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Jacques Brel – In the Sinful Waltz

Belgian actor, director, and singer-songwriter Jacques Brel has sold over 25 million records, a testament to the popularity and timelessness of his songs. Brel’s songs, referred to as “chansons,” are known for their poignant lyrics, earning him the title of a poet. He is considered one of the greatest French-language composers of all time, and his lyrics have been translated into many languages.

In this performance, the musicians let loose, at times charging forward like bulls towards death and at other times holding their breath, careful not to say too much. The concert consists of gems from Brel’s repertoire translated into Finnish.

Jacques Brel’s songs speak volumes about life, love, death, and societal observations. Even darker themes are humorously tackled in the style of Brel. Classics like “Amsterdam,” “The Song of Old Lovers (La chanson des vieux amants),” “If You Go Away (Ne me quitte pas),” and other chanson masterpieces transport the listener through the streets of Amsterdam and into tender and bitter love.

Conducting the ensemble is Jukka Nurmela, who aims to bring the performance close to the intimate and dimly lit club atmosphere of Brel’s early career. In addition to Nurmela’s double bass, the ensemble features Kaisa Ristiluoma on the accordion and Lauri Uusitalo on the piano. Bringing Brel’s lyrics to life through song is actor Joni Kuokkanen.

Duration of the performance: Approx. 1 hour and 45 minutes (including an interlude)