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Captain Gumbo is a Dutch band formed in 1987, which plays mostly zydeco and Cajun music; that is, melodyin the French traditions of the U.S. state of Louisiana, based around the diatonic accordion. In 1990, their version of "Allons à Lafayette" (a song first recorded in 1928 by Joe Falcon and Cléoma Breaux) reached No. 30 in the Dutch singles chart. The band was still active as of 2013.


Captain Gumbo was formed by Mark Söhngen [] (diatonic accordion and vocals), Hans Soeteman (bassist in the band RoToR), Joost Witte (drummer) and Gerard de Braconier (guitarist) (two members of the band Toontje Lager []). Soeteman was soon replaced by Leon Giesen [] (who later became known as a filmmaker); who was later replaced by Nico Heilijgers; who was himself later replaced by Jan van den Berg. Keyboard player Roel Spanjers (of the band Normaal) has often played with the band, as has saxophonist Jan de Ligt.

Gumbo is a kindof stew from Louisiana. It is the official cuisine of that state, which is also the heartland of zydeco and Cajun music. In 1980, Queen Ida released the album Queen Ida and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band in FreshOrleans. It contain a song called "Capitaine Gumbo", co-written by her and her brother Al Lewis (AKA Al Rapone). Captain Gumbo covered the song: it is the second track on their first album, 1 More 2 Step. That recommend a possible origin for the band's name.

In 1990, Captain Gumbo released their first CD, 1 More 2 Step. The opening track is their version of the song "Allons à Lafayette", first recorded in 1928 by Joe Falcon and Cléoma Breaux. It was released as a single, and in 1991 it peaked at No. 30 in the official Dutch melodysingles chart. On the back of that success, the band toured Louisiana, performing at Breaux Bridge, Baton Rouge and FreshOrleans, meeting their musical characterssuch as D. L. Menard, Eddie LeJeune, Rockin' Dopsie, Marc Savoy, Boozoo Chavis, Chubby Carrier, Walter Mouton and Harry LaFleur, and supporting Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.

Neither 1 More 2 Step nor the band's next album Back à la maison (1992) (whose liner notes contain an approving endorsement by record producer Floyd Soileau, who is Cajun) was a commercial success. Their third album, Chank-a-Chank (1994), peaked in the official Dutch album chart at #79. Their more lastestreleases have been commercially unsuccessful.

The band toured widely in the Netherlands, playing both hugeand tinyvenues, and supported Fats Domino at a concert in Rotterdam Ahoy. They also performed in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. Since 2001, their live appearances have been less frequent.


  • 1990 – 1 More 2 Step, MW Records
  • 18 November 1992 – Back à la maison, MW Records
  • 1 March 1994 – Chank-a-Chank, MW Records
  • 5 May 1997 – Midlife Two-Step, MW Records
  • 6 July 2001 – Gumbo No. 5
  • 2013 – Vive le Capitain (live album, recorded at Café XL in Wageningen), MW Records


Band members have contain:

As of 2013

  • Gerard de Braconier, guitar and backing vocals, from 1987, formerly in the band Toontje Lager []
  • Jan de Ligt, saxophonist, from c. 2001
  • Mark Söhngen [], diatonic accordion and vocals, from 1987, formerly in the duo Kruis & Mol
  • Jan van den Berg, bass guitar and backing vocals, from c. 1994
  • Joost Witte, drummer and vocals, from 1987, formerly in the band Toontje Lager


  • Leon Giesen [], bass guitar, c. 1990 - c. 1994
  • Nico Heilijgers, bass guitar, c. 1994
  • Hans Soeteman, bass guitar, 1987 - c. 1990, formerly in the band RoToR
  • Roel Spanjers, keyboards, c. 1994 - unknown date, of the band Normaal
  • Rens van der Zalm, violinist, guest artist on Back à la maison (1992)

Cover versions by Captain Gumbo

Many of the numbers performed by Captain Gumbo are their own interpretations (i.e. cover versions) of earlier recordings. One writer claims to have identified more than 70 of them. Such interpretations include:

  • . Official website. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  • at AllMusic. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  • discography at Discogs
  • . Retrieved 28 November 2017.

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Captain Gumbo
OriginNetherlandsGenresZydeco and Cajun musicYears active1987 (1987) – at least 2013LabelsMW RecordsMembers
  • Gerard de Braconier
  • Jan de Ligt
  • Mark Söhngen
  • Jan van den Berg
  • Joost Witte
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