Lucy Loes (1928-2010) – “d’ Ostensche zangeres”‘

21. 6. 2010 | Rubriky: Articles,Lives

[by Ken Hunt, London] Lucy Loes, the well-known Ostend dialect folksinger and the so-called ‘Queen of the Fisherman’s Song’ (‘de Koningin van het Visserslied’) died on 17 June 2010 in Bredene in the Belgian province of West Flanders at the age of 82. She was born on 24 January 1928 in Ostend (Oostende) on the Belgian coast where she grew up imbibing the local songs sung in the local dialect. The region had yet to become the hub of the tourism or a major Channel ferry port with fishing as a major local industry. Marrying a fisherman further focussed her mind on the sea.

Her actual name was Lucienne Vanbesien but she chose to sing under the name Lucy Loes after opening a café in her 50s and beginning to sing in public. She specialised in the dialect songs of Ostend, especially songs of the sea and the fishing community. She became known throughout the nation at the turn of the century after appearing on Belgium’s version of the television reality show Big Brother. Amongst her songs were Die Visscher Van Mien, Bei Uus Ant Zeitje and the massive-selling M’n Zeekapiting, although her recorded output, perhaps dictated by the nature of her specialisms, was relatively low. Sadly, much of her work being handed on for posterity is accompanied by piano-accordion (in the Max Bygraves’s Tulips from Amsterdam manner) or dominated by arrangements with electric guitar, electric bass and kit drums. Sculptor Josiane Vanhoutte’s bust of Lucy Loes was unveiled in August 2005 at Ostend’s Visserskaai.

Lucy Loes is the subject of an oral history project in preparation by Anke Van Vossole of the University of Louvain (Belgium).

For more about Lucy Loes in Flemish, visit Click on Meer foto’s van Lucy Loes op de Paulusfeesten for images of her.

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