Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Henar, Vincent, bassist; b. Paramaribo, Suriname, 1958. He's the founder of Fra Fra Sound in Amsterdam in 1980, and Fra Fra Big Band in 1990. He studied bass and music-theory with private teachers and studied different music-styles in Suriname, the Caribbean and West-Africa. He's played with Lou Blackburn's Mombasa, Bob Stewart, Hans Dulfer and Nedley Elstak.
Since the foundation in Amsterdam, in the early eighties, various musicians have been a member of Fra Fra Sound and the band has gone through a number of artistic stages. At first focusing on the exploration of Surinamese kaseko, kawina and winti, soon the urge was felt to not limit themselves to only these genres. From the early nineties Fra Fra uses this freedom to explore the extensive relationships between the various music styles having their roots in Africa. Naturally, to Fra Fra not only Caribbean and Latin American music styles belong to the African Diaspora, but also jazz, blues, soul and gospel from the United States. The Big Band actually came into being in 1990, when the original 7 piece jazzensemble of Fra Fra Sound undertook a short tour to celebrate their ten year anniversary when they were joined by a horn section and performing under the name of Fra Fra Big Band. Predominantly, the orchestra plays their own compositions and arrangements, however, some pieces are performed which have been composed and arranged on consignment.
Fra Fra Big Band consists of eighteen Antillian, Surinam, Afro-American and Dutch musicians. Well-known soloists are regularly invited from the world music scene as well as the jazz scene. The orchestra has performed at festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, the BRT/Middelheim Jazz festival in Antwerp, Murcia International Jazz Festival in Spain and the Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South-Africa. Fra Fra Big Band also plays regularly in jazz clubs, theatres and at multicultural festivals. Other members of the two groups include: Carlo Hoop (b. District Surinam, Suriname, 1958), who studied percussion and drums with the African master drummer Fode Youla and performed with him as well as with Jasper van 't Hof, Chris Hinze and Angelique Kidjo. Guno Kramer (Paramaribo, Suriname, 1961) who studied piano and drums at the Hilversum Conservatory and worked with a wide variety of different bands and musicians, including Hassan's Farfina and Jimmy Smith. Efraim Trujillo (Lynwood, California, U.S.A., 1969) studied saxophones and piano at the Amsterdam Conservatory, is a well known saxophone soloist with Nueva Manteca, Surfive and Martin van Duynhoven's Octemble, and is the composer of a great part of Fra Fra Sounds repertory since he joined in 1991. Michael Simon (Punta Cardon, Venezuela, 1975) started out at a very young age with his musical brothers Edward and Marlon.Studied Latin-American music in Havana (Cuba) for several years. After coming to The Netherlands he studied piano, trumpet and composition at the Rotterdam Conservatory, and played with among others Bobby Watson and Andy Gonzalez. He writes compositions and arrangements for Fra Fra since joining in 1996. Andro Biswane (District Marowijne, Suriname, 1965); completed his study guitar and composition at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He's been composing music for various theatre productions and films, and also is the leader of his own band Karadara that plays Caribbean/African pop.
As a group Fra Fra Sound & Fra Fra Big Band played with among others Courtney Pine, Lester Bowie, Benny Bailey, David Murray, Toumani Diabate, Denise Jannah, Graham Haynes, Grupo Perspectiva, Russel "Konki" Holmeyer, Moses Khumalo, Feya Faku and Barney Rachabane.
Fra Fra Sound: Third Life Stream (1990), Panja Gazz + 4 (1991), Kalinha's Serenade (1993), Worship Mother Earth (1994), Global Village Residents (1996), Kaseko Revisited / Kotabra (1997), Collaboration musique d'Afrique / "Mali Jazz"(1999), Kultiplex (2003); Fra Fra Big Band: A Tan So (1993), Maspoti Makandra (1998), Expression Afritude featuring David Murray (2001)