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Jakarta Post

Van Halen, guitar legend with Indonesian roots

Guitarist Eddie Van Halen performs during a private Van Halen show to announce the band's upcoming tour at Cafe Wha? in New York on January 5, 2012. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
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Jakarta   ●   Mon, October 12 2020

The passing of guitarist Eddie Van Halen hit Indonesia’s rock music scene particularly hard, not only because he was a master of the instrument and part of the pantheon of rock music alongside artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page but also because he could trace his ancestry to the city of Rangkasbitung in Banten.

Van Halen's mother, Eugenia van Beers, who hailed from Rangkasbitung met and married the guitarist’s father Jan soon after Indonesia won its independence from the Dutch. The senior Van Halen was a traveling jazz musician employed by the Dutch Air Force.

After spending six years in Indonesia, the senior Van Halen and Eugenia relocated to Amsterdam in 1949. Eddie, born Edward Lodewijk van Halen, was born six years later, in January 1955. The family then moved to Pasadena, California, in 1962.

But for many Indonesian musicians...

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