- Leni Schaap (Helen Shepherd) - Vocals
- Jan Schaap (RIP +) (John Shepherd) - Guitar, vocals and most of the re-arrangements of the repertoire.
- Nico Schaap (RIP +) (Nico Shepherd) - Contrabass and Vocals
1960 – 1963:
Two brothers and a sister grown up in a musical fisherman’s family in the city IJmuiden in the Netherlands. The family’s work is situated in the harbour of IJmuiden. Nico Schaap’s profession is called “porder”, which means he had to wake up local harbor workers early in the morning, his brother Jan included. Nico’s profession made sure he always had a lot of funny stories at family birthday parties ;-). Together with their sister Leni Schaap (Artist name: Helen Shepherd) they make music for fun at their home. To emphasize their musical roots, Nico and Jan made later in their career an album with their lovely mother, which contains famous old Dutch folk songs.
As a child Jan Schaap (Artist name: John Shepherd), is performing vocals in the VARA-program “De vrolijke klas”. Just after the war in 1945, at the age of 16, his father gave him a guitar and since than Jan and his guitar were inseparable. Later on Jan will study classic vocals. Helen is going in the same direction and gets educated by singing pedagogue Coby Riemersma.
Nico Schaap gets educated by the bass player of the “Noord-Hollands Philharmonisch Orchestra”.
Later on, in 1960 the be specific, they start to make professional music at the swinging “Ted Powder Kwinted”, starring Theo Kruijt as Ted Powder. In this formation they perform at many night clubs in The Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. In 1963 the two brothers and sister founded The Shepherds and started to perfect the world’s unique close harmony sound they became famous for.
During a performance in a club in a town called Zandvoort, the Shepherds got discovered by the record label Bovema. In less than no time The Shepherds are performing in TV-shows like Jan Koopmans’ Pallet Show and Willem Duys. The musical trio becomes popular with a repertory which differs from their jazz roots. The Shepherds interpreted English songs from groups as The Seekers, made their own songs from old famous Dutch folk songs as “De Scheresliep”, “Zeg Kwezelken”, “Allen die willen kap’ren varen” and “Wildet Gij Dansen”, together with religious songs. The three musicians also collaborated with Walt Disney fairytales, such as “Alice in Wonderland”, Lady & Rakker and “Bambi”.
The Shepherds are almost constantly touring the entire country without having any holidays. At first one season at the “Sleeswijkrevue met Snip & Snap”, later on they performed on cruise ships and in churches, even though the two brothers and sister are not committed to a church themselves.
Abroad they are performing in Belgium, Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia, England, USA and Japan.
Helen Shepherd reached the semi-finals of the National Dutch song festival with the songs “Over de horizon”, “Wereld” en “Ver hier vandaan”. During an illness of Jan and pregnancy of Helen, they stopped performing for a while. In 1969 they are performing a live concert together with well-known Dutch artist such as “Tante Leen”, “Johnny Jordaan”, “Cees de Lange”, “Bueno de Mesquita” and “Harry de Groot” at the Palladium in Hollywood. In the autumn of 1971 the single “Voor jou” reached the Dutch Top 40 chart lists for a couple of weeks.
21-07-1999 - Nico Schaap died at the age of 67 RIP
18-11-2016 - Jan Schaap died at the age of 87 RIP