Pierre Kartner

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Pierre Kartner
Pierre Kartner
Pierre Kartner in 2007
Background information
Birth name Petrus Antonius Laurentius Kartner
Also known as Father Abraham
Born (1935-04-11) 11 April 1935 (age 83)
Elst, Netherlands
Genres Levenslied, Schlager
Occupation(s) Musician, Songwriter, Composer, Record producer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1962–present
Labels Dureco
Associated acts Wilma Landkroon, The Smurfs, Corry & de Rekels,
Website Official site

Petrus Antonius Laurentius "Pierre" Kartner (born 11 April 1935)[1] is a Dutch musician who sings under the stage name Vader Abraham (Father Abraham), and who has written around 1600 songs.[1]

Early life[edit]

Kartner started his singing career at the age of eight, by winning a local festival.[2] He lived with his family in Amsterdam and worked in a chocolate factory.[1]


Kartner worked as a promoter and producer at record label Dureco with Annie de Reuver, who he played with in Duo X.[1] Together with the band Corry & de Rekels he sold over 1 million records in the 1960s.

He created his well-known alter ego, Father Abraham, after writing a Dutch Carnival song, Father Abraham had seven sons. He at first used a fake beard, but a real beard replaced this and would remain his trademark along with his bowler hat.

With Wilma Landkroon he sang the Dutch 1971 number one hit single Zou het erg zijn, lieve opa.

Several times, Kartner made music that was argued to have either a racially motivated or otherwise a right-wing belief. He recorded for example, as a reaction to the oil crisis of 1973, a song with the right-wing politician Hendrik Koekoek Den Uyl is in den olie in which they blame the social democratic president Joop den Uyl and "the Arabs". In the carnival season of 1975, he published Wat doen we met die Arabieren hier; parts of the song translate to: "What are we to do with the Arabs here?/They can't be trusted/With our fair women here.“ The song has been taken out of circulation. [3] In 1976, he proclaimed in the song Het leger der werklozen (An army of unemployed) that jobless people are just sitting in the pubs drinking all day. In 2002, he recorded Wimmetje gaat, Pimmetje komt with right-wing populist Pim Fortuyn.

The little café by the harbour[edit]

In 1975, Kartner scored his second biggest hit, Het kleine café aan de haven ("The little café by the harbour"). This song has since been covered over 250 times in various languages.[2]
English cover versions include The Little Cafe By The Harbour by Engelbert Humperdinck, My Favourite Cafe On The Harbour by Audrey Landers and The Red Rose Café, done by Demis Roussos as well as The Fureys. In French the song was recorded as Le café de la Rue d'Amérique by Mireille Mathieu and Le café des trois Colombes by Joe Dassin, and in German as Die kleine Kneipe by Peter Alexander.


In May 1977, Kartner was asked to make a promotional song about The Smurfs. The record company pressed only 1,000 copies of the single, called "The Smurf Song", since they were unsure about the single's success. However, they were all sold within one day at a Schlager festival. After a repress, 400,000 singles were quickly sold. A full Smurfs album was then created, which also climbed the charts, with 500,000 copies sold. The album was released in several dozen countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Sweden, and in various different languages. The album scored a number one hit in 16 countries. Subsequently, Kartner released other Smurf-themed albums, again in various countries and languages, such as Ga je mee naar Smurfenland (Dutch) and Vater Abraham im Land der Schlümpfe (German). In all, Kartner's Smurf works have sold around 25 million copies.[2]

Later career[edit]

In 1981 Kartner recorded a song about Wuppies (Weepuls), Wij zijn de wuppies ("We are the Weepuls"), but this did not repeat the success of his Smurfs hit.[4] Kartner wrote the music for the opening and closing credits on the Japanese cartoon adaption of the 1990 TV series, Moomin. He also sang a song about politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002[5] and wrote "Ik ben verliefd (Shalalie)", the Dutch entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2010.[6]

Kartner won the BUMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.[7]


  • "Zo Is Het Leven" / "Rosalina"

Personal life[edit]

Kartner lives in Breda with his wife Annie.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Strop, Jan-Hein (7 July 2003). "Pierre Kartner, de meest succesvolle artiest aller tijden". MT (in Dutch). Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "Vader Abraham stopt over drie jaar". Trouw. 26 May 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  3. ^ van der Steen, Paul (30 February 2013). http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/5009/Archief/article/detail/3535606/2013/10/30/1972-Wat-doen-we-met-die-Arabieren.dhtml. Retrieved 4 February 2017.  Check date values in: |date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Vader Abraham wil meedelen in wuppiesucces". Nieuws.nl (in Dutch). 16 June 2006. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Bertens, Els (31 January 2002). "Vader Abraham maakt partijlied Leefbaar Nederland". 8 Weekly. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  6. ^ Bakker, Sietse (28 November 2009). "Pierre Kartner to write Dutch entry... in Dutch!". Eurovision Song Contest. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Buma-oeuvreprijs voor Vader Abraham" (in Dutch). NOS. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 

External links[edit]