brother smiling at the camera and me listening to the radio.
I was born in Indonesia, on 10th of august
1949. At that time Indonesia was still Dutch, although the people of
Indonesia didn't feel it that way.
I agree with them for the
simple reason that during the second World War Indonesia was captured by the
Japanese who gave Indonesia its independance. It
was Holland who declared war on Japan (not the other way around!) and we
lost. So after the Second World War, when Japan had lost the war, the Dutch
wanted Indonesia back.
It took two local "wars",many lives, and some persuation
by the UN, to make the Dutch see that Indonesia should be independant.
At the time my parents and brother went to Indonesia in 1947 it was still
called "the Dutch Indies". But the Netherlands recognised
Indonesia's independence in december 1949, just a
few months after I was born.
We stayed untill 1956 and a few events were
important for my musical future.
remember coming home from kindergarten
(just nextdoor) I heard music coming from our
My parents had bought a grammophone and were
playing a record of Doris Day (I think it was Doris).
It was of course a 78 and my parents bought many more in the years after of
artists like Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Pee Wee Hunt, Patty Page and
I still have many of these records, some of them with a lable
in English and Chinese.
So I was raised with
music by the artists just mentioned. I still like most of the songs and
that is not just out of sentiment.
"Seven Lonely Days" with chinese title
I can not
remember this, but on this photo taken during a party in Bogor, Indonesia,
I am singing - it seems I am doing my very best because the other boy is
staring at me with amazement ;-)
The reason I show you
this photo is because in Amsterdam, at primary school, I sang too.
Later on I didn't like my voice and didn't sing anymore, but it comes back
now and then as you will see on this site.
An event I can remember was
when I played an instrument. Well, I had help from a man who held my hand to
beat the Gong. Yes, a gong was the first instrument I played as far as I can
remember. It made a deep impression on me, because I can remember it - and I
can remember very little of those years.
It was in a kampong (settlement) next to our house in Eastern Java, where we
moved to the last year we were in Indonesia. My brother played the beduk (drums) and I the gong.
I had help playing it, but my brother could really play the beduk because he liked drums.
The first movie I can remember seeing
(in Holland), was High Society (1956), with Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra,
Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and many more. It was a musical film but a
very good one and I still like it. The titlesong
is a fabulous song ("High Society Calypso") and so is "Now
you has Jazz" and of course "Who wants to be a millionair?"
But what really made a deep
impression on me was "True Love". Was it the music,
the romantic setting or both?
Picture Bing Crosby with
the beautifull Grace Kelly in a boat in the
moonlight; Bing Crosby playing a kind of accordion (bandoneon)
and singing "True Love" together with Grace. It was so
romantic! I loved the song and the romance and I knew then that I
wanted to play accordion. With my accordion I never could get Grace (or any
other girl) in a boat though.
At first I pretended to play
accordion ("air-accordion"), so my interest could hardly go
unnoticed. Here is a photo with such a moment. So an uncle of mine who had
a small accordion, lend it to me.
Within a short time I could play "True Love" and it seemed I had
My brothers musical interest
(and talent) and mine came from my father who was a drummer when he was
young. He was the youngest orchestra-leader in my country and mainly played
in the province called Noordholland. The
orchestra was called The Merry Mooches. The photo was taken in
Amsterdam at the hotel Krasnapolsky where they
performed in 1937.
You can click the photo
to see it in large size.
brother Gerard also wanted to play drums, but my father didn't want him to,
because you can not play it by yourself, you always
need other people to play drums - in those days anyway. So my father
persuaded my brother to choose another instrument. He went for the guitar.
That also meant that we had different interests in music: I went along with
the taste of my parents and my brother listened to country music and Rock and
Roll - well, he was 4 years my senior!
Soon I got my own
accordion, a gift from Sinterklaas - the Dutch
Santa Claus, who comes every year on the 5th of december
and has a lot of help from Zwarte Piet (Black
Pete). My brother was dressed as such a "black pete"
and brought me my accordion. Unfortunately on ths
photo my father forgot that my brother had a head too.
By Christmas I had my
accordion and my brother his guitar and on the photo here we are with my
mother and a christmastree. (Daddy took the