A short autobiography

I always loved music. When I was a small kid, I was fascinated by the banjo. I even tried to make one when I was about four years old. A little bit too ambitious… I had to wait till I had enough money to buy a real one from the money I saved from my paper round.

There was one problem; I didn't know the difference between a four- and a five-string banjo. Even after studying all my Dubliners record sleeves! The decision had to be made on the spot; The music store had both banjos in stock and the 4 string banjo was cheaper…

It turned out to be a good choice, and I practiced like mad to learn more tunes. When I was fifteen, I met two guys busking on the street in the town of Nijmegen. They told me of their plan to travel to Ireland in the summer. That was a first of many trips to Ireland by boat and train or bus. That summer we played in lots of sessions in Dublin, Galway and ended up at the 2nd Lisdoonvarna Festival. Back home we continued playing music together for years.

Although my main interest was Traditional music, I became more and more used to backing songs. So I ended up playing with quite a few singers.

A few people very important to me, because I spend a lot of time making music and travelling with:

Roundabout 1981 I met up with Martyn Travis. We decided to take up music professionally, witch meant playing in the tiniest of places we never heard of, all around Holland. Later on we ventured out to Germany and expanded our band with bass and keyboards etc. There were some highlights too; a big Irish festival where we played among the Dubliners, De Dannan ,Oisin and Christy Moore. That was such a thrill! Also we made some great trips to Ireland and went to the States a couple of times where we joined a Chicago-based band called Baaltinne.

In 1985 I started to work for Hampe en Berkel music store on the Spui in Amsterdam. Francie Conway moved to Amsterdam around that time. We started playing together and made many trips abroad. Especially our trip to Australia was unforgettable. Through Francie I also met a lot of interesting people; Francie knows everybody!

Since 1997 I have been playing with my great friend Danny Guinan. Especially the first few years we had a very busy schedule of a 100+ gigs a year! We played with bass player Ronald de Jong and accordionist Onno Kuipers. We were later joined by Janos Koolen. Danny gave up music temporarily last year and is slowly getting back to playing music again.

At the moment I am busy playing with the trad. band Fling. I also play in a band backing up singer Clementine and started up a new project called Andar.