Saturday, February 27, 2016


The earliest references to the music of Luxembourg were tied in with Roman culture and musical styles. The Abbey of Echternach was widely known for its church music, and it was also known for its contributions to musical notation. During the 1800s as Luxembourg moved toward independence and a sense of nationalism spread across the country, military music also came into demand. Poet Michel Lentz wrote the lyrics to their national anthem to the music of Jean Antoine Zinnen. Brass bands and choirs were commonly found in large cities and small towns throughout the country. 

Most of Luxembourg’s musical heritage is closely related to German traditions. The most famous composer from Luxembourg is Laurent Menager. Not only was he a composer, he was also an organist, a teacher, and renowned choirmaster. In fact he started the choral association called Sang a Klang. Luxembourg has a long-standing tradition of classical music and has produced a number of classical musicians throughout the centuries. 

Luxembourg has a long dance tradition that also reflects much of the dance traditions found in its neighboring countries. However, there are some dance traditions that are pure Luxembourg. One of the most famous cultural dances is the dance procession at Echternach. This city is known for its Benedictine abbey, and every Whit Tuesday, the townspeople gather for a dancing procession in honor of the abbey’s founder, St. Willibrord, and it ends at his tomb. Today, dance has expanded out to include a number of cultural dances all over the world, including jazz dance and hip-hop dance. 

Like other areas of Europe (namely Belgium and Germany), jazz is also an embraced genre. Musicians like Ernie Hammes (trumpet), Michel Reis (piano), Pascal Schumacher (percussion), and Gast Waltzing (trumpet, composer) are widely popular among jazz fans.

Luxembourg has hosted the Eurovision Song Contest several times since its inception, and they’ve won several times. Luxembourger pop/rock artists are few and far between on Spotify, but I did come across several on YouTube. One artist I came across is Serge Tonnar & Legotrip. His music tends to border on indie rock with elements of folk and maybe even a little bit of traditional musical styles mixed in there as well.

There’s also an indie pop group called KATE, led by a female singer (is this Kate?). It indubitably falls in the feel-good pop category. Some songs I listened to borrow elements of jazz and blues. She also primarily sings in English.

For such a small country, there are a lot of metal bands of all metal genres. I came across one called Sleepers’ Guilt. They are a little more melodic/gothic, which I like, but it still meets its quota of screaming. 

I also took a listen to Plaguewielder, this one described as an “atmospheric doom metal” band. It’s kind of hard to elaborate on the differences. It’s certainly loud; it does have a melody line and clean riffs, but I think there are perhaps a little more “atmospheric” sound effects used in places? Maybe? In places, it seems almost ethereal or even industrial as it builds into it’s metal sound. One entire song had a melancholic piano that was playing triplets the entire song. And there are certainly a number of other metal bands I came across but didn’t listen to. 

There are also several hip-hop artists from Luxembourg. Many of them rap in French, but I saw a several groups who rap in Luxembourgish, German, Italian, and even English. Bossmen is a rap duo who raps in French. I kind of liked some of the songs I sampled. I'm not sure if he's from France or Luxembourg, to be honest, but I still like his music. 

C.M.P. raps in Luxembourgish. His style is almost a cross between Twenty One Pilots and the Australian duo Bliss N Eso. Edel Weis is another rapper who performs in Luxembourgish. He mixes a bit of jazz with hip-hop, which gives it a chill feel to his music. Make Some Noize is another hip-hop group who also highly influenced from soul and jazz. Light Being does mostly instrumental jazz/hip-hop/electronica style, if you could call it that. There are a number of other hip-hop groups from Luxembourg, or at least ones that are popular there, that I came across but didn’t listen to.

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