Folk and traditional music of Belgium is closely tied to their Dutch cousins. Belgium is part of the European Union and one of the centers of Diamonds and Banking in the world. The language in Belgium changes from region to region. In the northern and Flemish region, people speak Dutch. In the southern and Walloon region people speak French and in the eastern region people speak German. Belgium also was one of the brutal colonizers. As a result some immigrant communities from the Democratic Republic of Congo also live in Belgium. So Belgium is a crossroad of cultures in Europe which gives a diversity to its folk music.
Today there are many folk bands in Belgium who use traditional music as their root music and mix it with other musical genres.
Some Belgian traditional musical instruments includes several types of bagpipes (doedelzak, muchosa, pipasso, Schäferpfeife) and the Vièrlerète or tiesse di dj'va (horse head), more commonly known as "Hurdy-gurdy" in other European countries. The latter is a string instrument that produces sound by a crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. The wheel functions much like a violin bow, and single notes played on the instrument sound similar to those of a violin.
One of the most important Belgian popular and folk musicians was Bobbejaan Schoepen. He was a Flemish pioneer in Belgian pop music, vaudeville, and European country music. Schoepen was a versatile entertainer, entrepreneur, singer-songwriter, guitarist, comedian, actor, and professional whistler. Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment. Types of acts included popular and classical musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, strongmen, female and male impersonators, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels, and movies. A vaudeville performer is often referred to as a "vaudevillian".
Through the late 60s, traditional music in Flanders became more popular with the effort of musicians like Wannes Van de Velde, Willem Vermandere and Walter De Buck. They also used a form of performing named “kleinkunst”. The genre can be compared to the French chanson which has many influences from root folk music.
Chanson is also a popular type of music between French speaking people. Chanson is in general any lyric-driven French song, usually polyphonic and secular. The greatest Belgian chansonnier was Jacques Brel, whose classic songs have been covered by several international artists. Some Dutch speaking singers have also been inspired by Chanson.
Levenslied is another sub-genre of popular music in Belgium and Dutch music. Levenslied lyrics can be sweet or bitter, light and sentimental, but also reflective and dark, about subjects such as love, misery and far-away, sunny, exotic holiday places. Jan Verbraeken and Will Tura are two important Belgian musicians who used this genre of music.