Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Radio East Berlin: Forgotten Music of a Lost Country

You might be interested in my recent posts on the general subject of popular music in East Germany.

So here I am talking you through a CD-R compilation of East German music. Because I am not a master of succinct expression, I have had to split this over two posts, the second of which will appear tomorrow.

If you want a copy of this disc, let me know.

A-Musik – Aktuelle Kamera
The theme tune to East Germany's TV news programme.

Uschi und der Kinderchor des Ektar-Andre-Ensembles – Der Volkspolizist
The Volkspolizei (People's Police) was East Germany's police force. Here a children's choir sing about how friendly the VoPos are as they go about their task – helping children cross the road, finding lost puppies, and combating the class enemy.

Theo Schumann Combo – Glück und Musik (Happiness & Music)
A perky example of DDR beat music.

Thomas Natschinski Gruppe – Aufstehen (Getting Up)
I imagine this song being from a film in which a load of alarm clocks go off and then you see people cheerily scoffing their breakfasts and marching off to work while singing along. They would probably be also wishing each other a hearty good morning while they are at it, perhaps also offering greetings to little birds and passing animals.

Die Alexanders – Hoffnung (Hope)
I discovered subsequently that this is actually a cover of a Crosby, Stills, and Nash tune. I find this disturbing, as I have always worked on the basis that CSN are not worth engaging with.

Thomas Natschinski Gruppe – Morgens in der Stadt (Morning in the City)
Thomas Natschinski seems be a bit of a morning person.

Dresden-Sextett – An einem Tag in September (One Day in September)
The tune here is from The Zombies' 'She's Not There', though I think the lyrics are not a direct translation.

Manfred Ludwig Septett – Morgen (Morning)
The DDR's fondness for songs about people springing out of bed in the morning may have been part of a state punctuality campaign.

Thomas Natschinski Gruppe – Mocca Milch Eisbar
In German, Eisbar means Ice Cream Bar, while Eisbär means Polar Bear.

Ute Freudenberg & Elefant – Jugendliebe (Young Love)
I am not quite sure what I like so much about this tune… it sounds worryingly like what would appear on one of those Guilty Pleasures compilations of shite music from the 1970s, yet it has a certain magic something.

Sonja Schmidt – Ein Himmelblauer Trabant (A Sky Blue Trabant)
Fraulein Schmidt is very pleased with her new Trabant.

Kinderchor – Sandmann, Lieber Sandmann (Sandman, Dear Sandman)
Not a song about the Neil Gaiman comic but rather the theme tune to a popular East German children's TV programme.

Oktoberklub – Sag Mir Wo Du Stehst (Tell Me Where You Stand)
Forwards or backwards, you have to choose. You cannot be with us (the progressive forces building socialism in the DDR) and with them (the class enemy and his friends – facism, monopoly capitalism, and US neo-imperialism) It is easy to scoff at this folk-rock classic, but there is a real power to it.

Oktoberklub – Was Wollen Wir Trinken? (What shall we drink?)
Another stormer from the socialist folk sensations. This one takes the tune from some old Breton folk song and gives it lyrics about the struggle for peace and working class solidarity embodied by the Democratic Republic. More recently the same tune was used by SCOOTER.

click here for part 2

Oktoberklub image source

Sandmann image source


Ray said...

Yes please copy me

ian said...

I will make more.

Ray said...

hey Ian, the disk fails halfway through Ein Himmelblauer Trabant - the other tracks are detected but can't be read or ripped. Could you post the rest to some fileharing site? (or burn me another CD, whichever is easier)
Lily is a big fan of Der Volkspolizist by the way - should I be worried?

ian said...

Your daughter is a good comrade.

I will make more!