Carel Kraayenhof


Carel Kraayenhof was eight years old when he started playing the piano; he was taught classical music and played ragtime. Carel discovered music as his greatest passion and source of inspiration. In the mid-1970s, Carel was strongly influenced by his brother Jaap with Irish, Scottish, and English folk music. He taught himself to play melodeon and English concertina. In the early 1980s, Carel discovered the bandoneón: the sound touched him deeply. From that moment on, he knew without a doubt that he wanted to be a bandoneon player. 

As an autodidact, he learned to play the complex instrument and soon started performing in three tango bands he founded: Tango Cuatro, Viento del Sur, and Sexteto Canyengue. In 1987 he was asked by Astor Piazzolla as a bandoneon soloist for his Broadway tango musical Tango Apasionado in New York. In 1990, together with his Sexteto Canyengue, he was invited by Osvaldo Pugliese to come to Argentina. In 1993 he started the Department of Argentine Tango at the World Music Department of the Rotterdam Conservatory Codarts with colleague Leo Vervelde and received the 'Golden Nutcracker' from the Dutch Association of Performing Arts. In 1996, the Sexteto Canyengue performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival. In 1997 and 1998 they headlined the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


Several awards followed in subsequent years, including the 2003 Edison People's Choice Award Classic and an official award from the Argentine government in 2005 for his efforts as an ambassador for tango music. In 2012, Carel was appointed Officer of Orange Nassau by Queen Beatrix (NL).

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