Street music is continuously facing regulations all around the world and unfortunately Berlin is no exception. Often due to poor transparency and enforcement of unclear busking regulations, there is a need to make a change in order to preserve an active cultural scene that takes its vibrancy from the streets!
Berlin Street Music is an advocacy group set up supporting Street Art – in particular Street Music in Berlin. Their attempt is to unite musicians, the public, policy makers, advocates, businesses, lobby groups, and anyone else involved in creating a thriving, culturally rich, and economically sustainable street art scene.
S2S met up with Geordie Little, Bennet Cerven and Stefanie Tendler who are the founders of the initiative Berlin Street Music to speak about what it takes to keep busking alive in Berlin.
S2S: How did the idea for Berlin Street Music come to life?
Chance and coincidence brought the collective “Herz & Leber” – which translates to – Heart and Liver together. It was during one of the legendary “Wild Wedding” parties at Brunnen70, where they spontaneously created a dance party – striking their audience in awe. Based on this unique experience the two founders decided to create a series of parties that would hold a surprise for their audience with each event they put together. They are known for engaging every single crew member and to amaze with their performances. S2S met up with Benny aka Bensøn Tack to portray the development of his crew.
S2S: Herz & Leber- Heart & Liver? Who came up with the name for your crew and what does it mean to you?
Musician Mike Richards, a true Welsh original, set up home in Berlin after 20 years of touring the UK and Holland. Forming his band after 3 months of arriving with Rowan Smy – guitarist and producer of Tricone Studios, Mirko Schmitt – drummer, drum teacher and session drummer from Berlin and Aries Guinto, bass guitarist and sound engineer from the Philippines. The band recorded and released their debut CD Anything & Everything in 2012, a compilation of songs written by Mike over a number of years, then produced and arranged with the help of the rest of the band. S2S met up with Mike to find out what led him to settle in Berlin.
S2S: The Black Flag in London referred to your music as “laid back Blues Rock.” How would you personally describe your music and what development has it passed through?
The Berlin Group Meystersinger (which translates as Master Singers) recently released their new album Haifischweide. Fans of Meystersinger’s Roman Shamov and Luci van Org can look forward to a good dose of comforting techno and heartfelt lyrics, presented live at WABE – the cultural institution in Pankow. Station to Station met up with the two Meystersinger to talk not only about their inspirations and style but also about their archeological process in creating songs that contain meaningful messages.
S2S: How did Meystersinger come about?
Luci: The first time we met was because of an ensuing wedding between two of our common female friends. For this occasion we formed a wedding choir. So, Roman showed up right in the center of my living room. It was almost like “love at first sight. ” We didn’t hesitate very long, as we immediately started singing and liking each other right away.
Maxim Vaga, a true Berlin original, creates a modern take on blues which allows your mind to dip deep into the history of ghostly shanties of barge haulers of the Volga river. This Friday June 20th 2014, Maxim Vaga will perform at the St. Georg in Kreuzberg. S2S met up with the musician who is inspired by great lyrical word jugglers like Poe, Kafka, Orson Welles and Knut Hamsun.
S2S: Why did you choose ‘vaga’ as your artist name?
Maxim Vaga: Well, there are several reasons. The most obvious reason of course is the connection to ‘vagabond’, but also the word ‘vague’ – which for me has a positive as well as a negative connotation, in the sense that indecisiveness can sometimes create a balance. After I wrote the song, ‘Hunger’, I read a book by John Fante, in which the main character was reading a novel called Hunger. I read this novel after. It fit surprisingly well to the song I had just written. I did some research about the author, Knut Hamsun, and found out that he was from a Norwegian area called Vaga. It was a chain of coincidences that made me keep the name.
Time Out refers to him as ‘The Maestro of the Underground.’ For over 30 years, the multi-talented Ken Parsons has been active in Berlin’s, as well as, Europe’s underground scene.
S2S met the singer, poet, cabaret artist and Celtic harp playing musician who was a member of the cult group Who’s Rachel? which was based at Tacheles in Berlin from 1987-95. Recently, Ken recorded a new cd with the producer Sarah Brightman.
S2S: You have encountered Berlin before and after the wall came down. Are there unique experiences that stand out in your memory?
Ken Parsons: Massive question. In short: before the wall came down and in the early 90’s it was more edgy, punky and had a huge squat scene in Mitte and P-Berg. It was like San Franciso in 67. Endless festival. Magic. These days it has got the ‘place to be’ label stuck to it. True but ‘trendification’ can be as bad as gentrification.
On April 24th Notes from Underground will once again let the cellar walls of St.Georg shake. The setting with the old murals in the heart of Kreuzberg is an insider tip apart from the brilliant luster and hipsterchic. Follow the sounds rising from the underground that will lead you down into the former wine cellar.
Martin Goett one of Heidelberg’s most talented singer song writers will open the night, touching the hearts of his audience with his gravelly voice. Followed by the international brass-toting, Berlin based band Strangers by Day. Drawing on influences from 50’s and 60’s rock ‘n’ roll with raw vocals and incorporating smooth harmonies from the doo-wop and soul groups of the same era, Strangers by Day deliver original tunes with a gritty vintage vibe. Join them for a night that will end with the finest vinyl tunes from the newborn label finowzoo.
