The Orchestre International du Vetex was formed in 2004 in the small Flemish city of Kortrijk for a special occasion: to bring together professional and amateur musicians from Flanders, Wallonia, and northern France to support the renovation project of the old textile factory Vetex located in an abandoned area of the city. Several local associations participated, and a couple of weeks later, the Orchestre International du Vetex took the stage at the “Fiesta Mestiza” festival in Kortrijk for its first concert.
This marks the beginning of a great adventure. The band immediately stands out in the Belgian music scene thanks to a wild mix of brass and a compelling and eccentric rhythm that combines brass music, Balkan tradition, klezmer and ska notes, but also popular sounds like tarantella, cumbia, reggae, all with a punk-rock attitude. They spread energy wherever they go, not only for their style or the numerous musicians but also because they don’t like to be too serious and certainly want to have fun with the audience. It is a cross-border band, with people from three different regions in two different countries, but they have some important common goals and fight for the same ideas.
In 2005, after a series of concerts in Belgium and France, the Orchestre International du Vetex recorded its first album, “Le Beau Bazar,” a CD and a DVD with twelve songs and a documentary about the life of this cross-border band. They then recorded “Flamoek Fantasy” in 2007. Both albums received excellent reviews in Belgium and other European countries. In 2011, they released “Morzewski: Total Tajine,” an album recorded in Novi Sad, Serbia, as a natural consequence of the close collaborations with Balkan musicians maintained in recent years, which strongly influenced the northern European style of the orchestra. “Total Tajine” is more than just a record: it is a double album with twenty-eight original tracks and a unique recipe, the international tajine made with Flemish, Walloon, and French flour. With “Cumbia international” (2012) and “Fifavela” (2016), the Orchestra takes brass and percussion to the favelas of South America, while the latest album, “Plaza Major” in 2021, marks the return to Mediterranean and European rhythms.
So far, Vetex has played more than 600 concerts: from small clubs and parties to large and famous stages, from the streets of Sarajevo to the Prague metro, from the Olympic Games in Turin to prestigious street music and world music festivals in Graz, Santander, Amsterdam, Berlin.