Logo website In Memory of Richenel



Richenel, a Dutch singer born Hubertus Richenel Baars in 1957, was known for his unique blend of pop, soul, and new wave music. During the period from 2012 to 2020, Richenel experienced a resurgence in his career, largely driven by the reissue of his earlier works and renewed interest in his music.
Here are some key highlights from this period:

During his early performing years Richenel attracted attention because of his androgynous excentricity. His exotic looks and sophisticated presence have been an inspiration for many creative souls. He began his stage performing career as a “transformer artist”, starting the show off with A female silhouette, then gradually changing into androgynous to end as a male. Portraying a female silhouette yet not being a dragqueen provoked questions like: if he was a transvestite or transsexual.., yet his answer was…, “it’s strictly business”dááárlinnggg!!!

During the spring of 1979 he was asked to join the fusion funk/rock formation “LUXOR” And became their leadsinger/front(wo)man, singing live on stage. What was supposed to be a one-off, became one of Amsterdam’s most popular crossover acts, soon to be the “in-house band of several of the capitol’s most trendy nightclubs.

Yet before that happened he was supposed to become the leadsinger of yet another Dutch hit formation, “SPARGO”, with whom he already started rehearsing, untill their guitarist found out that Richenel performed in “Drag”, which made them decide otherwise and take Lilian Jackson instead, which proved to be the right choice after all.

Right from the beginning of the 80’s Richenel studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy as a stylist first and then changed to theatre-(set and costume design). There he met two of the founders of the multi-media collective “FETISJ”, that soon after became the label on which audio-cassettes from different bands were released.


Together with some “FETISJ” musicians Richenel began to explore the new medium: computer, to create electronical sounds and music with.
In 1981 “FETISJ” released Richenel’s first ever solo project on MC-called “LA DIFERENCIA” containing original material written and co-produced by Richenel.

His music stood out during this postpunk/new wave era because of it’s funky bassgrooves, 80’s actuality and Richenel’s outstanding voice. At that time Richenel performed with two bands, “LUXOR”and his “FETISJ”band that worked under the artists name, and with whom he featured as support-act for: KC & Sunshine band / MAZE feat. Frankie Beverly / INGRAMM BROTHERS. Originally both bands attracted different audiences which soon changed into an interesting socio-cultural blend with one main ingredient, Richenel’s live performance! Press called him a gender-bender who presented his audience with a “Pop & Peepshow”.

Returning from a trip to London where he met Richard Coles (Communards) and Sarah- Jane Morris, Richenel literally found a recording contract in his mailbox, send to him by a Belgian independent label “MEGADISC”.
He signed up but the first demo’s were rejected, including the early (Chicago-housetrack)
STATUE OF DESIRE“, produced by American bassplayer “Jamaal Adeen Tacuma”.


Things changed when Richenel heard a French song “L’ESCLAVE ENDORMI” on the Brussels radio which struck him on the spot. It was to become his very first single produced by “Dirk Blanchart”. Inspite of all warnings against recording such a song instead of a nice discotrack, Richenel went ahead and recorded “L’ESCLAVE ENDORMI“, an semi-operatic song where he could demonstrate his vocal abilities.
It was released in 1985 and became an overnight avant-gardist cult hit, receiving raving critics from the British music press.

He recorded several songs which ultimately resulted in his debut album “STATUE OF DESIRE“.

12 inch - Richenel - L'Esclave Endormi

Richenel was proven right by recording “L’ESCLAVE ENDORMI” when in 1986 the prestigious in London based “4 AD” label, released a remix version of it wich in 1987 was awarded with the Dutch “Silver Harp Award”.

Also in 1986 he was approached by hit producers duo “Jochem Fluitsma & Eric van Tijn” (Mai-Tai, Dolly Dots), who offered him a contract with the CBS/Epic label.
By the end of 1986 the single “DANCE AROUND THE WORLD” was released in Holland but failed to get much airplay nor enter the charts. This all suddenly changed when in march/april 1987 the single went in the top 3 chart in Italy! The Italians loved it! The single became a major international hitsucces all over Europe.
It featured on Richenel’s 2nd album “A YEAR HAS MANY DAYS“, including the hitsingles: “TEMPTATION” & “DON’T SAVE YOUR LOVE“. The 4th single “50/50 MAKES A 100 %” didn’t get the attention from the radio stations.

The album track “SECRET WISH” was covered by the american soul/disco formation “THE S.O.S. BAND”.

A YEAR HAS MANY DAYS - Album - Richenel

In 1989 his third album “DEEP AS BLUE” was released, including the singles; “ARE YOU JUST USING ME” (written by George Michael under his pseudonym R.Phillips), “TURN MY PAGE“, “BILLIE” (Richenel’s tribute to Billie Holiday) and “LOVE YOU LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW“. 

Also in 1989 Richenel featured as leading role in the German Musical “KAMASUTRA”.

The fourth album “OASIS” was released in 1992, produced by Henk Temming & Sander van Herk (Goede Doel). This album contains the singles “OASIS” and the dance-hit “FASCINATION FOR LOVE“, which scored high in the French dance-charts and was a hit in the New York underground club-scene.

DEEP AS BLUE - Album - Richenel

The fifth album “CLOSER” was released in 1994, but due to a lack of promotion, never received the attention it deserved. It included the singles “DEEPER” and “HEY LET ME TELL YOU“, while the track “CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY MIND” was only released on several compilation CD’s.

