Henny Vrienten

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Henny Vrienten
Henny Vrienten (2017)
Henny Vrienten (2017)
Background information
Born (1948-07-27) July 27, 1948 (age 73)
Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
GenresSka, film score
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, bassist, composer
Associated actsDoe Maar, The Magnificent 7 [nl]

Henny Vrienten (born July 27, 1948) is a Dutch composer of TV and film scores. He is best known as the singer, songwriter, and bassist of the popular 1980s ska pop band Doe Maar.[1]


Early days[edit]

Vrienten began his career in the late 1960s as a member of local outfit Les Cruches. In the early 1970s he wrote songs for others and released his first single as Ruby Carmichael. In 1977 Vrienten released his debut solo album Paul Santos, which he recorded with US producer Tom Salisbury. Lift Me Up Higher was extracted as a single.

Doe Maar[edit]

Meanwhile, Vrienten began to work with singer-songwriter Boudewijn de Groot in the studio and on stage. While recording the 1975 album Waar ik woon en wie ik ben ('Where I live and who I am"), he met keyboard player Ernst Jansz and drummer Johnny Lodewijks. The latter suggested they form a reggae band. The Rumbones (Rumboon: Dutch alcohol-filled chocolate), led by the vocals of French Toots-soundalike Cris Lester, toured from October 13 to November 12, 1977 and split up immediately afterwards. Vrienten moved on to Sammie America's Gasphetti, recorded demos at his garage, and did another tour with de Groot. Jansz asked him to join his band Doe Maar, but Vrienten declined the offer, thinking that a Dutch-language group playing for fun would not survive. In 1980, he changed his mind after ending his relationship with his wife and her two teenage kids. Vrienten joined Doe Maar in time for the recording of their second album; he delivered three songs and co-designed the green/pink sleeve as the band's trademark colours.

The album Skunk was belatedly released in March 1981, 32 Jaar ("32 Years") being the lead single and becoming a hit. The follow-up Smoorverliefd ("Smitten") missed the Top 40, but with the 1982-released Doris Day, (a complaint against boring TV schedules), Doe Maar broke through and become key figures of the New Dutch Wave explosion. Initially they enjoyed their newfound popularity, but six months down the line doubts started to creep in.

In March 1983, by which time the fourth album Virus (4US), was released, Doe Maar announced a six-month publicity ban (i.e., no interviews and radio/TV appearances). This completely backfired as Doe Maar-mania grew even bigger.

In between tours of Belgium and the Netherlands Antilles, Henny recorded his first Dutch-language solo album, Geen Ballade, which he released in March 1984, a few weeks before Doe Maar played two farewell shows for live broadcast.

Instead of embarking on a solo tour, Vrienten decided to stretch himself by writing TV and film scores (notably the Dutch Sesame Street) and producing for other artists.

Solo career[edit]

From 1986 to 1991, Vrienten played oldies like Teddy Bear's Picknick with Magnificent Seven, whose members include singer/advert composer Fay Lovsky and unofficial fifth Doe Maar-member Joost Belinfante.

A new solo album was in the pipeline but held back by the release of a Best-of album; the expected Doe Maar revival never happened, and in early 1992, Mijn Hart Slaapt Nooit ("My Heart Never Sleeps") saw the light of day. As with Geen Ballade, the album received minimal promotion. At the end of the year, all Doe Maar members reunited to support the 1960s outfit CCC Inc. (featuring Ernst Jansz and Joost Belinfante) at their 25th anniversary concert. Only a few people noticed.

In the mid-1990s, a new generation of Dutch-language acts emerged, and Henny ended up collaborating with rap group Osdorp Posse.

Doe Maar: the reunion[edit]

In 1999, the four-piece rock band BLØF spent a whole tour playing Doe Maar tribute shows. Doe Maar members attended the show at the Amsterdam Paradiso and on November 1, 1999 they announced their reunion for one last album and a 25-date tour of the Netherlands and Belgium consisting of eight club shows, a record-breaking 16-night residency at the Rotterdam Ahoy, and a stadium show at the Antwerp Sportpaleis. Klaar ("Done") was released in April 2000; the band were finally acknowledged by the pop critics who had previously criticized them for singing in Dutch. The band continues to play occasional reunion shows.

Further collaborations[edit]

In 2008 Vrienten recorded an album with contemporaries Frank Boeijen and Henk Hofstede (frontman of The Nits). Aardige jongens ("Nice Guys") was promoted with a theatre tour; they performed the album as well as individual classics.

In 2010 Vrienten appeared in Ali B op volle toeren, a programme in which young Dutch rappers exchange songs with established artists. He contributed 32 Jaar Later ("32 Years Down the Line"), a sequel to the song that gave Doe Maar their first top 40 hit back in 1981.

In 2014 and 2015, he released two solo albums and went on tour, accompanied by his son Xander (Jett Rebel's bass-player at the time) and the three-piece-rock-band My Baby.

In 2016 Vrienten formed the supergroup Vreemde Kostgangers ("Strange Boarders") with Golden Earring guitarist George Kooymans and Boudewijn de Groot. They released two albums in 2017 and toured until March 2020.

In 2019, Vrienten and son appeared in a self-made documentary on bass-players; it was the sequel to 2013's Gitaarjongens which explored the joy of guitar-playing. Vrienten and son(s) became the artist(s) in residence on talkshow De Wereld Draait Door during its final season. A new solo album, Tussen de Regels ("Between the Lines"), was released by the end of September. Early 2020, his song-lyrics were collected in De Een is de Ander Niet (No Two Are Alike); Vrienten also became guest-editor for Soundz-magazine in celebration of its 5th anniversary; he chronicled every aspect of his career and reunited with his fellow-musicians from the sixties.



  • 1977 Paul Santos
  • 1984 Geen ballade
  • 1991 Mijn hart slaapt nooit
  • 2006 Nacht – De soundtrack
  • 2008 Aardige jongens
  • 2014 En toch...
  • 2015 Alles is anders
  • 2017 Vreemde Kostgangers
  • 2017 Nachtwerk





Studio albums with Doe Maar[edit]

  • 1981: Skunk (nl)
  • 1982: Doris Day & andere stukken (nl)
  • 1983: 4us (nl)
  • 2000: Klaar (nl)

Live albums with Doe Maar[edit]

  • 1983: Lijf aan Lijf (nl)
  • 1995: Het afscheidsconcert – Live in de Maaspoort 's-Hertogenbosch
  • 2000: Hees van Ahoy
  • 2012: Symphonica in Rosso 2012 (nl)

Dub albums[edit]

  • 1982: Doe de dub (dub version of the Doe Maar album 'Doris Day & andere stukken')
  • 1984: Hot Dub (dub version of the album 'Bamboo reggae' from Chris Hinze)

The Magnificent 7[edit]

  • 1990: The Best of the Worst

Raymond Van Het Groenewoud[edit]

  • 1985: Habba


  1. ^ Huff, Philip D. "Biography: Doe Maar". AMG. Retrieved May 15, 2010.