Dutch poet, Benne has made a name for himself in his home country as a man of words, and performance. He won titles in Dutch slam poetry contests in 7 cities throughout the early and mid 2000s, and even ranked in the National competition. In 2005 he put his letters in writing and by landing his first publishing deal. Since then, he has released volumes of his poetry with four different publishers.
Over the years he has not limited himself to poetry. Benne has seen three of his original plays produced and performed on stage. He is an educator, having conducted numerous poetry and rap workshops at schools and other institutions. He has edited literary magazines, published Sci-fi short stories and even owned a bookstore.
In recent years Benne has ventured into the music world, producing spoken word and rap pieces in Dutch. He has now released his English language debut. “Armored Goosebump” is a six song collection of previously published original poetry set to music. The record is a collaboration with Benne’s longtime friend, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Martijn van Dijk.
Musically, “Armored Goosebump” ranges in style from soft acoustic guitar tracks (“Anime Christi,” “Perfect”) to piano ballads (“A Beautiful Day,” “Armored Goosebump”) and 80’s inspired synthwave (“Happy Days”). Throughout the record, Martijn van Dijk shifts expertly between instruments and genres, playing each with style and taste.
Benne’s voice floats calmly between spoken word poetry and a low, soft baritone. In both musical composition and vocal styling, the EP brings to mind much of Leonard Cohen’s work. Lyrically too, Benne’s deeply personal tales of love, loss and regret find a kindred spirit in Cohen. Though much of the writing here is translated from its original Dutch, it loses none of the author’s sharp wit and self-deprecating narratives. This is an honest, graphic and at times heartbreaking piece of work.
Check out the video for the title track, above. You can hear the entire collection via Benne’s SoundCloud pre-release. Follow the links below to connect with this exciting and dynamic talent.