Belgian band The Chakachas once toured the world


They’re hardly known in 2023, but from the ‘50s to the ‘70s, the Belgian music group The Chakachas attracted international attention. Half the world hummed along to Eso es el amor or had an opinion on the panting Jungle Fever.

Their composition is as Belgian as it gets. The seven- to eight-member group came from Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. And with a Cuban singer, even the international dimension was guaranteed. The creator and percussionist of The Chakachas was Gaston Bogaerts. Exciting Spanish sounds by gentlemen in exotic costumes brought a repertoire that was anything but typically Belgian. Like the earworm Eso es el amor (1958), Mucho Tequila (1960) or Pachanga (1961), to name but a few. Delicious Latin soul entertainment music that resounded in fancy concert halls and ditto hotels from Europe over Asia and Africa to the Americas. Eso es el amor reached 100,000 sales, good for gold. The first Belgian gold record was thus a fact.

In 1966, Gaston Bogaerts called it a day with The Chakachas to devote himself to his passion for painting. But in 1970, renowned Belgian producer Roland Kluger convinced him to return. Bogaerts christened the band's top single from 1972 Jungle Fever. A hit: 1 million copies sold, number 8 on the US Billboard 100, used as a soundtrack in the drama film Boogie Nights (1997), in a comedy series, a computer game ... and sampled by various groups in several hip-hop songs. Only in the UK was the cult hit banned by the BBC for obscenity due to all the moaning and panting.

Once again - and now forever - Gaston Bogaerts left The Chakachas. He retreated to his estate near Saint-Tropez, devoting himself entirely to painting. His paintings garnered success, both at some 200 exhibitions in Europe and in museum collections here and there.

A long rich life devoted to music and art came to an end after 101 years.