This songbook is clearly political literature and music. It was written in the context of the anti-nuclear movement, which was formed as a social movement in the 1970s and was particularly strong in Germany in an international comparison. The movement had a lasting impact on public discourse in the Federal Republic for decades and, thanks to its perseverance, led to the shutdown of Germany's last three nuclear power plants (Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2), which were still in operation, on April 15, 2023. In this respect, the musical-political reference to the present is easy to recognize.
The handy booklet was designed for use at demonstrations. The editors of the Bremen Citizens' Initiative against Nuclear Power Plants (BBA) write in the preface: "This songbook was created out of our need to always have to walk around with 4 or 5 different booklets when we want to sing something. It is therefore predominantly a 'songbook', so we have refrained from giving explanatory texts on the origin of the songs and on the struggles at the respective sites. In the index, therefore, reference is made to text booklets, song books and records, which contain more content. [...] Send us new songs and write which ones could be left out because they are not sung anyway. Unfortunately, we couldn't record all the songs we collected, because you're supposed to take the book to the next demo conveniently."
Obvious is the do-it-yourself approach of the publication, which was created with a typewriter and supplemented by numerous handwritten headings, musical notations, additional texts and drawings. Approximately 100 songs with German lyrics are collected on 230 closely printed pages. These were primarily arranged according to the locations of nuclear power plants, i.e. there are, for example, songs about Brokdorf, Gorleben or Rehling near Augsburg. But Switzerland as a nuclear power nation is also sung about, as is the French community of Malville. Here the internationality of the movement is indicated. In addition, there are songs of a general character, for example the "Anti Paranoia Blues", "Das Lied vom Schutzmann" or "Das 'Es-kann-gar-nichts-passieren'-Lied".
In this second edition, some things have been redone, revealing the vitality of the anti-nuclear movement at the end of the 1970s: "Many songs that were written last year have been re-recorded. We have left out a few old songs. The sheet music for all the songs is now printed. We have tried to keep the melodies in singable pitches. [...] Harmonies are given for all the melodies, in a uniform notation." At the end of the book there are also instructions on how to write songs yourself. It can be stated that this is a document of the times, which places next to the political impetus the idea of a musical grassroots movement, in which everyone can and should participate.
Sometimes chance plays into your hands. In the foyer of our University of the Arts we found this fine music album. Someone had left it there for us to take home or had given it away. Now it has become part of our collection, so it has stayed in the house, so to speak.
This Koschat album is the first part of a multi-volume edition and was composed or compiled by Thomas Koschat (1845-1914). In the course of his life, the "Carinthian song prince" created an extensive body of work, which took up and further developed the Carinthian folk song tradition. Carinthian songs refer to the southernmost region of Austria or to the province of Carinthia (state capital: Klagenfurt am Wörthersee).
Starting from Viktring near Klagenfurt on Lake Wörthersee, Koschat was drawn to the Vienna Court Opera, where he was later director of the choir for many years. With his song arrangements and new compositions he achieved great popularity and even toured Europe and America. In his native Austria, he received fame and honor. Even beyond that, throughout the German-speaking world, his œuvre received much recognition. His most famous piece is certainly the "Jägerständchen", nowadays better known as the "Schneewalzer".
In this very nicely designed edition of sheet music, which was published in 1895 by a Leipzig publishing house, 20 of his songs or arrangements of folk songs are collected. The texts are in the Carinthian dialect. Koschat's prefaces state: "As a result of several inquiries, especially from northern Germany, concerning the pronunciation and accentuation of certain dialectal sounds marked by special signs, I see myself compelled to send a few hints in advance of this edition of my folk compositions."
The short songs, mostly only 2 to 3 pages long, have titles like "Karntner G'müath", "Büaberl, merk dir's fein" or "Ew'ge Liab". Only the last piece called "Am Wörther See" is more extensive and contains 5 Carinthian waltzes.
How productive and popular Thomas Koschat has been can be seen in the publisher's advertisements included in the album. There, on several pages, quite different editions of the composer's music are advertised, with arrangements (some by third parties) for various instruments and instrumentations. The highest opus number is 100, twenty years before the composer's death. Apparently there was a great demand for his works, which are catchy and dance-like throughout. Most of the pieces are short waltzes.
