01 November 2009

Echter Multikulturalismus

Decades ago when I was learning German, I developed a liking for the music of Heino Kramm, a singer noted for his deep voice and trademark dark glasses, who specialized in rocked-up versions of traditional German folk and patriotic songs. Despite his somewhat stiff and conservative image, his clear enunciation and the simple vocabulary used in his songs made him a natural for a learner trying to get familiar with the language.

Another singer I came to like was Nina Hagen, the notoriously iconoclastic and bizarre opera-trained punk rocker originally from East Germany, whose vocal range seems greater than what should be physically possible for a human being to produce. Themes found in her songs include drugs, ghosts, lesbianism, flying saucers, abortion, death, nightmares, and God.

It would be hard to imagine two more dissimilar performers, yet I was recently startled to find this video of them singing a duet (in Anglosphere terms, this would be a bit like Lawrence Welk doing a duet with Johnny Rotten) and apparently getting along fine. I guess that, at least with some people, being cultural opposites doesn't have to mean culture wars.

I should note that Nina Hagen (whom I've seen perform live) is far more subdued here than usual; a more typical example of her act can be seen in Unbeschreiblich weiblich (Indescribably Female), a song in praise of abortion(!), while a more typical Heino offering is Die lustigen Holzhackerbuam (The Lusty Wood-Cutter Boys).

4 Comments:

Anonymous rita said...

I developed a liking for the music of Heino Kramm, a singer noted for his deep voice and trademark dark glasses, who specialized in rocked-up versions of traditional German folk and patriotic songs
You would!
Another singer I came to like was Nina Hagen, the notoriously iconoclastic and bizarre opera-trained punk rocker originally from East Germany,...
You would!
Ok, Now I'll listen to the Duet & give my critique. :)

01 November, 2009 18:19  
Anonymous rita said...

WoW! I totally loved this Pillow Talk

01 November, 2009 18:31  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

WoW! I totally loved this Pillow Talk

Cool! And quite different from anything else I can recall hearing her sing. You never quite know what you'll get with Nina Hagen.

01 November, 2009 18:50  
Blogger mendip said...

A wonderfully surreal performance - thanks! Hagen's version of White Punks On Dope, is one of my faves. And her Nunsexmonkrock is a great mess of a rock album!

02 November, 2009 13:10  

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