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Victor Sams
Victor Sams

(St Eustasius, 1955) is a singer, composer, percussionist and ngoni player. At first he played and sang only in reggae bands but in the 1980s he fell under the spell of djembé music. To improve his technique he travelled to Africa regularly to practise with the great masters of djembé music. During one of his first travels he heard the sound of the ngoni, and he learned to play this instrument as well. The ngoni is one of the oldest string instruments of Africa, made of a gourd, a piece of wood and fishing line. Sams subsequently founded his own ngoni band and concentrated on African music. In the meantime he has returned to his old love, reggae. Sams performs regularly at home and abroad with Sams Reggae band and Sams N'goni band. He also gives djembé workshops at schools.
During Winternachten 2009, on Saturday afternoon, he will perform together with his brother, the base player, and with the inseparable steelpan duo Cornel Brown and Leroy James, all from Statia.


Archive available for: Sams

  • Winternachten 2010

    VPRO's OVT Live

    With: Cynthia Mc Leod, Gert Oostindie, Gilbert Wawoe, John Jansen van Galen, Mathijs Deen, Nelleke Noordervliet, Paul van der Gaag, Sams, Theo Para

    This year too VPRO's history programme OVT ends the festival in a live broadcast from café Dudok. The Surinamese writer Theo Para is a guest to talk about his book De Schreeuw van Bastion Veere (The Cry of Bastion Veere), dealing with the history of Surinam since the 1982 December murders. With music by singer and percussionist Victor Sams, who comes from St Eustatius.

  • Winternachten 2010

    How to Bluff Your Way into Saba, Statia and Bonaire

    With: Bòi Antoin, Gilbert Wawoe, Paulette Smit, Ruben Severina, Sams, Wycliffe Smith

    A crash course in the new Dutch municipalities! A few months still to go and our country obtains three Caribbean islands: Saba, St Eustatius and Bonaire. Be prepared and be informed on the language, literature and history of these tropical islands, by the writers and musicians who have been flown in especially for Winternachten.

    The highest point in the Netherlands will no longer be in Limburg, but on Saba. Dutch nature conservationists will have to worry about coral reefs. But language and culture will also change. Will Papiamentu and Antillean English qualify for the same status as Frisian? That remains to be seen. In any case it can do no harm when the Dutch citizens learn a few words of Papiamentu and Antillean English and get some basic knowledge about the history and culture of the new Dutch municipalities. That chance is given to the audience during this Winternachten programme.

    A light-footed programme with a crash course in new languages in the Netherlands, an introduction to literature, the folktales and the history and an introduction to the musical traditions of the three islands. Writers and musicians from Saba, Statia and Bonaire will provide the audience with everything it has to know about language and culture of the new Netherlands.

    Gilbert Wawoe (former member of the Council of State) was closely involved in the transition process of the three islands. He tells about the at times odd administrative and legal problems accompanying this unique political change. Can you apply Dutch law to (sub)tropical islands just like that? Wycliffe Smith, a writer from Saba, provides the audience with an image of the culture and history of Saba and Statia. Writer and journalist Bòi Antoin, sympathetic to the fate of the island he was born, Bonaire, tells tales about the history and culture of Bonaire. Musician Victor Sams (from Statia) performs with the base player Jeffrey Sams, and with the inseparable steelpan duo Cornel Brown and Leroy James, all from Statia. The programme is in Dutch, and is hosted by actress Paulette Smit and Ruben Severina.

  • Winternachten 2009

    Winternachten Lecture - Nuruddin Farah

    With: Kristien Hemmerechts, Nuruddin Farah, Sams

    'Nuruddin Farah poses questions which, once asked, don't give you a moment's rest, the American weekly Newsweek wrote about the Somali author. Nuruddin Farah (1945) delivered the annual Winternachten lecture, which was organised for the third time. He spoke about migration and exile, a topic which as a writer has occupied him for a long time. You can download the lecture as a pdf-file here.