Berlin-based Film Distribution & Publishing Salzgeber, which specializes in queer issues, released this DVD in 2007, which contains three short documentaries by Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss. The two US-Americans were born in the mid-1950s and have been making documentaries together since the early 1980s. The lesbian couple has run Jezebel Productions, a small and independent film production company based in New York, since 1984.
Do you know the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, a 16-piece big band? Black and white women played together as equals in this formation. The group grew out of a Mississippi Delta schoolgirl band founded by a school principal in 1939. In 1941, the glamorous Anna Mae Winburn became the new leader and the singer of the big band. Other professional musicians such as Vi Burnside and Ernestine "Tiny" Davis also joined in 1941. From then on, the big band evolved into "America's greatest all girl band" (a slogan emblazoned on the tour bus). During the 2nd World War, the breakthrough came. Nevertheless, the Sweethearts had a hard time making it in the music business because they were a "mixed race" band. They played primarily for black audiences and toured the U.S. together on a bus. "We ate together, slept together and lived together. Our only goal was to bring music to the people. [...] We were professionals, like the men. [...] Louis Armstrong was one of our dearest friends. He liked us personally. So did Count Basie or Billie Holiday. [...] Armstrong even tried to poach Tiny Davis. He offered her ten times as much." Tiny: "I didn't go because I liked the girls too much. I loved them." "We were attached to each other. [...] We also worked with Ella Fitzgerald. She became a very good friend," Anna Mae Winburn reports. The band even performed in Europe, playing for American soldiers. In Germany alone, the women spent six months and gave concerts there, for example, at the Nuremberg Opera House. After the war, the band suffered from returning male musician colleagues who now got the jobs. In addition, many female bandmates started families and could not be adequately replaced. By the end of the 1940s, the big band gradually disintegrated, not least because this type of swing was losing popularity due to newer musical developments (keyword: bebop). The half-hour documentary, simply titled "International Sweethearts of Rhythm", was released in 1986 and features interviews with the protagonists as well as a lot of archival footage that attests to the popularity of the big band in the 1940s, as well as the first-rate quality of its music.
The 1988 film "Tiny & Ruby - Hell Divin' Women" is dedicated to the two African-American women Ernestine "Tiny" Davis & Ruby Lucas, who have been a lesbian couple for over 40 years. They met and fell in love in the band Tiny Davis and her Hell Divers. Virtuoso trumpeter and vocalist Ernestine "Tiny" Davis - she was appreciatively called the "female Satchmo" - led the professional all-female band from 1947 until the early 1960s, after she quit the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. The combo played an entertaining mix of blues, swing, and rhythm and blues. Ruby Lucas acted first as a driver, and later as the band's bassist, drummer and pianist. After divorcing Tiny Davis (in 1946), who had three children, Ruby and the band leader became a couple. Then, in the mid-1950s through the early 1960s, Tiny and Ruby ran a gay/lesbian club together in Chicago called the Gay Spot. The house band was the Hell Divers. The 27-minute film presents the two women and their shared musical life story through interviews and archival footage. The film also reveals the very different personalities of the ladies: here the fun-loving full-blooded musician in the spotlight (Tiny), there the reserved organizer in the background (Ruby).
The 45-minute film "Maxine Sullivan - Love to be in love" is about the pop/jazz singer from Pittsburgh who became successful in New York. Her life dates: 1911-1987. "She had a direct singing style, simple but with tremendous sense of rhythm. Just perfect." (Scott Hamilton, bandleader & saxophonist) While she had no formal musical training, Maxine Sullivan came from a family of musicians. All ten family members played some instrument or sang. The kind of music with which she achieved fame was called "sweet swing." Among other things, she sang swing versions of classical works and had a huge hit called "Loch Lomond." She performed with Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong and worked on Broadway as well as in film. Sullivan toured Britain, where she also scored hits. "I slowly broke away from folk and returned to my passion, jazz." (Maxine Sullivan) In 1957, she retired from show business for 12 years to devote herself to her family - and resumed her singing career at the age of 58. She also played trombone and flugelhorn from the 1950s. At an advanced age, she completed two tours of Japan. Starting in 1983, she recorded a new album every three months and formed a permanent band around her, with which she toured the world. She was a Dixieland and Swing veteran and reached a large audience of old-time jazz lovers. The film by Greta Schiller and Andrea Weiss saw the light of day in 1991 and documents the fascinating life/music story of the African-American singer on the basis of numerous archive material and self-conducted interviews with companions.