After this disappointment Richenel decided to move to Spain and stop singing. During the three year period that followed Richenel hardly sang a note until the summer of 1997. On Ibiza he met the Spanish producer Tommy Lopez who convinced him to start recording again. So they started in november 1997. By january 1999 the album “ARIES” is finished. To promote the album they formed the “ARIES” band that soon became the hottest local act whilec selling the album during concerts. Unfortunately, a  physical version of the album “ARIES” is not available.

Together with another bandmember, keyboardplayer / producer J.E. Nilsson, Richenel records a cover 12 inch version of the old “Bobby Hebb” hit “SUNNY“, which receives good critics and airplay on local and national radio. As part of radio SER promotion they play the Zaragossa (fiesta del Pilar) patron Saint-day for a 250.000 crowd.

CLOSER - Album - Richenel

Richenel decides to go to Ibiza in october 2000 where he meets German DJ-JOY who, after hearing “SUNNY“, invites Richenel to join him on a tour through Switzerland that winter. They meet up again in London in November. Before starting the tour, they record two tracks with M. Perry and M. Schwartz (Massive Attack).

One of the tracks,”RIGHT VIBE“, meant to be released by Hed Kandi,  but due to internal politics never materializes.
In the period after the split of the band ARIES, Richenel records several songs with different  producers.

The first recording was a remix of Bowie’s “LET’S DANCE“, produced by Tommy Lopez en J.E. Nilsson, released by the “Alabianca label”. In September he records “MISSING YOU”, “JOY AND HAPPINESS” en “HIGH ON YOU”, produced by Joris Peeters for Cruz Productions. The recording sessions finished in Antwerp (Belgium).


On Ibiza in 2001 Richenel records two songs with Lenny Karup from the Ibizarre label : “SUMMERSONG” en “SMOOTH TEMPTATION“, both lyrics by Richenel.

A remake of DANCE AROUND THE WORLD has been recorded in Italy, on wich “FLASH IN THE NIGHT” became the floorfiller, produced by “Intralazzi” for the DiPiu label in Milano.

For the Reshape label, a sub-label of Dipiu, Richenel records for the Base Boys in 2001 four tracks for the debut album “THE BASE“, from which the 12 inch singles “BASE 80’s“, “RICH-A-PELLA” and “GROOVETECH” were successfull in the club scene. After this, the Base Boys released the 12″single “METAMORPHIC ALLEGORY“, also with leadvocals by Richenel.

Between 2001 and 2003 Richenel lives in Lugano (Zwitserland) where he records with producer G. Vidali. Several tracks will be released later on the (2008) album “ARTIST IN EXILE“.

Metamorphic Allegory - Single - The Base Boys featuring Richenel

In 2005 Richenel records with Hans van Hagen the re-make of “TURN MY PAGE“.
In that period he travels to Italy a lot to record with G. Vidali; “FREAKY THANG“, (released as a 12 inch single on ‘1st GROOVE Records’, “FLIGHT 365”, produced by D. Fattahi, and “LOVE GENERATION” produced by Dj FOPP.

For the “MAMBO MENORCA CLASSIC CHILL” album , Richenel recorded two songs “WALK ON THE WILD SIDE” en “RUNNING” produced by Tommy Lopez.

In 2008 the PRESSURE ZONE label released the 4CD-Box “Ultimate Drive” on which you can find new remixes of “RIGHT VIBE” and “SO REAL“, originally recorded in 2000. These remixes were made in coöperation with David Clayton, who also worked as a keyboard player on “DEEP AS BLUE“.

By the end of december 2008, he released the dance/lounge album “ARTIST IN EXILE” by the RPM label in Italy.  This final album is a compilation of Richenel’s recordings, made over a decade with several producers he met during his Exile period 1995-2005. For Richenel it means farewell to the disco period. 

ARTIST IN EXILE - Album - Richenel

Since 1999 Richenel successfully works the mediterranean jazz scene.
Richenel decided to move back to the Netherlands due to familiar circumstances.
On the 27th of March 2009 his first performance , after all those years, was well received at the trendy Club Dauphine in Amsterdam.

Richenel is back and made the definite switch from Pop/Disco/Dance to his beloved Jazz music.
Now it’s time for the new Richenel! With lots of great jazzy songs he performs on several stages, mainly in countries like France and Spain, where he first began touring with pianist Fabio Miano.

Recently he made his comeback on the Dutch scene again, warmly welcomed by both those who do, and don’t know him, as a new generation appeared since his big hit in 1987.

During the period from 2012 to 2020, Richenel experienced a resurgence in his career, largely driven by the reissue of his earlier works and renewed interest in his music. Here are some key highlights from this period:

Also in 2012, Richenel’s early work, particularly from the 1980s, saw a revival. His debut album, “DEEP AS BLUE” and several singles were reissued, attracting attention from a new generation of listeners and collectors of vintage pop and electronic music.

Labels such as Music From Memory reissued his music and released 2 EP’s: “LA DIFERENCIA” and “PERFECT STRANGER“, which helped introduce his work to a broader, more international audience.

Richenel performed at various events and festivals, capitalizing on the renewed interest in his music. These performances often included both his classic hits and newer material.
He collaborated with other artists and producers, blending his signature sound with contemporary influences.

In the later part of this period, Richenel faced significant health challenges.
In 2019, it was reported that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite his illness, he remained active in the music scene, showing resilience and dedication to his craft.

Richenel’s influence on the Dutch music scene remained strong. His unique style and contributions to the genres of pop, soul, and electronic music were celebrated by both old fans and new listeners.
His music continued to be sampled and appreciated within the music community, underscoring his lasting impact on the industry.

Richenel passed away on March 19, 2020, but his legacy lives on through his timeless music and the lasting impression he made on the music world.

In Memory of Richenel