    Farah describes how the situation of young migrants round 1970 – who wanted nothing but assimilate fully – differs painfully of that of young migrants today. In his lecture he asks an urgent question about identity: what makes us into who we are? Is it the country we come from, the language we speak, the culture we were raised in or the passport we carry? Or is it a coincidental process that makes us into who we are? Farah painstakingly queries what the Somali identity means to someone like himself, who has lived in half a dozen countries.
    Nuruddin Farah is seen by many as the most important African candidate for the Nobel prize for Literature. In 1998 he was recipient of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His work has been translated into seventeen languages. Seven of his books appeared in Dutch, among them Secrets and Maps. The translation of Links will be published in 2009. Farah lives in Cape Town.

    Kristien Hemmerechts
    (Brussels, 1955) gave an introduction on Farahs work and talked to him after his lecture. Hemmerechts is a novelist, travel writer, essayist and script writer. Her novels include Ann, and Taal zonder mij (Language without me). As a writer she actively participates in the public debate in Flanders and the Netherlands.
    Previous Winternachten lecturers include Elif Shafak (2008) and Pankaj Mishra (2007).

    Visitors of the Winternachten lecture received the publication in English and Dutch.
    You can order the publication for € 5,- + postal charges by sending an email with your name and full adress, to We will send it to you with an invoice of € 5,- plus shipping costs.

    Stichting DOEN supported the Winternachten lecture 2009 as international writers here get a chance to share their views with their counterparts at the festival and with a varied audience. So new insights arise, contributing to the social debate in the Netherlands. DOEN supports the Winternachten lecture 2009 with a grant from the Nationale Postcode Loterij.

  • Winternachten 2009 – Winternachten vrijdagavond

    Wintercafé 4: You don't know what you see

    Two scientists on the question 'what is the function of our manipulative brain?' Psychologist Katinka van der Kooij investigates how our brain falsifies reality nonstop. In her recently published book of short stories Without Exit she gratefully uses man's imaginative and interpretative capacity. Evolutionary biologist Tijs Goldschmidt in his latest book Angels' Balls writes the story'Koko en Kafka', about manipulating reality in pseudo-scientific animal documentaries. Both writers werel reading from their work and busied themselves with the question if we can survive without manipulation.

  • Winternachten 2009 – Winternachten vrijdagavond

    Wintercafé 3: Metamorphoses

    In the programme Metamorphoses three authors read about metamorphoses with gusto. Gündüz Vassaf (Turkey) made Istanbul speak. Nury Vittachi (Hongkong) gave satirical examples of East-West metamorphoses. And the Moroccan writer Youssouf Amine Elalamy told a story in which metamorphoses are rampant.

  • Winternachten 2009 – Winternachten vrijdagavond

    Wintercafé 2: Masquerades

    Pupils from local secondary schools just did it: climbing the stage of the wintercafé and reading their poetry on the topic of 'masquerades'. In Dutch. In preparation their class was visited by poet Jan Baeke, they read and analysed poetry and polished their own words. Not only Gerrit Komrij was impressed by the pupils: it was one of the highlights of Friday nights programming.

  • Winternachten 2009 – Winternachten vrijdagavond

    Wintercafé 1: Herman Koch

    The newly introduced Wintercafé, was a succes. A place at the festival where there was ample space for readings and short, informal interviews. There was music, you could have a drink and the hosts provided an informal atmosphere. A four-part programme.
    In part 1 Herman Koch got the mood going: especially for the Wintercafé he wrote a Short History of Deceit. In which he gave a historical account of how from infancy he conjured up a fictitious world. Sometimes it is just more fun to lie. And doesn't amount writing to telling lies? Do we want to believe Kochs lies? This programme was realized in cooperation with DeBuren in Brussels, whom includes Kochs story as a 'radiobook' and broadcasts it worldwide. In Dutch.
    Singer, composer and percussionist Victor Sams played the ngoni. The peculiar sound of this old African string instrument, made of gourd, a piece of wood and fishing line, takes you to mysterious heigths. He was accompanied by Nathan Klumperbeek on acoustic bass.