In 2007, printing house Stürken | Albrecht from Bremen organized the 'Battle of Print' design competition for the first time. "From the very beginning, the aim of the 'Battle of Print' was to establish optimum networking between the printing house and creative professionals as well as the business community in and around Bremen," says a statement from the company. Since then, a motto for a calendar has been chosen each year, for which designers from the northwest of Germany can submit designs. The best submissions are selected and distributed via a cross-media campaign combining print media, social media, classic online communication and an exhibition including a vernissage.
The design competition is now organized in cooperation with other regional organizations, including, for example, the Kommunikationsverband Wirtschaftsraum Bremen e.V. and the Wilhelm Wagenfeld Foundation. In 2018, the Weserburg or the Center for Artist's Publications and the Klaus Kuhnke Institute for Popular Music (KKI) also participated in the competition under the motto 'Hands on Vinyl'. The six-member jury included Peter Schulze, the founder of the KKI, and Klaus Voormann, the musician and graphic designer from the Beatles' circle.
The motto 'Hands on Vinyl' aimed to stimulate re-designs of LP covers. In other words, the task was to redesign existing vinyl albums. Designs were to include the front and back covers of the records, as well as the respective record labels (in the center), and were to be submitted in the original sizes. From the entries, the three best were awarded prizes. Nine additional designs were included in the calendar, which impressively celebrates record cover art.
First place went to Fabian Giering from Bremerhaven (study: Digital Media Production / Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences) with a re-design of the album 'The Beautiful Game' (2016) by US funk band Vulfpeck (see the right-hand side of the photo; the left-hand side of the photo shows the back of the calendar). Second place went to Asja Beckmann from Bremen (study: Illustration and Typography / Bremen University of the Arts) with her reinterpretation of 'Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret', an album by the British synthpop duo Soft Cell from 1981. Third place went to Ivana Kleßen from Bremen (study: Communication Design / Wandsbek School of Art), who redesigned the album 'Dynasty' (1979) by the US hard rock band Kiss.
At one time, radios, record players and television sets were produced in Bremen and enjoyed great popularity. Originally, Otto Hermann Mende had founded the company Radio H. Mende in Dresden in 1923. Since the company had been involved in the German armaments industry during the Second World War, the factory was destroyed by the Allies. In 1947 it was rebuilt in Bremen by Martin Mende, the nephew of the founder. Due to protests, the family or company name was slightly modified. From then on, the company bore the name Nordmende and developed into one of the leading German manufacturers of consumer electronics in the post-war period.
Alongside other German companies such as Metz, Saba, Grundig and Telefunken, Bremen's Nordmende held its own on the international market. From the beginning of the 1950s, television sets were produced in addition to radios and record players, and the sets were exported to more than 100 countries. There was a kind of gold-digger mood at Nordmende and so further factories were built in the Bremen area.
One of Nordmende's trademarks was its modern product design. In particular, a mobile transistor radio called "Transita" represented the young generation's urge for freedom and coolness, as well as the sound of the time: the transition from the rock'n'roll of the 1950s to the beat music of the 1960s. "Transita" was practical, because its compact dimensions and battery operation meant it could easily be taken with you wherever you went, allowing you to receive the exciting new music wherever you went.
At the end of the 1970s, Nordmende fell into crisis, similar to other German manufacturers, e.g. Saba or Telefunken. All three companies mentioned were taken over by the French company Thomson and then successively liquidated or rationalized away. Despite support from the Bremen Senate, the Nordmende factories in Bremen and the surrounding area had to be closed. However, Nordmende's brand rights were sold on and so "Transita" experienced a rebirth in 2017 as a Nordmende DAB digital radio in retro design.
