Let me tell you something about myself. I was born in Paramaribo Surinam . I was blessed with a very happy childhood in the land of the Kaseko music. At the age of 12, I started to play the bassguitar with some friends, we were trying to copy guitar bands like “The Shadows” and “The Ventures”, we all wanted to play the guitar, because none of us could sing.

gitaar gat               kleine maracas           Robby strand

Meanwhile I was getting more and more influenced by the soul music that was playing on the radio and I was very happy to be a stand in bass player in the soul band of my cousin.
Then my friends decided to play hindu music, and so my first gig in a sold out big theatre was playing music from India….
What really changed my life, was meeting classical guitar player Robby Favery .He introduced me to his father who gave me classical guitar lessons.

gitaar en bloem
In the year 1969 I got the chance to come to Holland and attend the Royal conservatory in the Hague .there I studied with Pereira Arias and later with Jan Goudzwaard. I studied classical music for four years, but then there was this cultural clash inside my head.. Getting homesick I wanted to play and explore the kaseko music more. And so I started to play with kaseko bands like “The Rythmmakers” and also with other bands from different musical directions like “Ritmico especial” leaded by Jan Helder. I also got interested in ethnic music from all over the world, and searched in music libraries for material. Of course I was also influenced by jazz music. I took some lessons from Joop Scholten, and bought American studiebooks.
In the late seventies I was making a living, playing nightclubs all over Europe in different formations. I played in clubs, hotels, on cruises and in ski resorts etc.. etc.. These years gave me a lot of experience.. But. I wanted to play own compositions.
Together with singer Erwin Bouterse We formed the “Rutu band” and we made some strange but nice compositions, a mixture of kaseko, pop and jazz .With this band we successfully travelled former Yugoslavia.
I also played in a show orchestra “Dutch Rhythm and Steelband” and had a lot of fun… In the mid eighties, I was very pleased when my old friend Ronald Snijders (flute player and composer) asked me to join him, doing educational school concerts as a duo. We did a lot of concerts in Holland and abroad (not only school concerts) and we had very long talks about life while driving or flying to these gigs. Later he also asked me to join his band, in witch I play until now. It was Ronald who also inspired me to take the first step of recording my first CD.
I met singer Thoko Mdlalose from South Africa around 1985, she settled in Holland after working with Stevie Wonder and Mongo Santamaria, and I was very glad to play in her band for a few years.
You can also listen to her beautiful voice on my first CD (the track “Yebo uthando”) where she sang the choir with her sister Thandi

In the beginning of the eighties I was also influenced by poetry, this was because my friend Paul Middellijn, asked me a lot to accompany him on his beautiful poems. Later Paul made the switch to storytelling, and until now I am accompanying Paul all over the world with my guitar. We performed at universities like the university of Legon in Ghana and Blackmore university in Philadelphia U.S.A. but also in kindergartens in Sweden, the Antilles, storytelling festivals and workshops in Spain and Austria, Theatre tours in Switzerland, too much to mention, also educational work in the interior of Surinam. Paul also introduced me in 1991 to sax player Keimpe de Jong, who was looking for a composer with Surinam roots for a special project .I composed the poetry suite wich I also recorded on my first CD (in another arrangement) Then I found out that Keimpe was also playing in a band together with multi reed player Klaas Hekman called “Nazaten van prins Hendrik”. I liked this band because they had no particular musical style. They played music from all over the world and sometimes used very crazy arrangements. We started calling it “Bastaardmusic” After I joined them we did some very nice tours in Holland and other countries like Portugal etc.. We even went to Surinam in 2002 where we did crossover projects with a Kawina group and a Gamelang ensemble. We also used one of my compositions as part of a project to play with the military and the police bands from Surinam, together in one big jam. This was a great honour for me. Sometimes I also compose for “the Nazaten” and they allow me to be very free in my writing.
In the spring of 2003, I had a pleasant surprise, I was asked to arrange some of my compositions for two classical guitars, and to play them together with guitar virtuoso Stanley Noordpool. It was a very nice project, and at the concert Robby Favery (I had not seen him for 30 years) joined us in the finale.
At this time I am very busy, but I have to make some more time for my own band, because after my second CD, I had no time even to promote it.
I produced two CD’s under my own name, “Different realities” in 1995 and “A prayer for peace” in 2001.
I play with different musicians on the tracks, because I love the difference in musical timing.
I received many requests to play my own compositions in concert again.
That’s why I was very glad when flute player and friend Bart Platteau offered me his help on making a website. Bart is a great flute player and besides teaching at the conservatory of Rotterdam you can hear him not only on my CDs, but also on the many CD’s of his wife Amina Figarova.
A person with whom I also play for fun and laugh a lot is Dana Fung Loi.
And of course, there are other music friends like Glenn Weisz, Dino Walcott and a lot more. Trough the years I also had the opportunity to play , compose or record occasionally with artists, such as:
Barbara Lynn, Solomon Burke .Oscar Harris, Thoko Mdlalose, James Carter, Spok frevo orchestra, Toninho Ferragutti, Ruth Jaccot, Denise Jannah, Anita Meijer, Big John Russell, The Dolly Dots, Amina Figarova, Carlo Jones, Max Nijman, Johnny Miranda, Eddy Veldman, Rosa King, Cesar Zuiderwijk, Hans Dulfer, Candy Dulfer, Matt Mathews, Freek de Jonge, Gerda Haverton, Jurgen Rayman, Jan Akkerman, Jarmo Hoogendijk, Curtis Knight, Phillip Harper, the Twinkle stars, the Happy boys, Orlando Seymonson, and many, many more…

My next goal is to make a CD with healing music….because I believe in the healing power of music.