Grand Jojo, the great Belgian icon, has taken his final bow


In Belgium, Grand Jojo was the guest of honour at all festive events. Among the many artists in our country, he was, along with Annie Cordy, the guarantor of good humour, the remedy against the gloom and drabness of the weather or the spirit.

Born on 6 July 1936 in Brussels, Jean Vanobbergen (his real name) represented a certain kind of Belgitude that is funny and good-natured.  After various jobs, it was when the artist began to perform atmospheric songs in the early 70s that the character of Grand Jojo was born. His mocking tone and razor-sharp Brussels accent could have won out over our national football coach, Raymond Goethals. And since we're on the subject of football, let's remember the success of "E viva Mexico"; some even claim that it was thanks to him that Belgium reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1998. And when our team appeared on the balcony of Brussels City Hall, it was also in a way a celebration of him.


Grand Jojo had many other songs to his credit. His drinking songs such as "On a soif", "Jules César" and "La petite bête à bon dieu" are particularly popular. But he also performed superb tangos, such as "Victor le footbaliste" and "Sitting Bull".


He was made a Knight of the Order of Leopold on 11 May 1998 in tribute to his talent and his embodiment of Belgitude. This legend of Belgian popular music passed away on 1 December 2021, at the age of 85. Farewell Jojo, you gave us some very happy times!