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My Story

This is my grandson, Noa Amarú, and I in our garden in the Netherlands last summer. We're watching a bumblebee on a marigold flower. Noa gave me the name, Babún; so, I decided to use it as my 'artist name'. He recently explained that it's actually pronounced "Pábun".

My actual name is Heinrich Dahms. I've been singing as long as I can remember and learnt to play the guitar and read music at 15, when my father gave me my first guitar (an Aria 588 Classical), which I still have today. My guitar has always been my 'go to' mindfulness zone. I always dreamt about being a performer - a pop star, like Dylan and Bowie - so when I was about 16, I learnt a song really well (by Cat Stevens, I think), and signed up for a talent show in the local big town. I went to the show with my guitar, and waited backstage to be called on. I was scared shitless! When my name finally came up, I grabbed my guitar and escaped through the backstage exit. That was the one and only time I tried to do a live performance. I don't know how they do it!

As a doctor's son from a lineage of European ancestors, I was born into a privileged world surrounded by inequality and suffering. After finishing high school, I went to medical school, but soon realised that I could never be a doctor and switched to the Arts. I graduated in Political Philosophy and Psychology. During my undergraduate years, I became besotted with arthouse cinema, and my friend, André Roothman and I bought a 16mm Bolex hand-cranked camera and started making short films. After graduation, I went straight into the film industry, where I met Michèle, my life partner of the last 40 years, and also the producer of my films. My children, Catarina Aimée (cata.pirata of and Alexander ( are both artists and musicians.

I recently completed a long documentary, MY SOUL DRIFTS LIGHT UPON A SEA OF TREES, and am currently writing a fiction screenplay set in Apartheid South Africa of the early 50s.