Renaud Crols

Violinist and piano player Renaud Crols mainly plays in gypsy swing circles but just as well in productions involving Bach or Balkan beats, and is even a welcome guest on the boogie-woogie scene.

19.01, Djangofolllies @ River Jazz Festival (Marni) 
Renaud Crols avec Roby Lakatos & Biréli Lagrène


Who is… Renaud Crols?

Renaud Crols (°1983) obtains the first prize for violin at the Royal Conservatory in Liège. At the beginning, he focuses on classical chamber music.
However, when he first comes into contact with the traditional Balkan music, he becomes fascinated by this culture and also, over time, his interests shift towards jazz and more specifically the gypsy style.

The group which he pays particular attention to for the moment is Les Violons de Bruxelles including violin players Tcha Limberger and Alexandre Tripodi, bassist Samuel Gerstmans and guitarist Renaud Dardenne. They bring a rousing mixture of gypsy jazz and Brazilian chorro with ample attention to the work of Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club de France.

Previously, he works with the most diverse musicians. So, for instance, he tours around Europe with the world-famous Romanian group Taraf de Haïdouks and performs during an international tour alongside Bert Cornelis (sitar) and Partha Mukherjee (tabla).
Very much in line with the last trio, there is also Sitardust with Joachim Lacrosse (sitar), Carlo Bourguignon  (percussions) and Raphaëlle Brochet (vocals). Here, the focus is on cross-pollination between Belgian and Indian music.

He even appears several times in the line-up of Renaud Patigny’s boogie-woogie festival. In 2016, he will do it again, this time alongside none other than Pierre-Alain Volondat.

Fabrizio Cassol (Aka Moon) requests his services for the recording of his album ‘Strange Fruit’ (Blue Note) as well as for ‘Pitié!’, a dance and theatre production by Alain Platel around Bach music.

He hits the stage with DJ Gaetano Fabri at Couleur Café in 2012 where he sets off a huge party on Balkan Beats rhythms.

With Belgian guitarist Benjamin Clément, he not only forms a duo but also, only recently, a trio in company of Renaud Dardenne.



What is…

... your favourite spot in Brussels?

Even though, as every musician nowadays, I go to the Bravo once in a while, I will pick La Samaritaine. It is a small, intimate club where you have a special bond with the audience. For musicians, it is definitely a bonus. You get an immediate response. You can talk to them and reveal yourself as if you were playing at home or in your family circle. You find yourself as it were in a kind of cosy cocoon. And most importantly, there is of course Huguette’s personality, the lady who has embodied La Samaritaine for decades.


… the last CD or album you bought for yourself?

A few months ago, I was giving a concert in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. In the hall, there was a small record stall with a lot of compilation CDs of the excellent label Frémeaux. Going through all the stuff, I found one by pianist Teddy Wilson. Besides the violin, I also play the piano, but fewer people know it. I love stride, a style which slightly varies from swing.


… your fondest memory of a recent concert?

It is the concert by bassist Avishai Cohen at the Roma in Antwerp. He managed to pull the entire audience into his world. And surely, he brings it all in an extremely professional way and there is probably little room for improvisation but nonetheless, the guy has a unique sound. A musician who creates his own universe, that’s what really interests me.
You cannot force a style, it comes naturally. You are continuously influenced by a whole lot of things. Your entire path through life arises directly from it. Humour and the right connection with the audience are equally, if not more important to me. There has to be a connection. Sometimes, musicians tend to forget it once they are on stage because they are focused on their music. Real performers, such as magicians, grasp the importance of the link with the audience only too well.


… your favourite quote of the moment?

It is more a situation than a quote: it is the biggest fraud of all times which lets people believe they can heal and get healthy again by taking toxic substances. You only have to read the information leaflet for any drug. Three quarters of the text are about the harmful side effects. I am absolutely disgusted by the manipulation of the pharmaceutical industry, all governmental authorities and organisations which are directly and indirectly related. It is all about the power of money. There are many people around me who are sick, sometimes because of poor eating habits, but most of all because of misleading information and because they swallow toxic medication which destroys their body and often even causes other diseases.
I have devoted myself to the subject and I try to make people aware as much as possible. In this respect, I can only recommend people to read the following websites:,,
And believe me, all of this is substantiated by scientific evidence. Numerous studies have been published. It is a crying shame that people take toxic substances to allegedly treat and heal themselves. Chemotherapy is the most striking example in this respect. You poison yourself to get cured. It is the same as getting rid of weeds in your garden with napalm. And yes indeed, you kill the weeds but the rest too.