Review concert Kraayenhof Tango Ensemble on Bonaire

Carel Kraayenhof and his Tango Ensemble concerts were a great success.

On Fridaz 8th November the San Bernardo church was a veritable music temple. The Classical Music Board Bonaire organised a memorable school and evening concert.

550 children attended the school concert during which Carel and a few students of Violeta Rosario performed together a few pieces they had rehearsed the afternoon before. It was a delight to see how Carel united his own ensemble with the students.

The children were enthralled by the performances which Carel explained and Mevris Pijpers translated into Papiamento.

The evening performance was sold out. The church had been turned into a beautiful concert venue with palm trees, excellent sound facilities, atmospheric lighting and a large video screen so even the people in the back rows could see what was going on.

Argentine tangos written by Astor Piazzolla created their own special emotional atmosphere. The audience very generously showed their appreciation.

The ensemble was a wonderful example of unity and individual virtuosity giving great power, strength and emotion to the music. The Argentinian pianist Juan Pablo Dobal drew much attention with his elegant and technically perfect playing. Bert Vos, the lead violinist was equally amazing and of course Carel with his natural charm and humilty was a joy to watch and listen to. From the way he played the Bandoneon it is clear why he is world famous. The sensitive melodies and Carels playing showed off the versatility of the instrument.  Carel has himself composed many tangos and he treated us to a few of his own compositions, where even his hometown in the Netherlands inspired him to write.

The audience was so appreciative that a few encores were given. The committee members of the Classical Music Board were asked if they could organise more such concerts and use the church as venue. It is hoped that a good start has been made in developing a fruitful relationship with the church.

On saturday 14 December there will the traditionele December Holiday Concert.

The CMBB thank all of its sponsors, The Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds Caribisch Gebied and its many friends for making it possible to hold classical concerts on Bonaire. Please do support us and check out our website




Review concert Kraayenhof Tango Ensemble on Curacao

recensie Curacao

Curaçao – Amigoe newspaper, Monday 04 November 2013 (page 6)

‘Bandoneonist’ strikes Curaçao in the heart


The bandoneón player who brought queen Maxima to emotional tears during her wedding with the Argentine tango ‘Adiós Nonino’ is in Curaçao. Carel Kraayenhof gave a concert last Saturday together with his Sexteto Canyengue at the ballroom of the Santa Barbara Resort.


Songs from internationally known composers such as Astor Piazzolla, Carlos Gardel and Alex North were played as well as own compositions from Kraayenhof and from his piano player, Juan Pablo Dobal. A total of seventeen musical pieces were ‘served’ to the audience in a mix of different influences, origins and time periods. An abundance of music styles and moments in time were presented where, certainly, the Argentine tango was the highlight. Kraayenhof explained the origins of the bandoneón and its functionality. During the Second World War period most of the bandoneóns were ruined by the Nazi-Germans, but some made it by boat to Argentina where the instrument was ‘reborn’ and grew to be a national pride. “This is not an accordion. An accordion has chords, that is not how this instrument works. Here, both sides of the instrument must be played, and that is quite difficult. Honestly either you have to be totally drunk or extremely sober to be able to play the bandoneón… in which state I am in right now I am not going to tell you”, joked Kraayenhof. He also spoke about the well-known composer Gardel, who passed away in 1935 in a plane crash. Gardel played in Curaçao just before his accident. Gardel also discovered Piazolla, who was back then still too young and was not allowed by his father to tour with Gardel. “If he had indeed joined Gardel on tour, I would have never met Piazolla”. The bandoneón player patched more Curaçao and our local culture in his program by mentioning Tula’s history and by playing a piece of the Aruban composer Rufo Wever. A highlight of emotions was during in the encore, when the Sexteto Canyengue played a beautiful version of ‘Atardi Korsou ta Bunita’. Many in the audience allowed the words of this song escape through their lips. With this tribute to one of our local anthems the Dutch bandoneón player stroke our hearts and was embraced by the audience. Last weekend’s concert in Curaçao was organized by Curaçaoan Kunstkring (cultural group) together with the Cultural Comité Fortkerk. Several sponsors played part on this event, including the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Caribbean Region.

Today a free school concert will take place and tonight Kraayenhof will play once again, this time at the Governor’s House in Punda. Tickets are still available at Mensing’s caminada.


Elodie Voorbraak