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Bernthøler (or Bernthöler, as was misprinted on their own single) was a group from Brussels at the beginning of the eighties ('81-'85).


"My Suitor"
33,1 sec. - 65 Kb.
song : S. Rigot, D. Kotaji
Produced : G. Lederman
Year : 1983
Record co. : Blue Feather

Retrospective release :

October 1982
1 min 2 sec. - 122 Kb.

"You grabbed me by the hand"
July 1984
1 min 32 sec. - 180 Kb.

July 1984
1 min 39 sec - 193

songs : Drita Kotaji / S. Rigot / M. Poutte
Independent Release


The band got its name from a single with Vera Lindt who picks up the phone and says "Hello Bernthöler".


Started out in October '81 with a group-sound that was initially very influenced by the new-wave sound of those days (The Cure "A forest" etc ..) After a first single (on which Irish musician Perry Rose joined in on guitar) and a few more demo's, the group almost came to a halt. However, one of the songs on the demo's was heard by Jan Cabooter (music publicist). On his instigation the group came together again and re-recorded this song, "My Suitor".

The combination of the beautiful melody, the nostalgic atmosphere of the piece, and the strange accent of the singer (Drita is of Albanian descent) made the record stand out on the radio. Especially Gust Decoster of BRT2 was a big fan and pushed the sales figure of this little song well over 10,000.

Thanks to the relative success of "My Suitor" (John Peel had it in his playlist for some time), the band signed a deal with Blanco y Negro (WEA) in England. However, the lowbudget demo's weren't to the liking of WEA and the group were without a record deal once again.

They experimented a bit with a drummer (previously a DR-Rhythm & a TR-606 had set the beat) and a more symphonic & jazzy sound. After a disastrous gig at "Le Beau Bruxell" (on the same night that the CCC blew up a few firemen some streets away), Drita chucked it. A fortnight later there was one last concert in Liège, with Nikko Mono (among other things singer with Winston Tong & Snowy Red) as a singer, but then the curtain fell for the last time.

Manu Poutte became a director (he won a "Palme d'Or" in Canne for a short film in 1992).
Pol Fourmois played with a band named "A colorful Society" for a few years.
Drita Kotaji sells art books, but is also still involved in music with Stéphane Barberi (ex-Digital Dance).
Simon Rigot played in "Les Cactus" (with Marka and Robby of the famous band Allez Allez, Dirk Schoufs - who would later found Vaya con Dios - and Rikki of The Wild Ones, and Didier Brichaut of Mad Virgins), "The Revenge" (with Jerry WX, previously with X-pulsion and Digital Dance) and "The Resurrection" (with ex-members of The Hail Mary, a group that was heavily influenced by The Sisters of Mercy).

In 1999, Bassta, the Studio-Brussel show that airs daily between 19 and 21 hours, has chosen the song "My Suitor" for its "Bass-tard"-contest. In this contest, a number of Belgian groups compete by making a personal remix of an existing song (the year before the mission was to make a remix of "Zanna" by Luc Van Acker and Anna Domino). The groups that took the challenge were Buscemi (who won and later released his version of the song with a portuguese singer doing the vocals as a single and an bonustrack on the album "Our Girl in Havana"), De Bossen, Vive La Fête (Danny Mommens, Els Pynoo and Piet Jorens), Cinérex, The Nothing Bastards (second in the Rockrally) and Das Pop (1st in that same contest). Chantal Pattyn awarded the song the title "one of the classics of Belgian New Wave".

Band members :
- Drita Kotaji (vocals)
- Simon Rigot (guitar, sax, keyboards)
- Manuel Poutte (keyboards, guitar)
- Pol Fourmois (bass)
- Pierre Sorvil (drums)

Albums :
- none
Singles :
- Japanese garden - The Other (Putovski, 1982)
- My suitor - Emotions (Blue Feather, 1983)
Maxi's :
- My suitor (Blanco Y Negro, 1984)
Compilaties :
"My Suitor" is ook terug te vinden op :
- Witlof from Belgium - De jaren tachtig (EMI, 1992)
- Was het nu '70 of '80 volume 7 (EVA, 1998)
in 1997 maakte Simon Rigot een compilatie van studio-, live en andere opnames van de hele carrière van de groep. Deze "A history of Bernthøler 1981-1985" werd in zeer beperkte oplage aangemaakt.

Websites :
- One of the founders of the group, Simon Rigot, has his own website with more info on the group.
- The Bernthöler story told by James Nice on the Crépuscule-site

Forum :
- Read the messages/questions about Berntholer
- Add your message, question, cd- or concertreview ... about Berntholer



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Last update to this site : December 2001.

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