The beginning Playing accordion Connection At work S.V.E.M. At home earlier At home now

"kleutertje luister"
My 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.

I remember coming home from kindergarten (just nextdoor) I heard music coming from our house. 
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 many others. 
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.

7 lonely days

Lable of "Seven Lonely Days" with chinese title underneath.



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.

True Love



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 talent.

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. 

Merry Mooches

You can click the photo to see it in large size.

My 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!

black Pete

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 photo).


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