Jens Kerkhoff

Jens was born in 1968 in Bamberg, Germany. At the age of fourteen he started playing Latin percussion. Soon he got in touch with Puerto Rican salsa musicians who were working for the US-army in the south of Germany. After playing salsa with a lot of different groups over there, Jens moved to the Netherlands to study Latin American music at the Rotterdam Conservatory.
Jens travelled several times to Cuba to take lessons in Afro Cuban percussion with the great Mario 'Aspirina' Jaurequi and with Luis Abreu from the legendary 'Los Papines'. In Holland Jens followed classes and workshops with Nicky Marrero, Giovanni Hidalgo, José Luis 'Changuito' Quintana, Armando Peraza, Orestes Vilató and others. In 198 he obtained his teaching degree in music as well as his master's.
Jens is momentarily one of the most asked for percussionists in Holland and is a virtuose conga player. Because of his diversity he works in the latin- and the jazz-circuit. He loves working with salsa orquestas, Latin big bands, soul and funk groups and with fusion bands alike. The musical range of recordings he made goes from traditional Cuban danzones via jazz and salsa to House-CD's. His ideal is to integrate and use his enormous knowledge of Afro-Cuban music in other musical styles.

In 1999 Jens founded the band Bye-Ya! and together with co-leader Mick Paauwe Bye-Ya! is still going strong.
In 2007 he also founded the band Bongomatik. Together with this nine piece orquestra, Jens is creating a refreshing crossover between Latin music, funk, pop and jazz.
As a sideman Jens performed and recorded with groups like Lotz of Music/Shango's Dance, Rumbatá, Roberto Rodriguez, Nueva Manteca, New Cool Collective, Perla Negra, Lovecycle feat. Jazmin, Brian Lynch, Edy Martinez, Nadja Schubert and many others. With some of the mentioned bands he travelled around the world.