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pianist, vocalist and composer

worked as piano soloist and composer with the radio jazz symphony Metropole Orchestra at age 21, studied jazz with the New York pianist Bela Lakatos in Hungary, and also classical music. His mother, born in Curacao, the Dutch Caribbean, received her piano lessons from the national composer Sjon ‘Coco’ Palm, a friend of Arthur Rubinstein. So, from early childhood on, Barend heard the joyous piano and dance music of the Caribbean. He composes the music for the trio. He studied composition in Brussels, Amsterdam, Helsinki and Budapest.

Bert van Erk, double bass player, played in Senegal African music with Souleymane Faye, Africando and Ngaari Laaw. In Utrecht and Amsterdam he played jazz with Slide Hampton, Boy Edgar Big Band, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Stan Tracey. He performed for queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on more than one occasion.




IN MEMORIAM: Enrique “Choco” Ramirez  31 december 2009, Afro Latin American percussionist.

Choco was born in Alajuela, Costa Rica, died in Groningen due to an accident: he fell into the icy water and died of the consequences. Choco studied percussion at the university of music in Costa Rica, (Escuela de Musica de la Universidad Nacional, departamento de percusión afrolatina.) He played with famous percussionists of his country and Cuba. He played with Costarican composers such as Maria Pretiz, Rodrigo Leiton, Jose Calderon, Jose Ma. Allan Mora and Tito Amaya.

Since 1995 Ramirez lived in the Netherlands. He was a percussionist teacher at the Music school of Groningen and gave workshops at schools. He played with a.o. Michiel Borstlap, Izaline Calister and made recordings with Jammah Tammah. During a jamsession he played with Roy Cooder’s Buena Vista Social Club when they toured the Netherlands.

Choco played nearly 5 years with the Trio Bernardo. The trio celebrated their 100th rehearsal in august 2009 for a film project.

Bert and Barend will remember him as a dear friend in music. He was a great Latin percussionist with an authentic personal and conceptual approach. He played like he lived: with a great zest, taste and love for life. In Trio Bernardo Choco steered his conceptual reason and creative intelligence in a sensitive manner towards Bert and Barend, and existentially strong and rigorous in his own life: he left his country Costa Rica to live fully for the music and gave everything for his art: he was music, he has lived his life.


A new start is being made with Latin drummer Elmer Bergstra. Elmer studied drums in the jazz department in Groningen and Rotterdam, played salsa for years and received. Elmer had to replace Choco at a performance in jauary 2010, which Choco still had organized. Though painful, it became a heartfelt and flawless performance after only one rehearsal.

The music samples below are still with Choco. New recordings are not yet made, and this will still give a good impression of the repertory.

It serves well as a showcase of the rich legacy of the Trio Bernardo together with Choco.


Music samples:


XšCha Bond

01:58 min. / 2,7 MB / MP3



02:10 min. / 1,98 MB / MP3

XšChinese Tiger Dancing

01:08 min. / 1,04 MB / MP3


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