Eric Van der Westen (Netherlands)
Born in Zierikzee, Netherlands, Eric Van der Westen embarked on his musical journey at the age of 10 with guitar. During his teenage years, he founded pop bands that delved into hard rock and new wave in the late 70s and early 80s. His formal music education began at 19, leading him to leave his psychology studies at university to pursue a career in music - it was at this point that he discovered the double bass.
Within six months, he enrolled at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, ultimately graduating in 1990. Throughout his studies, Van der Westen collaborated with renowned Dutch jazz figures like Willem van Manen and Paul van Kemenade, remaining with the latter for 14 years. Over time, he became a reliable and inventive presence in various bands; sharing the stage with musicians such as Jasper Van ‘t Hof, Bob Malach, Kenny Wheeler, and more.
In the 90s, Van der Westen’s deep interest in African music led to extensive travels across the continent, recordings and performances with artists such as Mali’s Habib Koité, Zimbabwean guitarist Louis Mhlanga, Senegalese duet Les Frères Guissé and others. Currently, he is focused on several projects, including A Traveller's Tale (a duo with Aron Raams) and plays with the bands Private Time Machine (PTM) and Quadrant.