"Hello kind stranger, I'm glad you came my way. "

From: The viqueen at the wheel - Crystal Veil - The Scholar

I started my musical career in Amsterdam in the late sixties, singing my own compositions with accompaniment on a 12-string guitar in folk clubs.
My first acquaintance with Irish music was listening to the Dubliners’ international hit  “Seven drunken nights”.

Between 1970 and 1977  I sang and played tenor banjo, mandolin, tinwhistle and fiddle in several Amsterdam based Irish ballad groups.

In 1977 I took up the uilleann pipes, starting on a boxwood set made by Alan Ginsberg.

My  early teachers in Ireland were Tom Clarke and the late Dan O’Dowd
(1903-1989). Aside from being a superb reedmaker, Dan was a very
patient teacher. I also got a lot of help and encouragement from the
late Breándan Breathnach (1912-1985)

After moving from Amsterdam to Enschede I became interested in
the history of the uilleann pipes and its early recordings and
wrote many articles on the subject in.

In 1986/7 I wrote the manuscript of a book about
regulator accompaniment styles on the uilleann pipes.

In 1991, I came into the possession of a set in “C”, made by  “Ned” White (b. Loughrea, 1810 – d. Boston, 1879 or 1880), nicknamed the “Dandy Piper”. The pipes, in a very run down condition, were discovered under the hardboards of an attic in the Limerick area. They were restored by my good friend, pipemaker Hubert Kwisthout.

In 1993, I got a  C# set from the late Kevin Spencer, a Dublin architect. The pipes were made by Robert Reid of North Shields, Northumberland (1784 – 1837) and restored in the 1960’s by the late Matt Kiernan.It was an amazing experience when new reeds suddenly gave life to these old instruments and I still play them whenever they are in playing condition.

In 1996, I was invited to play and lecture on the uilleann pipes in some programmes on Dutch national radio (VPRO).

In 2005 I was invited by close harmony group the Buffoons (they had several top 10 hits in the late sixties and early seventies) to play uilleann pipes and tin whistle on the title track of their new CD and to take part of its presentation at TV Oost.

Over the years, I continued writing songs and the music captured on the “Crystal Veil” 
CD is representative for my concerts and my whole musical “career”. 

I use “the Scholar” as my artist name for a simple reason: there is already a Rob van Dijk on LP’s etc. “The Scholar” is a popular Irish reel which has been recorded on 78’s by pipers Leo Rowsome and Tommy Reck, and also by the Flanagan Brothers. I used to play the tune on the tenor banjo before I took up the pipes. The tune was regarded as Tommy Reck’s master piece and its opening lines were even included on his funeral card.