New age multi-instrumentalist Hennie Bekker is a prolific recording artist with a cross-genre approach that references jazz, rock, dance, and ambient styles of music. He has scored music for films, released a plethora of solo albums and is a member of the Canadian techno/dance outfit B.K.S. However, Bekker is perhaps best known for his innovative mixing of nature sounds and instrumental music on such albums series as SolitudesTM, Kaleidoscope, and Tranquility.
Raised in a Zambian copper-mining town ten miles south of the Congolese border (Mufulira), Bekker became entranced early on by such sounds as tribal chanting and drumming, perking up his interest in music. Shortly thereafter, Bekker taught himself how to play the piano, and at the age of 15, began playing with various jazz fusion bands in Zambia, Zaire, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. From there, Bekker began scoring for film, television, radio, and commercials before eventually moving to London, England, where he teamed up with producer Emil Zoghby and started arranging, conducting, and producing albums for the likes of Freddie Cole, Magna Carta, and Stanley Black. By 1987, Bekker had relocated once more, this time to Canada, where he focused on commercial work (contributing musical bits to stock-music companies).
Eventually, Bekker gravitated toward the meditative sounds of new age, where he added soothing melodies to nature sounds compiled by Dan Gibson, which led to the duo collaborating on a total of 14 Exploring Nature with Music releases and to further Bekker musical contributions for the aforementioned Kaleidoscope and Tranquility series. During the '90s, Bekker also found time to issue his own solo releases, including such titles as Great Lakes Suite, Summer Breeze, Mirage, Tember, Jabula, and Spa, among others. Showcasing his versatility, Bekker then turned his attention to techno/dance, working with B.K.S., a group that achieved quite a bit of success in Canada (their 1996 release, Astroplane, received a Juno Award for Best Dance Recording). In 2005, Bekker launched another album series, African Tapestries, which explored the exotic music of his homeland. He also continued to release a steady stream of solo albums including 2000's jazz standards album Swing Gently, 2005's relaxing Exotic Spa, 2010's holiday-themed Christmas Spirit, and the 2011 compilation Spectrum: An Anthology of Relaxing Instrumental Music.
~ Greg Prato