Shivering on My Legs: The Five Faces of Henny Frentein


It is engraved in the collective audience, sentences like: “Don’t knock on me, my door is closed. Let me sleep once or I’ll die.” Or: “I haven’t become what you want, but Dad, listen. I do the things I do and close my eyes.”

Go in your native language. The charts may now be full of it, from hip-hop, synth-pop to inhaker, but for a long time pop music was convinced that singing in Dutch was too angular and difficult for songs. It’s very straightforward, very light, and simple. Or just pomp, quite different from the wonderful roundness of English songs where everything seems to fit together easily and the sentiment can be described much better.

The song 32 jaar, composed and sung by Henny Vrienten, became Doe Maar’s first successful hit in 1981. More hits “Doris Day”, “Is Dit Alles”, “De Bom” and “Pa One Night Only” followed. Not the song of life. With Doe Maar, love of ska and reggae and straightforward lyrics, Vrienten proves that Nederpop can be hip. And tangible. And certainly overrated and exaggerated. In love? On the world, politics calls out: “Pretend your nose is bleeding.” They became famous singers who didn’t bend over to choose their subject, capturing the stubborn, burdensome feeling of the current generation, with a wink or a layer of sarcasm.

Doe Maar laid the foundation for Dutch pop music. Where popular singers and troubadours like Boudewijn de Groot never wanted anything else, countless pop artists were gradually inspired later on. From somewhat soft cabaret style to rap with catchy R&B choirs.

Frentine herself began to reflect and think more about solo albums. The ego paused for a moment, and the heart opened sadly. About how friendship can falter. about forgetfulness. Or the relaxation he found when he searched for animals in the clouds in a hammock. (AK)

2 ska henny

Pre-Doe But there were few indications that Henny Vrienten would develop into the greatest champion in reggae and SKA in the Netherlands. As Robbie Carmichael and Paul Santos, he has done traditional English pop songs. As a songwriter for others, he wrote Christmas songs for The Cats and the tearjerker ‘Moeder Wat Is ‘t een Herrie’ (Melchior, 1980). Soon after contributing to the Dutch punk classic “I Dunno” with Sammy America’s Gasphetti, revivals of groups such as Madness and The Specials emerged from England. Vrienten went on to research the source and developed a lifelong love for ska music for Toots & the Maytals and dub reggae for producer Lee Berry.

In the early days of Doe Maar, it was Ernst Jansz who introduced calypso and reggae on the debut album, which was produced without Henny Vrienten. When Vrienten joined Doe Maar, it was on a condition that the band focus on ska, and less emphatically reggae. The first singles ’32 Jaar’ and ‘Smoorverliefd’ bore Vrienten’s signature for ska, as did the bass parts that he cleverly affixed to his vocals. after album Doris Day and other parts With ‘Is Dit Alles’ and Bob Marley bassman Ashton ‘Family Man’ Barrett influenced ‘Distraught’, Vrienten took his love of reggae a step further with the dub album Is the double (1982).

After a nod to Gregory Isaacs’ “Night Nurse” on “Nachtzuster” and the big reggae band for “Dance Music” on Reunion Album Been completed In his solo work, Henny Frentin increasingly distanced himself from Jamaican influences. “We borrow that music,” he said in 2019, and “you can’t keep playing music from another culture for the rest of your life.” Vrienten drew on reggae from the new vibe of Dingetje (‘Ik Ga Weg Leen’) and brought respect to a type of music that has since belonged to the Dutch-speaking pop musician’s board, with Kenny B being the main carrier of the music. (dry)

3 Henny as a style icon

When Doe Maar started, reggae was the band’s preferred style of music. It was hardly evident in the style of their clothes. Henny Frentin occasionally wore a yellow, green, and red striped band around his wrist, but other than that most Rasta paraphernalia of the time (knit hats and casual clothes) were absent. Although one trait is honored, namely the love of herbs and the smell of joints.

Their appearance was inspired by the new wave of British and Dutch musicians of the time. Vrienten shirts, with cut-out sleeves – so that the shoulders are well accentuated – were already popularized by Herman Brood. The denim jacket, also with cut-out sleeves, belongs to the punk.

Henny Vrienten was the most extravagant member of the Doe Maar. His jeans were skinny, pointed cowboy boots, and he also added something unique to the jacket: a turn-down collar, for example. At concerts, he wore a bandage around his forehead which is often referred to as a sweat band, but it was a knotted, self-cutting strip of cloth. More stylistic than functional.

Vrienten was also the most androgynous of the band members: he had a semi-casual haircut, wore eye make-up and sometimes a loose-fitting jacket of blue glow.

