Passion Fruit was a Bubblegum Dance group consisting of three girls of Dutch, Spanish and German descent:
Maria Serrano Serrano (November 26, 1973 - November 24, 2001)
Nathaly(ie) van het Ende (January 2, 1975 - November 24, 2001)
Debby (Deborah St. Marteen) (born 1973 in Delft)
Named after the tropical fruit, Passion Fruit burst into the local scene in June 1999 with the top ten dance-pop “The Rigga-Ding-Dong-Song”. “Wonderland”, “Sun Fun Baby” and “Bongo Man” followed in 2000 and 2001, all making the top 40 on the German singles chart.
Their style is sweet and bouncy, with sugar-coated lyrics and catchy rhythms, reflecting the characteristics of a passion fruit . Passion Fruit’s lyrics are mainly in English, but occasionally some Spanish, German and Dutch is included. Established in 1999, Passion Fruit originally consisted of three female members and a male member who performed the rapping parts. It was this group that performed The Rigga Ding Dong Song, which was the group’s most successful single, reaching the top 10 in 14 countries, including number 9 in Germany and number 1 in Mexico. The original line-up can be seen in the single’s cover sleeve and video.
The four original members were:
Blade (Manye Thompson)
Dawn (Viola Schubbe)
Pearl (Carla Sinclair)
MC Steve (Mario Tub)
Due to the exit of MC Steve in October 1999 and tensions within the group, record company X-Cell Records decided not to continue with the project. Subsequently, the management team that created the group found a new line-up and a new record company and kept the name Passion Fruit to leverage the success of the first single.
Nathaly(ie) van het Ende – a background singer, dancer and much sought-after model, who was the second runner up in the 1995 Miss Holland pageant and appeared in many music videos
Debby (Deborah) St. Marteen – a dancer and model who appeared in many music videos for Dutch and Belgian artists
Maria Serrano Serrano – a trained nurse who was also a dancer, model and background singer for various artists
While Marie, Debby and Nathaly sang some vocals, the lead vocals for the songs, including The Rigga Ding Dong Song, were performed by Cuban-German singer Leticia Pareja-Padron.
On November 24, 2001, the group was on board of the Crossair Flight 3597 from Berlin to Zurich when it crashed into a wooded range of hills four kilometres (2.5 miles) short of the runway on approach towards Zurich International Airport, near the town of Bassersdorf. Maria Serrano-Serrano and Nathaly van het Ende died along with La Bouche’s vocalist Melanie Thornton, who was also on board of the plane, while Debby St. Marteen survived with serious injuries along with eight other people.
In December 2001, Passion Fruit’s management decided to donate all the proceeds from their single “I’m Dreaming of...a Winter Wonderland” to the victims and survivors of the crash.
No new formation of the band has been planned.
As of 2006, Debby continues to have ongoing treatments for her injuries from the crash. She occasionally posts messages on the official Passion Fruit website, usually each November around the anniversary of the plane crash to remember her beloved friends, Maria and Nathaly. She currently lives in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands. On December 5, 2006, to mark the fifth anniversary, she appeared in an interview on the ZDF television show "Hello Germany" which showed her visiting the site of the crash.
2009: Leticia release the single Cafe Nero.
2010: A new version of The Rigga Ding Dong Song was release by Leticia, the tune will be included on her debut album Summer Feeling
06/05/2008 - Biography last updated Sun, November 07th 2010