Oswin Mackintosh

Oswin Chin Behilia

Oswin Chin Behilia Oswin Chin Behilia belongs to that select group of singer/songwriters whose music combines memorable tunes with lyrics that reflect both social and personal concerns. Mention his name to a fellow native of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles and his face lights up with fond recognition. Both young and old consider his song Plegaria, for instance, as the folk alternative to the national anthem, while Sunú is universally regarded as one of the classic love songs in Papiamento, the creole language spoken on the islands of Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire located off the coast of Venezuela.
Born on 15 December 1938, this man of many talents has led an eventful life both in and out of the world of music and was he knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands for contributions in several fields to his native island as musician, broadcaster, politician, impresario and mentor to young talent. He gave his knighthood back to the Queen at the end of 2009 in protest to the current political developments highlighted in his latest CD Liber.
Oswin Chin Behilia's first band Los Tiarucos was founded in 1963. Los Tiarucos performed in the sixties and seventies at hotel and festival engagements at home and in St. Martin, Miami, New York, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Brazil, the musical influences of which can be discerned in his compositions.
Oswin Chin Behilia's songs have been covered by a host of his native island's finest musicians, some of whom include the rising young star Izaline Calister who has interpreted Sunú, No Bai and Plegaria in jazz settings with her compatriot, the pianist Randall Corsen. Oswin Chin Behilia attracted attention from European promoters at the 2002 and 2003 WOMEX fairs in Essen and Seville where he was featured both times on Charlie Gillett's BBC Radio show and his album Bendishon disfrasa/Blessing in Disguise was selected by Songlines for their Top 50 Summer Albums of 2005 and was also chosen world music record of the month by Radio France International in August 2004.

“Chin” was also a guest soloist at the 2004 edition of the North Sea Jazz Festival with Tumbabó, the big band led by pianist Randal Corsen dedicated to playing arrangements of music from the Dutch Antilles. In paying tribute to Chin in the Dutch press Corsen said the following: “Chin is an astute songwriter whose compositions often reveal the essence of life in the Dutch Antilles. Many of his compositions include Antillean waltzes reminiscent of the bossa novas of Antonio Carlos Jobim, though he frequently makes use of the Cuban son as a musical structure. Chin’s repertoire includes lovely danzas, boleros, tumbas and the traditional sehú. As such his music is unmistakably from the Dutch Antilles, though universal in appeal.”

During the Caribbean Express festival held in Utrecht’s Vredenburg Theater in May 2007, Chin performed with the Randal Corsen Sextet and was joined by guests Tanja Kross and Izaline Calister. In April 2008 he performed at the Colony Theatre in Miami and on June 29, 2008 will perform in the Concertgebouw again with the Randal Corsen Sextet.

Oswin at present has three international CD releases on the Dutch label Otrabanda Records "Bendishon Disfrasá/Blessing in Disguise (OTB01), Live (OTB07) and Liber (OTB010) (www.otrabandarecords.com). Featuring a band which includes acoustic guitar, flute, electric bass and delicate percussion, this is exquisite music that will appeal to anyone who enjoys Cuban trova or campesino music. The satin voice singer guarantees a lyrical foray into Caribbean grooves off the beaten track. Oswin recently toured the Netherlands and Belgium. 22 October De Doelen, Rotterdam, 23 October, Zuiderpershuis, Antwerp. 24 October Tropentheater, Amsterdam and 25 October – Rasa in Utrecht. He just played at the first festival dedicated to the music of the Netherlnads Antilles held in Rotterdam and Amsterdam from 7 through 16 May 2010.
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