- Zeerover zonder boot (EMI, 1993)
- La comédie humaine (1996)
- Man van lichte zeden (VIA/Oorwoud - 1998) Compilations :
- 10 jaar Guido Belcanto (EMI, 2000) Singles : - Droevig is deze wereld (als je in eenzaamheid leeft) - 1989
- Op het zeildoek van de botsauto's - Rode Lampen - 1990
- Mijn verjaardag - Tango au gare du Nord - 1991
- Platina Marina - Echte mannen - 1991
- Evelyne - The silver wedding - 1992
- Door de achterdocht verdoofd - B-side by the Polak Sisters
- Verleden tijd - 1993
- De schipbreukeling - 1994
- Mijn vriend - 1994
- Noche de la pasion - Ik geloof - 1996
- Mr William - 1996
- Het feestje - 1997
- Puntschoenen en een zonnebril - 1998
- Sinds jij uit mijn bestaan verdween - 2000
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