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Usually, Bart van der Lee is quite a happy guy. However, from a musical perspective things are a bit different since he prefers minor chords and has a weakness for the dark side of life. The result of a merger between a giddy happy boy and a gloomy guy who digs into the deep caverns of the soul? Raw, autobiographic texts sung by a deep, slightly grating voice and unpolished, honest music. Together with his olive green Gretsch, Bart plays a bewildering ode to real life. So far, he sang that ode both in four CDs, of which the last one was released by Snowstar Records, and in dozens of performances. This is how it all started.

Location: the Philippines. Four year old mini-Bart is hiking through the jungle, a place he visits at least once a week. Occasionally clambering over tree trunks that serve as a bridge, at times walking, then again running, but always singing his heart out. Often hymns, because that is what he heard most.

A few years later in Kenya. The Van der Lee family is doing some shopping in Nairobi as they pass the show-window of a music shop. Behind the bars that protect the shop against burglary, a guitar is displayed. Mom and dad just keep on walking, but Bart grabs the bars, his eyes shining and his heart pounding.

Bart is thirteen when, after passing through Thailand where his parents are involved in community development work, his family settles again in the Netherlands. In his home country, a world full of music is waiting for him. Suddenly, he hears rock, pop and other sounds he never heard before. Soon after the move to the Netherlands, he finds an electric guitar among domestic refuse, which, for a long time, remains his best friend.

At the age of twenty one, after he has played his guitar to his heart’s content for quite some years, Bart’s still tender marriage runs ashore. Soon afterwards he attends the Academy of Arts in Utrecht. Out of the blues, his life’s purpose manifests itself. Bart van der Lee is musician, story teller, singer-songwriter. It’s not long before his first album, ASFALT, is released. Ever since, he is scraping together life’s mysterious and cutting edges, and makes it heard how precious deep sorrow can be.

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