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From Holland With Love, Part 1

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When Hans Eversteijn first contacted the organizers of the 5th Anniversary Rosarito Beach International Mariachi & Folklorico Festival, raving about the superstars of Mexican music that resided in his home country of The Netherlands, he had some serious reservations to overcome. One of the strongest came curiously enough from a fellow countryman, Wim Selders, who had emigrated to.the Greater San Diego area several years before. Wim's involvement, as an executive for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Mexico, was crucial as that organization's fledgling close-to-the-border branch had been the sole beneficiary of the proceeds earned from the first four annual events. As Wim put it "...I had never heard of mariachi being part of the musical kaleidoscope of Holland until Hans sent me those videos.I was amazed and astounded."

You can watch what got Wim's attention by checking out the YouTube videos that he received last year by clicking on to Carolina de Holanda's version of the classic 'El Pastor' (http://youtu.be/J4QlxMX8xL8) AND Dwayne Verheyden's medley featuring 'Anselma' from last year's Brand Beer Festival held in the picturesque town square of Venlo (http://youtu.be/pOb7xGT-uKk). To make a long story somewhat shorter, Rosy Torres, the President of The Boys and Girls Club of Rosarito got to see the videos next and arrangements were soon completed to have Carolina and Dwayne perform together in Mexico for the very first time!

This may not mean very much to the casual reader at this point in the article but perhaps a look at the backgrounds of these two very special talents might change that perspective.

Caroline Voorbergen first fell in love with the music of Mexico when she heard a live performance in Holland by the beautiful & talented Maria de Lourdes. The young Dutch girl was enamored with this legendary songstress and soon became Secretary of her fan club in The Netherlands. She could always be found in the first row of Maria's European concerts.

Four years later, Caroline had graduated from university with a degree in Journalism and was hired by a local newspaper to become a foreign correspondent. One of her first assignments was to travel to Mexico to write an in-depth article on her idol. Maria de Lourdes invited her to stay at her home while the interview process was completed and then to continue her graduate studies at, first, the University of Guadalajara and then ultimately at UNAM in Mexico City.

She also had the opportunity to accompany the Mexican artist to her performances, studio recordings, interviews, and parties. Maria encouraged her musical studies, too, and finally invited her on stage to sing a song."But I've never sung, Maria,' she exclaimed. "Trust my judgement and show my people the love that foreigners have for our music," was the answer from the world famous vocalist.. So Caroline sang. After that, she was frequently invited on stage as a backup singer .

The events of November1997, after Maria...accompanied by Caroline... completed a highly successful European tour were totally unexpected. While waiting for her flight home to Mexico at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, Maria suddenly collapsed and died, surrounded by hundreds of fans, members of the international press , her family and close friends.

The world...and, of course, her companion and confidant, Caroline...were deeply shocked. After getting over the sorrow, grief-stricken but very inspired , she decided to dedicate her life to keeping alive the legacy of her mentor. She soon returned to Mexico and began her life-long goal of, in general, preserving Mexican music's beauty for all the world to enjoy and, in particular, the music of the beloved Maria de Lourdes.

You will get a clearer idea of Maria's transcendent talent by watching the video of her epic performance of 'Que bonita amor," backed by Mariachi Vargas, once again shared with us by Hans Eversteijn.(www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jcpD1gDico)

After Maria's tragic passing, Caroline signed on with Mexico's best vocal coaches, took daily singing lessons, and from that moment on worked hard to master the authentic Mexican folk music with its myriad of rhythms. After many years of practice and study, as well as a long musical journey which included stops at cultural events, small cantinas, major theatrical venues and world famous music festivals, she has developed herself into a much-in-demand international artist known professionally as Carolina de Holanda. She has performed abroad in Argentina, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. In her home country of Holland, she has appeared on all of the major televised variety shows and was even invited by the Dutch Royal Family to serenade Prince Bernhard, father of Queen Beatrix, on his birthday. With six best selling CDs to her name:

'Carolina, mis cancion y yo'

'Carolina de Holanda, sentimientos de Mexico'

'Carolina de Holanda, 3 tenores Mexicanos'

'Cuando Mexico Canta'

''Con Amor Eterno'

'Asi se siente Mexico'

there is no doubt that Carolina de Holanda's star is in its ascendancy.

Part 2 of this article, coming soon, will feature the equally incredible career trajectory of Dwayne Verheyden. Don't miss the opportunity to see both of these superstars from The Netherlands in their first joint performances in North America at the 5th Anniversary Rosarito Beach International Mariachi & Folklorico Festival. Please Save The Dates: October 1st-5th and the location of the beautiful iconic oceanfront venue, the Rosarito Beach Hotel. More information...and how to buy tickets and purchase hotel packages... can be found on the Facebook event page, as well as at the website: www.rosaritobeachmariachifolkloricofestival.com

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