Henk Weltevreden

Born: December 24th, 1951 - Maassluis (Netherlands)
Past Bands : Delta 66 (1966-67), Soul Session (1968), Plastic Fantastic Lover (1969-70), Red Balune (1976-78), Slipover (1979-82), Fads And Fallacies (1982-84), Random Bob (1984-86), Oddjob (1985)

A Short Bio:

Henk Weltevreden is, for most Canterbury music fans, at least a vaguely familiar name from album credits, interviews with various musicians who praised his concert promoting efforts, etc. But although he now favours writing and his active involvement in music belongs to the past, he has also had a very rich musical career throughout the seventies and eighties in his native Holland.

For Henk it all began in late 1967, when purely by chance he attended a Soft Machine gig at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. From then on his interest in music became central to his life. Around this time he formed his first band, the Traffic-influenced Delta 66 and some time later joined Soul Session and Plastic Fantastic Lover, playing organ.

A decisive meeting took place in late 1970 when, once again by chance, he saw a Kevin Ayers & The Whole World performance in Rotterdam. That night he met and started a friendship with saxophonist Lol Coxhill. Soon Henk started organising gigs and tours for Coxhill (solo or in trio format with Jasper van't Hof and Pierre Courbois), and was introduced by him to the rest of the Canterbury family, starting with Phil Miller, for whom he organised countless Dutch tours over the years - with DC & The MB's (July 1971), Hatfield and the North (March and June 1973, March and June 1974, April 1975), National Health (February and October 1977) and finally In Cahoots. Later connections led to similar services rendered to Henry Cow (December 1973, September 1974, May 1975 and April 1977), The Weightwatchers (September 1976), Elton Dean's Quartet (September 1977) etc.

In 1975, Weltevreden, who meanwhile had started travelling extensively around the world, an interest that has remained as strong to this day (he has so far visited 161 countries!), met ex-Henry Cow saxophonist Geoff Leigh, who was touring Holland with his current band, Radar Favourites. He organised further tours for that band, and its spinoff Rag Doll, until in December 1977 Weltevreden joined Leigh in his new venture, Red Balune (featuring bassist Colin McClure) one gig into their debut Dutch tour. That band toured extensively in Holland, and occasionally in Britain and Germany, and released a single, "Capitalist Kid" (1978), and an EP, "Maximum Penalty" (1979). [Some of this material has been included in a CD documenting Geoff Leigh's post-Henry Cow career, released on RéR USA]

In November 1979, having decided to slow down his activities as promoter, Weltevreden formed his own band, Slipover. This featured a line-up with dual keyboards - himself on organ and synth, and Willem Jan Droog -, string bassist Kees Meijlink (who also played the Stick), sax player Rutger van Otterloo, and drummer Gert van Seters. Slipover released a 33rpm EP in May 1980, and in April 1982, after the arrival of a new sax player, Peter van Bergen, recorded a full-length album which was never released.

Already during the Slipover period, Henk began working with texts on stage, reading them during instrumental pieces - texts about philosophy, music and philosophy, chance moments in music etc. He and Geoff Leigh even had a printed magazine, 'Random Art', which was given to members of the audience. "So more and more I became a writer. I'm always telling people that my writing career is an extension of composing and playing music...".

In November 1982, after leaving Slipover (which Willem-Jan Droog continued with a different line-up for a while), Weltevreden embarked on another, short-lived band venture, this time called Fads and Fallacies, whose line-up included guitarist Wim Pop, bassist Kees Meijlink (from Slipover), vocalist Margot Roelofs and drummer Frans Brobbel. Fads and Fallacies sadly never recorded, in spite of playing many gigs. It was briefly revived, with a new line-up (including ex-Slipover drummer Gert van Seters) between November 1983 and July 1984, after Henk came back from extensive travelling in Belize, Guatemala and Salvador.

