One of Belgium's great songwriters and singers, Wannes Van De Velde, has died of leukaemia yesterday, aged 71. Born in Antwerp in 1939, he became interested in traditional songs in the early 1960's and made his first record in 1966. As well as traditional songs, he wrote songs himself using Antwerpen dialect, which was not considered the thing at all by speakers of 'proper' Dutch/Flemish. His earliest writing was prompted by the destruction of some of the historical houses and old building of his native city.
He was a lovely man and wrote and sang some incredibly good songs. He's a real loss to music and humanity.