Singer brings Afrikaans to the Netherlands with a record number of performances

Henry

The singer and songwriter Stefan Jansen is currently touring the Netherlands for 50 days where he performs 30 performances to entertain international audiences with his Afrikaans music.

Stefan, an ambassador of the Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Associations (FAK), wants to break the record for the largest international tour in Afrikaans with this tour.

“There has never been such a big international tour done in Afrikaans. In this tour I celebrate all the beautiful things about Afrikaans. Afrikaans is loved abroad. Here we are seen for who we are: a nice nation, a people-people nation. Our being Afrikaans is celebrated, and it makes me bitterly proud to be Afrikaans.”

Stefan says he plays the same program he presents for the FAK at nursing homes during local performances.

“Now we also reach out to foreign countries. It’s great to bring Afrikaans music to people.”

Stefan is currently in Friesland, a northern province in the Netherlands. For him as a musician, it is precisely the most enjoyable to play in small towns and rural areas, just outside big cities like Amsterdam.

“In the folk villages, the people understand Afrikaans, they can understand the stories and identify with them. In Friesland, where I am now, it is a real farming community. Our stories are beautiful to them.”

According to Stefan, Frisian is a Dutch dialect that is also suppressed, like Afrikaans. He says it is the furthest province from South Africa, but certainly the closest community to South Africa in terms of culture.

“There is now a focus on a word movement and Afrikaans word art. Afrikaans is maturing. Folk music is inherently music about the people, and the people are ordinary people. I want to write songs that people can relate to. This is my investment in African folk music,” says Stefan, who considers himself a folk music singer.

He likes to do magic with words, and his song “Bella, episode 1” is proof of his talent to tell a story with his music. In his lyrics, one sees how the ordinary person is brought to light:

“Bella had been a girl from the farm, Bella with a heart of silver. Bella read the book of God. When life wanted to break for Bella, the Lord showed Bella what it is to be safe.”

Stefan says that Bella was inspired by his older sister, but that she could actually represent anyone.

“We all know a Bella. The song is about the girl who is confronted with the pitfalls of life, and every verse is proof of the Lord’s protection.”