BL?F is a Dutch indie rock band formed in 1991. Led by vocalist and guitarist Paskal Jakobsen and a fluctuating lineup, the band went through various members and changed direction over the years. From their breakthrough album Umoja in the 90s to their more recent works, BL?F has become synonymous with a bold style and unique sound.
The original BL?F lineup came together in the Dutch city of Nijmegen. Founder Paskal Jakobsen rose to prominence with his work as a guitarist and vocalist, while drummer John Eijkman, bassist Bosco de Jong, and multi-instrumentalist Dan Van Houten helped propel the band forward. They released a short EP entitled Goud in 1994, but it was their second, full-length album Umoja that brought them into the limelight.
BL?F began to receive both critical and popular acclaim when their album Umoja released in 1997, garnering favourable reviews from the Dutch music press. Featuring the now classic single “Harder Dan Ik Hebben Kan,” this album saw BL?F move away from their folk-inspired roots and explore newly discovered post-punk, indie rock and world-music influences. This was the beginning of their success and is still held in high regard to this day.
Following the success of Umoja and its subsequent singles, the band went on a European and UK tour and BL?F released two live albums. This was unfortunately followed by the departure of some founding members, who went on to form the electro-pop band Call and Response. However, BL?F found new momentum with the inclusion of drummer and vocalist Ernst Jansz, who later wrote and released an album with the band.
With Jansz’ contribution, BL?F released their third album Gelukkig Zijn. The album went on to become the band’s most successful, as well as spawning the singles “Ze Is Er Niet” and “Do Do Do.” This was shortly followed by Watermakers and Liefs Uit London, which included the hit song “Geen Tijd.” Finally, BL?F released their fifth album Voor Mij in 2020.
BL?F has been compared to many of their post-punk and indie rock-inspired peers, such as The National, De Staat and The Black Atlantic. They also cultivated a unique sound and made classics like “Harder Dan Ik Hebben Kan”, “Geen Tijd”, “Do Do Do”, “Umoja” and more, which gained them a loyal fan base.
BL?F is a classic Dutch band, with a unique style and genre-busting sound. Their albums are still appreciated to this day, and their dynamic music career has seen them maintain an impressive live presence over the years. With their combination of post-punk, indie rock and world music, BL?F is a band worth checking out.
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