The KKI is part of the Bremen Archives Working Group, which brings together 40 archives from Bremen and Bremerhaven. On May 2, the Wittheit zu Bremen, a scientific society of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, awarded the Bremen Archives Working Group a recognition prize for local history research, more precisely for "securing and processing important Bremen sources as well as successful public relations work". We are pleased together with the colleagues of the working group and take the award as an incentive for a committed continuation of the cooperation. We would also like to thank Sigrid Dauks, Director of the University Archives of the University of Bremen, for accepting the award and for her speech of thanks. More information about the working group can be found here: https://www.bremer-archive.de
Whether the East is really red is being hotly debated again these days. The war in Ukraine and the alliance between Russia and China provide occasions to think again about geopolitical divisions such as East versus West or communism versus capitalism. It is important to remember that such dualisms are exacerbations and that the world is de facto more colorful or multifaceted.
A food for thought in this direction provides this box with three vinyl records and an accompanying booklet. The box is dedicated to China and contains the People's Opera or the epic "The East Is Red", which was created for the 15th anniversary of the People's Republic (founding year: 1949) in 1964. In it, the chronology of the Chinese Revolution is traced.
"The East Is Red" was also made into a film. The film was released in China in 1965 and shows the historical events in a stylized production, which is strongly influenced by Maoism and already foreshadows the upcoming Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). In a pompous visual language, huge state buildings as well as crowds of people are depicted, singing and dancing in synchronization. This is accompanied by a huge orchestra composed of both traditional Chinese and classical European instruments. The massive choral singing is repeatedly interrupted by solo arias and spoken text passages.
The box set here contains the soundtrack of the film. The subtitle says: "A Pageant of the Revolution, Performed in Peking by 3,000 workers, peasants, students and soldiers of the People's Republic of China". Curious is the fact that the vinyl record box was not released in China but in the USA, in 1971 by the Brooklyn/New York based label Paredon Records (1970-1985), which specialized in revolutionary, left-wing movements and their respective protest music.
The pronounced political impetus to be found in this box stimulates reflections on supposedly clear boundaries between East and West or communist and "free" states. Not least the fact that people from China also study at the University of the Arts Bremen (as well as people from Russia and Ukraine) should give pause for thought. But the boundary between classical and popular music is also crossed in this production. This is literally music of/for the masses.
With a warm embrace Claudia Roth (the German Minister of State for Culture and Media) said goodbye to Peter Schulze (the Spiritus Rector of the KKI) from his position as Artistic Director of the Bremen trade fair jazzahead!. He shared this leadership for many years with Prof. Ulrich Beckerhoff, who also stepped down to pass on the artistic direction to Götz Bühler.
In the context of the Bremen trade fair jazzahead! the dear and esteemed colleagues from the Jazz Institute Darmstadt (Germany) have visited us. With Arndt Weidler and Marie Härtling we talked shop and indulged in culinary and musical delights. Long live jazz and the "international understanding" power of archival expertise!
The Bremen trade fair jazzahead! is coming up and we are of course there again. This time we had an extra giveaway produced that promotes the KKI with the slogan "Where Jazz Is Popular", because of course jazz is popular with us! In addition, we have developed an animated presentation together with the jazz department of the University of the Arts Bremen, which will be shown during the Clubnight on Friday (28.04.) in the jazz club or the Mensa of the UA Bremen. The show starts at 7:30 pm.
By the way: If you would like to have a guided tour through the archive rooms of the KKI beforehand, you can come to the KKI on 28.04., at 6:15 pm. The tour can be offered in German and English.
At the beginning of 2022, we took over the large collection of Bremen's Mohns Mohnssen in his will, who passed away in 2021. 300 boxes of the finest US country music. The only question was: Where to put them? First we rented an external storage facility. Then we moved them to our archive rooms in the University of the Arts Bremen, where they stood around in the hallway for a few months. Now they have been moved again - props to the hard-working colleague Till! - and are now no longer blocking the vinyl shelves.
We have parted with two historic studio tape machines (models from the 1950s and 1960s respectively) that had been sitting unused in our archives for many years. A passionate collector from Trier won the bid. We therefore know that they are in good hands. A win-win situation.