Eventually, Henk came full circle by joining forces once more with Geoff Leigh. Random Bob was formed in August 1984, again featuring Colin McClure on bass, Ton Verbeek on drums and African percussionist Asad Oberoi. A tape, "Painting By Numbers", came out in early 1985, featuring improvisations recorded shortly after the formation of the band. Other tapes: "Equinox" and "Lubberdubs". Random Bob evolved into Oddjob, a variation of Random Bob featuring prestigious guests such as Phil Miller and Hugh Hopper, as well as second percussionist Tiki Eldridge (from Australia). Most notable was a four-date tour of the Netherlands in May 1985 by that line-up.

Other musical activities until Henk finally decided to quit music in 1988 (having finished his doctorate) included setting up and accompanying Richard Sinclair on a solo tour of Holland in April 1986. The pick-up band for the occasion included Wim Pop on guitar, Henk on keyboards and Coen Aalberts on drums.

By that time, Weltevreden had started work on his doctorate thesis in philosophy at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, which in 1988 led to the publication of his first book, entitled "Toeval als Gebeuren, My mask is my Master" (The Role of Chance in the Creation of Science, Art and Avant-Garde). The next year he left Holland to live in India for one year, working on a development project in Orissa (East India). In 1990-91 he lived in Boston, then Japan (organising tours via Virgin Music and the British Council), and worked in Changsha, communist PR of China (teaching philosophy) and Korea. During this period he still organised the odd tour for Phil Miller - In Cahoots in Japan (1991), and Miller-Baker in Lithuania and Russia (1992-93), also with help from the British Council.

Back in Holland 1993, he got a contract with a Dutch publisher, L.J.Veen, and became a novel writer. He has published the following books so far : "Levensvlagen" (1996), "De bril van Gandhi" (1998), "De Stier van Algeciras" (1999), "Mooi Meegenomen" (1999), "De Stralende Ster van Paekdu" (2000), inspired by his travel through North Korea. Henk's newest book, "Congo Blues" (2005), is an account of his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a theme that has a very personal resonance for Henk. "We have a Congolese girl, Ngudi, in our family", he explains. "She was born in Holland and has lived 7 of her 9 years in our family, and now the Duch government wants to send her 'back' to Congo, where she has never been. The reason : she is still 'illegal', and the Dutch governemnt has stopped giving permits to stay in many cases".

Henk has also produced many more small other publications and has contributed to various radio programmes for the VPRO, KRO, RVU and NPS.


Henk Weltevreden's published books:

  • "Toeval als Gebeuren, My Mask is my Master - The Role of Chance in the Creation of Science, Art and Avant-Garde" (Erasmus University, Rotterdam - 1988) [NB: the book opens with 'Why are we sleeping?']
  • "Levensvlagen" (Uitgeverij Aspekt - 1996)
  • "De bril van Gandhi" (Bureau Obelon - 1998)
  • "De stier van Algeciras" (L.J.Veen, Amsterdam/Antwerp - 1999) [NB: the title story 'De stier (bull) van Algeciras' is based on 'Don Alfonso', sung by Lol Coxhill on his album 'Ear Of The Beholder', and the story 'Verkeerde beweging' is based on 'Wrong Movements', the biography of Robert Wyatt]
  • "Mooi meegenomen" (L.J.Veen, Amsterdam/Antwerp - 1999)
  • "De Stralende Ster van Paekdu - a trip through North Korea" (The Shining Star of Paekdu) (L.J.Veen, Amsterdam/Antwerp - 2000)
  • "Het Grote Water" (SKVR Schrijversschool, Rotterdam - 2001)
  • "Congo Blues" (RVU, Hilversum - 2005)
  • More web-information:

  • www.henkweltevreden.nl
  • www.boekenwereld.com (type author: 'Weltevreden', and you will find the publications)
  • www.vpro.nl/noordkorea (his work at the VPRO national radio, Hilversum)
  • www.rvu.nl/berichten/weltevreden.html (his work at the Radio Volks Universiteit, national radio, Hilversum)
  • www.skvr.nl - click: 'Schrijversschool' and search for 'reisverhalen' (information about his teachings, writings etc.)