S2S was in Interview with Angela Cory and Uri Mohilever from the band Strangers by Day.
The SilverWings at the airport terminal Tempelhof is one of the oldest clubs in Berlin and has an unparalleled history. After World War II, the American Air Force used the airport as a military base (Berliner Luftbrücke). During the Cold War, Soul- and Country Musicians such as Johnny Cash played in the rooms of the “Club Silver Wings”, as it was then called, then serving cheeseburgers with French Fries. This way the American G.I.s brought their homely lifestyle to Berlin and had an impact on the scene and culture of the capital. This unique atmosphere today is host to numerous parties and events.
Different!!! Is the theme of this Easter Sunday at the former US Army Officer’s Club.
The mission of S2S is to encourage the flow of creative energy and to bring people who are kindred spirits together for collaborations. With that in mind, The Trouble Notes, Hashart, and a bunch of other amazing folks will all come together for “Notes from Underground” at one of our favorite venues – St.Georg.
Follow the sound that will lead you to the depths of St.GEORG. Instead of stumbling into Ritter Butzke take the stairs that lead you down to a cellar with raw walls, graffiti art and an edgy vibe, which will be the setting for “Notes from Underground” this Friday.
Not for the sake of wanting to be different, but because it is boring when same and same alike mingle, we are inviting you to an unusual collaboration – a collection of the finest tunes presented by musicians that have come together from the streets of New York City and Berlin.
HAPPY B-DAY NACHBARSCHAFTS BASS!
Get ready this Saturday for the birthday bash of Nachbarschafts Bass at st.GEORGE in Kreuzberg!
As a DJ collective they go by the name Bass Gang. Creating a gateway between Hip Hop, Ghetto Style and electronic influences, their main intention is to create a new sound, differing from the standard Hip Hop tunes. Their music perfectly matches the urban edge of Berlin.
Based in Berlin, the esteemed baroque ensemble Musica Sequenza was founded in New York City by conductor/bassoon virtuoso Burak Ōzdemir in 2008.
Burak Ōzdemir believes that contemporary society has lost enthusiasm and “become foreign to the poetry of love.” Musica Sequenza rediscovered the Seicento, a period in Italian history and culture which occurred during the 17th century. Ōzdemir explains that “especially in Italy this century was devoted to the relinquishing of god-fearing sentiment. Women were described as diaphanes, love became a storm cloud, their enchanting odor a sweet allurement.”
Abigail Dyer, a dramatic soprano born in West Orange, New Jersey, is part of this year’s “30 Tage Kunst,” a cultural series in Berlin launched by the actor Hans Brückner in the year of 2009. This year it will be hosted by the orangelab located at Ernst-Reuter-Platz. Artists and people interested in art have the entire month of November to watch and enjoy a variety of different acts and performances. Stefanie Tendler of S2S met up with Abigail Dyer to discuss her passion for Wagner, the city of Berlin and a fortunate meeting that had an influence on the development of her early career.
S2S: You trained as an actress in Adler Technique, as well as a singer in Berlin. Has there been a tight connection between you and this city ever since?
It all started one fateful summer night along the east river in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, when violinist Bennet “The English” Cerven was playing a loft party overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Fellow musician B-Zy Brain spontaneously joined him in an impromptu jam session. They found their third member, drummer Olli/Oliver Maguire, on the road and became The Trouble Notes. After New York City, London, Dublin and Prague, The Trouble Notes’ whirlwind tour finally led them to the streets of Berlin. Stefanie Tendler struck up a conversation with Bennet Cerven and The Trouble Notes when she discovered the trio playing at Warschauer Strasse the other night.
S2S: What meaning does street music have in your life as a band?
The Trouble Notes: There is no better way to show people what you do than to stand on a corner (or under a bridge!), pop open a case and just play.
“I prefer to consider electronic club-music as a unique thing. And this means to me no idols, no icons, and no heroes.”
Matteo Bovio, also known as Qubo is a DJ and Producer, born in Varese, Italy in 1983. When he was eight years old he began to play the piano. From then on his passion for music kept growing and he became familiar with the guitar and bass. But his passion for music didn’t stop with instruments…
S2S met up with Matteo Bovio to find out how he discovered his true love – electronic music.
S2S: Do you have a special memory regarding your first encounter with electronic music?
MB: I consider myself lucky because ever since I was very little, I’ve been surrounded by true music lovers. If I think of the people who have influenced my musical culture, the first thing that strikes my mind, is that all of them shared one thing: an open attitude.
“It´s all up to you. You can start with nothing.”
One morning after a long night out in Berlin two guys randomly met on the train and just started talking about music. They went on and on talking about nothing in particular and all of a sudden came to the point where they decided to work on a project together. These two were actually two very talented dudes and their project, “Tanaka Canziani,” would mix music and poesy. There is no sign of commercialism in their elaborate modulations – they tell stories created from memories.