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Personification of cross-over between the Netherlands and the Caribbean PDF Afdrukken E-mail
Tuesday, 5 February 2013 09:05


WILLEMSTAD — Julian Basílico Coco (1924), the famous Curaçao musician, passed away yesterday in the Netherlands. Coco was a famous contrabassist. He was the hero of an entire generation of young musicians from the former Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. After the cremation in Bilthoven this Friday, the urn from Coco will be flown to Curaçao, where a ceremony will be held. The date and location will be made known in due course.Coco is the personification of the musical cross-over in the past centuries on the Caribbean Dutch Islands. He lived on Curaçao until 1953. The autodidact on the contrabass came from a poor family. In the forties and fifties he had played with all musicians renowned on Curaçao. He left for the Netherlands in 1953 to study contrabass at the then Conservatorium of Amsterdam and played contrabass with the Utrechts Symphony Orchestra for years. He also studied at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam with guitar as main subject. When he graduated Coco was the first matriculant who received the soloist diploma guitar at a conservatorium in the Netherlands.


Even those in Palace Soestdijk knew the musician from Curaçao. Coco had given Princess Christina guitar lessons for years. Flutist Magdelena Kuhn and Coco formed a duo since 1964. The duo also recorded an album.

In honor of his 80th birthday, Asosashon di Músikonan Pro Guitarra organized a concert in 2004 for the musician. He inspired numerous local musicians, including Rignald Kastaneer, Diangelo Cicilia and Marlon Titre. In 2008 the bust of Coco in Colon, his native district, was inaugurated with the text: “Education is the only salvation’. The musician escaped from his poor environment with his study at the conservatorium. In 2010, pianist Randal Corsen and guitarist Marlon Titre organized the ‘Tribute to Julian Coco’ in the Doelen in Rotterdam as the opening concert of the Antilles Festival. The musician, who turned 89 this month, paved the way for the new generation of musicians as the musical cross-over between the Caribbean and Europe.

According to Aruban pianist Alwin Toppenberg, Coco was a famous musician, teacher, mentor and advisor, but above all a great personality, who was always there to help others but if need be also a corrective personality. He was a highly respected guitarist, who often performed for the Dutch TV. He was also a popular guitarist internationally, with many guest performances. During his international tours he often played with the top musicians of the world. With this excellent performance he put the Caribbean part of the Kingdom on the map of the world. “We will miss him!”, said Toppenberg.

The cremation will take place on Friday, February 8th, at the Crematorium ‘Den en Rust’, Frans Halslaan 27, 3723 EA Bilthoven (Netherlands). De ceremony will begin at three in the afternoon.