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Jan Wouter Oostenrijk

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Jan Wouter Oostenrijk
Background information
Birth nameJan Wouter Oostenrijk
Born (1965-03-31) March 31, 1965 (age 59)
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
InstrumentsGuitar, quarter tone guitar
Years active1980–present
Associated acts

Jan Wouter Oostenrijk (born March 31, 1965) is a Dutch guitarist. He is known for innovating the music crossover between raqs sharqi, Blues, Maghreb and Jazz.[1][2] He also plays the quarter tone electric guitar.


Jan Wouter grew up in a musical family in Groningen. At the age of 22 he moved to Amsterdam where he completed his professional jazz guitar studies at Conservatory of Amsterdam (1994).[3] He received the “Gouden Notenkraker” award for his contribution to Dutch live music with Moroccan formation Raï-land (1996).[4] Jan Wouter Oostenrijk released 5 solo albums. In 2000, he launched “Open up your eyes” which included the composition 'My friend Samir’ that reached No 1 in the North-African Top 40 on Ethnocloud.[5] The album ‘Maghreb Jazz Guitar’from 2006 received a “Radioindy Golden Artist Award” for best new music in the USA.[6] His interpretation of jazz standard Caravan (1936 song) by Duke Ellington was featured on a compilation album that included artists such as James Brown, George Duke and Natacha Atlas.[7] In 2013, Jan Wouter Oostenrijk released the album ‘Sharqi Blues’ with Algerian artist Karim Ziad on drums (Joe Zawinul, Cheb Khaled (musician)).[8] In 2015, Jan Wouter Oostenrijk released his CD single “Gwana Music in Your Soul” with Moroccan The Voice Ahla sawt finalist Farid Ghannam.[9] In 2017, Jan Wouter Oostenrijk released the Album “We are Connected” on Moutain Records.[10] Jan Wouter Oostenrijk and his band have toured Europe, Morocco, Algeria, Tunesia, Egypt and Sudan. Jan Wouter Oostenrijk played with a variety of leading Dutch and international artists in the World and Jazz scene including Majid Bekkas, Steve Shehan, Benjamin Herman, Hind Laroussi, Kheiredine M’Kachiche, Eric Vaarzon Morel, Sinas, Mahmoud Guinia, Ahmad el Sawy and many others. He has his own guitarschool “Gitaarschool Amsterdam”[11] and is founder of “Gitaarschool Nederland” a platform for Dutch guitar professionals in music education.[12]. In 2018 he joined the US Truefire educators team and released a Desert Blues guitar video course.[13] This introduction to North African and Sahara desert music contains rhythm and lead guitar patterns in music styles such as Gnawa, Raï, Chaabi, Sharqi, and Tuareq Berber music. Quartertone Guitar For his crossovers with music of North Africa Jan Wouter built his own Electric Quartertone Guitar.[14][15] The instrument has a customised fingerboard with extra frets designed to allow the player to produce microtones as are used in Arabic music, arabic maqam and taqsim playing. Trained as a western guitar player in the traditions of classical, jazz, blues and rock music, Jan Wouter Oostenrijk also studied various North-African styles and adapted his playing to accommodate for Maghreb and Sharq music.


  • We are connected (2017)[16] label Mountain Records
  • Gnawa in your soul (2015), single with Farid Ghannam
  • Station Zero (2014) New Adventures (Dutch Band)
  • Sharqi blues (2011) JWO label /distribution Music & Words[17]
  • Intergalactic Freedom (2010) with Sinas band, Coast to Coast label
  • Pieprz Y Wanilia (2010) compilation album EMI with Jan Wouter Oostenrijk - Caravan
  • Maghreb jazz guitar (2009) JWO label /distribution Music & Words
  • Sinas - Globalexplorations (2008) Coast to coast label
  • Dutch World Music (2007), compilation album, with Jan Wouter Oostenrijk and Barud
  • Supperclub presents nomads (2007) diverse artists with Jan Wouter Oostenrijk / Caravan
  • Open up your eyes (2000) JWO label /distribution Music & Words[18]
  • Noujoum Rai - Sec (1998), Osiris label
  • Railand - C’est pas ma faute (1996), EMI / Absinthe
  • Railand discover rhythms of Rai (1996) EMI, compilation album

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1996 - Gouden Notekraker Award
  • 2006 - Radioindy Golden Artist Award (Grindy)[19]
  • 2015 - Nomination Best Guitarist 2015 category jazz/fusion/funk/world Benelux by the Dutch specialist journal Guitarist.


External links[edit]

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