Denk Aan Mij
Willem Hendrikse was born on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao in the mid fifties. There he went to school and learned to play the piano and guitar. On the island both Papiamento and Dutch are widely spoken and also used in songs. The combination of Latin music with Dutch lyrics therefore, is not as strange as it sounds. On the contrary, it really works! After finishing High School Willem lived in Eindhoven (The Netherlands) for two years. Returning to Curaçao he studied to be a teacher in elementary school and at the same time took classes in classical and jazz guitar with Mr. Henk Kowsoleea. These classes became a major influence in his future playing style. During this time he played in hotels and bars around the island and organized live sessions with local as well as visiting rock and jazz musicians. He met the singer songwriter Marcel Philippi, with whom he started to write and perform songs with a strong folk and country and western flavour. This collaboration became another important influence in Willem's music. In 1978 Willem moved to the Netherlands for a second time. He was invited to play in a group called Conquistador, which at the time had two hit numbers, 'Argentina', the theme song for the World Cup television broadcasts in the Netherlands, and 'Aqua', another television theme song for a program called 'Te land, ter zee en in de lucht' (on land, at sea and in the air). He then went on to play in Ritmo Cubano, a formation started by the Eindhoven rock band Hot House to study and perform Cuban music. During this time he formed his own salsa orchestra, Mescalito. Willem never lost his fondness for country & western and rock music, so while continuing playing Latin music he started the country-rock band Jailbird. The name of the group was the title of a Kurt Vonnegut novel, one of Willem's favourite writers. In 1982 he returned to his native island for three years. He continued to perform with Jailbird, now a duo with singer songwriter Cora Philippi. While trying to restore jailbird to a full country-rock formation he met guitarist Nico Borger. That resulted in a series of country-rock and blues live sessions on a regular basis in café De Tempel in Willemstad under the name Lone Star Blues Band. After these three years, Willem returned to the city of Eindhoven. He began working as a solo-performer, singing country & western, Tex-Mex and Latin music under his stage name Enrique Rodríguez. In 1987 he started the group Trio Tres Hombres (Three Men). This formation was an instant hit and is still performing regularly all around Europe. Trio Tres Hombres was the nucleus of several of Willem's projects, like Mariachi Los Gavilanes (a Mexican mariachi band), Tipiko Divi Divi (a group playing traditional music from Curaçao) and Corazón Latino (Latin, Italian and Tex-Mex music). With these groups he recorded several albums. In 2009 Tres Hombres was renamed Conjunto Río Bravo, more appropriate because one of the new members is a woman. Around the year 2000 Willem started recording his own music. This resulted in a digital recording and mastering studio, the WHR Studio. 'Denk aan mij' was recorded there.