Netherlands mourns singer and composer Henny Vrienten's death at 73
Singer and composer Henny Vrienten passed away at the age of 73, his family announced via concert organizer MOJO on Monday. The news hit the Dutch entertainment industry hard, with various broadcasters adjusting their programming to honor the Doe Maar frontman.
Vrienten had been ill for some time. His funeral will be held privately. His family asked for peace and privacy during this time and will not make any further announcements.
Henny Vrienten was a versatile composer, guitarist, and pianist. But he was best known as the frontman of Doe Maar. The legendary band, formed in 1978, unleashed a real craze in the Netherlands with their typical sound - a mix of ska, punk, and reggae. Songs like Doris Day, Is dit alles, De bom, 1 Nacht alleen, and Pa were major hits. The band caused hysterics among their mostly teenage fans when it announced it was breaking up in 1984. Their comeback tour in 2000 was very popular.
In September last year, Doe Maar announced its farewell tour would be canceled due to Vrienten's poor health. The tour had previously been postponed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic. The last time the band performed across the country was in 2018, when they celebrated their 40th anniversary with the club tour Er verandert NIX.
Vrienten also released several solo albums, including Paul Santos, Geen ballade, Aardige jongens, Vreemde Kostgangers, and Nachtwerk, the last two with George Kooymans and Boudewijn de Groot. His latest album, Tussen de regels, was released in 2019. He also wrote music for various films and television programs, including Left Luggage, Abeltje, De ontdekking van de hemel, Het Klokhuis, and Sesamstraat.
"Henny Vrienten gave Doe Maar wings," music connoisseur Leo Blokhuis said in reaction to the musician's death. According to Blokhuis, Vriente's entire oeuvre is characterized by "great musical insight," and the composer remained "extraordinarily trendsetting."
Employees of MOJO are "all devastated" by the news of Vriente's death, the concert organizer said in a statement. "With great warmth and pleasure, we think back on the countless beautiful moments we could experience with Henny over the years," MOJO said. "We wish his family, friends, fellow musicians, and fans a lot of strength with this great loss."
NPO, Radio 10, and Veronica adjusted their programming due to Vrienten's death. Radio 10 played a Doe Maar song every hour and did a Doe Maar Top 5 on Monday evening. On Monday afternoon, Radio Veronica played Vrienten's music in De Bonanza.
The NPO paid attention to the singer and composer on television and radio. It broadcasted the VPRO program On Stage in which Vrietnen was a guest star last year, as well as a 2019 episode of Uur van de Wolf in which the singer and his son appeared. The radio stations paid attention to the singer's death "each in their own way," a spokeswoman said.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.