This is how Henny Vrienten has grown into a fashion icon. Mainly for young fans like him, they cut their hair (apart from a thin braid in the back). Later, Vrienten’s style was all over the place. The album cover had a huge impact skunk (Another word for Dutch weed), from 1981. The coat is divided diagonally in fluorescent green and fluorescent pink. The effect of fluorine was known at the time for punks, socks and accessories. distance skunk Colors suddenly appeared everywhere: from T-shirts to shoes, posters, hats, school diaries and buttons (round pins) with which young people of that time expressed their taste in music. It turned out to be a pink-green necklace. (HC)

4 Henny the heroes

From childhood nostalgia to a state of epic proportions. The Doe Maar frenzy of the ’80s was totally out of proportion – akin to mass hysteria of screaming girls in pink-green buttons that no band can come up with. It was intimidating, according to Henny Vrienten and the rest of Doe Maar – pop idols of teenage girls who were only in their thirties. They also had great difficulty singing young girls to their adult songs (“You’re chasing your dick”).

The band disbanded in 1985. Edit. “A picture of me was created, and it’s an image that no longer has anything to do with myself,” Henny Frentine said. Norwegian Refugee Council in 1992. “The older that picture got, the less I needed to fill it in. When it was over, I just wanted to leave. Out of the spotlight, out of the spotlight.”

Frentine has always felt uneasy about popularity. It was an evil fetish. The role of the handsome boy on the label: No. Fame tally: massive. In a TV show broadcast summer guests In 2012 he called himself a “pop star out of nothing”. Being a pop star was such an abstract career anyway, he thought it was a little silly.

Preferably in the shade. The process of making songs was important to him. Frentine believed in craftsmanship as a composer for films and Sesame Streetand later also as a solo artist, he chose the time to release his albums himself.

He felt more comfortable in the excitement of Doe Maar reunions, from 2000 onwards. Belated appreciation of their music felt so useful and was more relaxed with “The Band”. He told the NRC newspaper that the weight of the years is over. “Play makes you a boy! Until you see yourself in the mirror on your way to the toilet and think: Who is this guy again?” (AK)

5 Henny the composer

Henny Vrienten will live on as Doe Maar’s number one man, but has devoted most of his life to “Commissioned Music”. He has composed nearly two hundred children’s songs, two full-length musicals, and more than ninety soundtracks for films such as without leaving a traceparadise discoverysony boy† Often had cameos in those films, for example as mariachi in Abel

“Vlieg Met Me Mee”, from the Abeltje soundtrack, sung by Trijntje Oosterhuis and written by Vrienten:

Composer Vrienten had a preference for simple, clear arrangements and catchy melodies. Moreover, its sheer scale is striking. He easily switched between many genres, usually different genres of music to light music styles such as polka, waltz, jazz, bossa nova, and chanson. Vy said he often set them in tune with “tones from the past.” Norwegian Refugee Council In 2014: “Three notes and I know it. Everything I heard is stored somewhere.” And he liked to mix in a dash of sarcasm, as he did with de Mar.

You can hear it especially in the 140 songs he wrote for her Sesame Street† It’s contagious, you can sing along right away. It is often reminiscent of his great predecessor Harry Bannick, although Frentine uses more percussion and other pop elements. The rhythm of reggae swings regularly, which made Doe Maar popular. In 2018, he gave a children’s party in Paradiso with the best songs from the nursery program. In a YouTube video from de Volkrant Watch him train. The actors immediately take on roles in Ieniemienie, Tommy and Pino. In the video, Vrienten expresses his preference for singing actors: “They can flawlessly bring a script into the spotlight. Everything is very clear and there is a storyline associated with the song at once. They play such a song as a character. “

“We Have a Gas Stove in the House,” with Caro Emerald, by Frentine:

His children’s songs often stayed under two minutes, with his acclaimed musicals an entire evening. Here too it is eclectic and nostalgic, here too Bannink is never far away. to Cesc de Rat (2007) delivered, among other things, Jordan’s organ-quality songs, big band beats, a muscular protest song in the style of Brecht and Weil, and the march of a holding soldier. to petticoat (2010), also co-created with writer Andre Breedfield, immersed himself in the light-hearted, light-hearted pop of the 1950s, predating Elvis. “Magic is dripping,” said the NRC.

Frentine appreciated his composition as a nine-to-five work, far from the limelight. He told NRC in 2016: “Songwriting cuts and pastes to me. You can be very romantic about it, but sometimes songwriting feels suspiciously like work.” Compare that to how his father, a carpenter, worked endlessly on a chair: “It’s a craft, not much more.” (Weight)

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