He has a dreadlock of more than two meters long and a joint in his mouth. Aart Timmermans, a 58-year-old man who is paralyzed from neck to foot, is stretched out in his wheelchair. The rasta spirit can not be missed in his living room. Photos of his heroes Haile Selassie and Bob Marley hang on the wall, and above Timmermans a lampion winds with the colors of the Ethiopian flag.
As a boy he was already singing along for the transistor radio, while the other children went outside to play football and climb. Twenty years, that was what the doctors gave him. He would not age due to his muscle disease. Timmermans therefore decided to change his life, and to enjoy everything. So he discovered reggae. He wanted to make music like Bob Marley and live according to the rastafarian philosophy.
Timmermans, or Ras Fire, is now reggae producer, singer and songwriter, without being able to play an instrument physically. He writes one new track every week, he says proudly. Often even several. His inspiration can not be stopped. “Music is everywhere for me. The craziest things can trigger me: the second-hand dialers of a clock or the windshield wipers of a car. ”
At the age of seven, when he could still use his hands, he was already playing his sister’s acoustic guitar. The nagging tones of his own recorder had bored him. He enjoyed the guitar playing until the moment his muscles no longer functioned as they should. “I could no longer play what I wanted to play, and not more as fast as I wanted,” he sighed. “As a result, I bumped into a wall of frustration every day. I did not pull that anymore, so I put my guitar aside. ”
Only after years did Ras regain the guitar playing, but in a different way than you might be used to. “If you want to grab something and you just can not, you use a stick,” he explains. “You come up with a tool with which you can achieve what you want to achieve. Because I am physically limited, I have learned to develop how you can deal with your mind. That’s where the real power comes from. “