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Toots 100. The Sound of a Belgian Legend.

Great news for jazz fans! In 2022, KBR and the mim will celebrate Toots Thielemans' 100th birthday with an exhibition entitled 'Toots 100. The Sound of a Belgian Legend'. From 22 April 2022 until 31 August 2022, visitors can enjoy an immersive exhibition at KBR in which sound and music play the leading role. The exhibition is part of the Toots Year 2022, an initiative of The Legacy of Toots Thielemans Association in collaboration with the Private Toots Thielemans Foundation and Visit Brussels. 

A beacon in the international jazz world

On 29 April 2022, Toots Thielemans would have turned 100 years old. This Brussels native from the Marolles was an outstanding guitarist and one of the best harmonica players in the world. He played on stages all over the world. International stars such as Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee and Sting lined up to work with him. But no matter how far his international fame reached, Toots remained a Belgian at heart.

A collaboration between KBR and the MIM

Toots' personal archive is kept at KBR. Huguette Thielemans, Toots' wife, donated it to the library in two parts in December 2016 and January 2017. This particularly rich collection includes hundreds of sound recordings, photographs, press clippings, scores, books, letters and concert programs. It also includes cartoons, portraits of Toots, as well as trophies, diplomas, medals, prizes and awards. Sometimes humorous and folkloristic, they illustrate the eventful life of the musician. 

The MIM, a department of the Royal Museums of Art and History, preserves Toots' instruments. The collection contains instruments that Toots played on, including harmonicas, his very first guitar and an accordion that he used as a child. Other objects from the MIM are also shown in the exhibition (instruments, records, audio equipment, and documents...).

Together, the MIM and KBR have an impressive collection of never-before-published musical and visual material. They will present this heritage to the public in 2022 and also make it "heard".

Immersive expo

The exhibition 'Toots 100. The Sound of a Belgian Legend' will be much more than an overview of Toots' successful career. In this immersive exhibition, audio will play the leading role where visitors will be able to discover the true "Toots sound". What makes this sound so unique and what circumstances allowed Toots to develop it?

The curators of the exhibition are the musicologists Hugo Rodriguez (KBR), Vanessa Braekeveld (KBR) and Géry Dumoulin (MIM).

Spectacular location

The 18th-century Palace of Charles de Lorraine will be the unique setting for this special exhibition. "Toots 100. The Sound of a Belgian Legend" will be the second major exhibition to be held at KBR's renovated exhibition space.

The first exhibition was an award-winning one, which received the visit.brussels Award for "Most Noted Exhibition". The fact that KBR's last exhibition, "The World of Bruegel in Black and White" (2019), received an award for its contribution to the cultural and tourist appeal of Brussels, means the ambitions remain high for this exhibition. Visitors can once again expect a mix of discovery, exploration, listening and doing.

2022: Toots Year in Brussels

Brussels and Jazz are inextricably linked. Together with the Private Toots Thielemans Foundation, The Legacy of Toots Thielemans Association and Visit Brussels, we will make 2022 a real Toots Year with various activities and initiatives throughout the city. The Legacy of Toots Thielemans Association will gather and coordinate everything around this special Toots year and will be responsible for the general communication. KBR and the MIM are the organizers of the exhibition "Toots 100. The Sound of a Belgian Legend". The exhibition at KBR and a birthday concert in Bozar are the highlights of the festive year. Other events scheduled are the Brussels Jazz Weekend, the Brosella Festival and an international scientific symposium on Toots, which will be held at  KBR in May 2022.