One of the principal and most joyous chansonniers from Belgium at the end of
the seventies, beginning of the eighties.
He was born in Brussels in 1948, and discovered the joys of music at a relatively
young age, so grew up with the likes of Brel, Ferré, Ray Charles and the
Onyx Club. At the age of 18, he dropped out of school and lived a life of 13 trades
and 12 mishaps for 6 long years. He lived at the Belgian Coast and on no less
than 19 different places in Brussels, with the case of his guitar as his only
In 1971 he enrolls for the drawing department of the Academy of Beaux-Arts.
At night he goes working in the "cartonneries Vanneste et Brel", the
same factory that had Jacques Brel fleeing to Paris before
In this period he started writing his own songs (the oldest are "Ma façon
de vivre" and "L'alcool" (my way
of living and alcohol). He wins a song contest in Bastogne, but decides never
to participate in contest anymore. In the weekends he performs on stage all by
himself at the "Grenier aux Chansons" (songattic). After a while, he
gets asked to perform in youth clubs and small festivals all around.
In 1975 he settles down with the love of his live in Hoeilaart, and composes
the joyful "La Belle Gigue". This song,
a sort of an ode to the unity of the Belgians, would later on become his best
Entre Wallons et Flamands
Y a les bourgeois les fransquillons
Pendant qu'on se tire les deux langues
Qui nous étreignent et nous étranglent
Mais la Belle Gigue Gigue
Gigue qu'on leur fera danser
Quand les vieilles digues digues
Diguedon les fera tomber
With a few friends-musicians, he founds the group "Bal du Bourgmestre"
in 1975 (a smart move, because many are fooled into thinking it would be the "Mayor's
At the end of 1976 he signs a record deal (with IBC, a part of EMI, a firm he
has stayed loyal to all his career). He records, in a production of Jean Blaute
(see Raymond van het Groenewoud, Kate's
Kennel, but also K's Choice ...), the album "Rue
de L'arbre Bénit", named after the street where Charles de Coster,
author of Tijl Uilenspiegel, died in loneliness. The album gets a good reception
both in the north & south of the country.
In 1978 his second album follows, named "Belgeries". His live-reputations
grows and he gets to perform at the bigger folk festivals, such as le Temps des
Cérises, Nekka, Dranouter, Nyon, Québec, Printemps de Bourges ...
In 1979 he only releases one single with "Routinelle"
(with Ilona Chale), and "La petite caissière" (about the birth
of his first son, Julien). He also gets very set up with the city council of Brussels,
who had issued a ban on rock-concerts during the celebrations of the 1000-years
existence of the Belgian capital.
1981 he releases his best known album : "Nord-Sud" (North-South). Most
of his best-known songs are on this one, such as "La belle Gigue", "Elle
n'est pas belle", "Visite Guidée" and the anti-nuclear energy
song "La petite centrale". At the same time he also tours with a "Nord-Sud"-show.
He is one of the only artists that knows how to grab the attention of the press
both in Flanders & in Wallonia.
Still, as a result of the times in which he had his best period (when at the
same time a burst of creative energy was happening in Flanders & Brussels),
he also became a sort of symbol for the "fossilization" of music in
the South at the time. As Oor's pop-encyclopedia wrote for several years : "In
the meantime, Wallonia was aging rapidly with troubadours-chansonniers such as
Bialek and Pierre Rapsat and the symphonic rock of Machiavel".
Don't forget this were the cynical new-wave eighties, not a good time for a man
with an acoustic guitar.
1984 he records his fourth album, "André Bialek". However, during
the filming of a special for the RTBF about himself (Witloof Story was the title),
he suddenly decided to call it a day. He puts his guitar away.
Gilbert Léderman (A&R at EMI-Belgium for Adamo
and other) knew to convince André Bialek in 1997 to help release a re-issue
of "Nord-Sud" and a mix of earlier work on cd under the name "Les
Années Belle Gigue" (and goes into the advertising business).
In 1998 a song he wrote a song that appeared on the album "Doum Doum Tschak"
of Jean-Louis Daulne. In 2000, his "Belle Gigue"
was at the foundations of an interesting new folkband, because when Yves Barbieux
of Coïncidence got the order to make a contemporary
version of this song, he came up with his Urban
|Buy CD's of this artist
- Rue de l'Arbre Bénit / Gewijde Boomstraat (IBC, 1976)
- Belgeries (EMI, 1978)
- Nord-Sud (EMI, 1981)
- André Bialek (EMI, 1984)
- Les Années Belle Gigue (EMI, 1997)
- Little french site
about André Bialek
- Read the messages/questions about André
- Add your message, question, cd- or concertreview
... about Bialek