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Cornelis Vreeswijk (August 8, 1937 – November 12, 1987) was a singer-songwriter, poet and actor who was born in IJmuiden in the Netherlands but moved to Sweden with his parents in 1949, at the age of twelve. He trained as a social worker and hoped to become a journalist but became instead a musician whose idiosyncratic humor and social engagement are still gaining him new fans.
Cornelis Vreeswijk explained in one of his few interviews that he had taught himself to sing and play in the fifties by imitating his first idols Josh White and Leadbelly. His first album, Ballader och ofÃ¶rskÃ¤mdheter (Ballads and Insults, 1964), was a hit which immediately gained him a large following among the emerging radical student generation. His abrasive, frequently political lyrics and unconventional delivery were a deliberate break with what he was later to describe as a Swedish song tradition of pretty singing and harmless lyrics, "a hobby for the upper classes". Influenced by jazz and blues and especially by the singing style and social criticism of Georges Brassens, Vreeswijk "speak-sings&qu...