When this book was published 28 years ago, it was not possible to foresee how the Internet and its music offerings would develop. Nowadays, a banner like "Discover the Internet" on the cover of the publication may seem cute, but at that time it could not be assumed that all potential readers were familiar with this worldwide communication network. It had simply not yet reached the general public. Although its origins can be traced back to the 1960s, when the U.S. military began experimenting with it, it took almost three decades before its commercial potential was recognized and exploited. For many years, scientists from a variety of disciplines had been working on the Internet, developing the technology behind it and testing its potential applications.
About the authors of the book it says on the cover: "Jens Grabig is an internaut of the first hour. With his collaborators Gerald Struck and Tobias Trelle, he is (almost) around the clock 'online' to explore the best places on the Internet for you". Grabig and his team published similar books on the Internet in the mid-1990s, including "Sport im Internet" (1995), "Reiseplanung im Internet" (1995) or "Erotik im Internet" (1995), all of which were published by Sybex, one of the "pioneers in the computer book market in Germany," according to the publisher's website.
Just how little music-related online information was still available can be seen from the blurb alone: "It [the Internet] offers more than 1000 web pages on over 1600 music groups. [...] Exchange information in newsgroups, or download sounds and videos to your hard disk. Find out about current concert dates and discographies". Nevertheless, the entire stylistic spectrum was apparently already available. "The variety of information is enormous. You can find what interests the fan's heart on all genres: whether mainstream or underground, classic and rock, pop, rap, hip-hop, soul, jazz, beat, blues... ." Since there was still a lack of higher-level (streaming) platforms and meta-search engines, a publication like this made perfect sense.
After introducing the "biggest music fair in the world", the authors give a number of tips on software installation, the use of the Internet and "netiquette". A glossary describes the most important terms (e.g. e-mail, HTML or link). The second part of the book arranges Internet addresses of solo artists and bands under generic terms such as "Alternative, Indie & Industrial" (e.g. Dead Can Dance, Einstürzende Neubauten or Sonic Youth), "Hard & Heavy" (e.g. AC/DC, Scorpions or White Zombie), "Hip-Hop, Jazz, R&B" (e.g. Albert Ayler, Jazzkantine or Snoop Doggy Dogg), "Rock & Pop" (e.g. Paula Abdul, Björk or Die Prinzen) and "Techno, Rave & Ambient" (e.g. 2 Unlimited, Laurent Garnier or Marusha). Furthermore, websites are sorted under "Archives & Online Magazines" (e.g. Audio Database, Techno.Net or Virtual Radio), "Instruments & Music Software" (e.g. Fender, MIDI Farm or Steinberg) as well as "Labels" (e.g. BMG, Geffen Records or Polygram) and "Crazy & Miscellaneous" (e.g. Beavis & Butt-Head, Deutsche Welle Musikwunsch or Rock'n'Roll Clubs in Österreich). Of course, websites are also given for "Classical Music" (e.g. Klassische Gitarre, Bach or New Zealand Symphony Orchestra). All in all, an exciting document about the beginnings of (popular) music on the Internet.
We contributed to the Spring School of the UA Bremen with a one-hour online workshop. Here is the description text:
"Musicians and artists should also deal with archiving, because it can be extremely helpful in professional and private life. Nowadays, the topic of archiving is described with terms such as document, knowledge or information management, whereby the digital organization and storage of files plays an increasingly important role. However, paper documents such as contracts, certificates, notes, pictures, photos and the like also need to be systematized and stored for the long term in order to be readily usable for private or professional purposes. Archiving also includes sorting out and disposing of old and unused documents or AV media (sound and image carriers). The crash course wants to give assistance for the (working) everyday life of musicians and artists and present practical examples that can be applied quickly and easily. Insights will be given into the working methods of the Klaus Kuhnke Institute of the University of the Arts Bremen, which is an archive as well as a research center for popular music and stores all kinds of auditory and visual media."
After more than thirty years, we have redesigned the access to the KKI. Our intention was to tie in with the corporate design of our web presence. The simple black-grey-white painting is broken up by two accents. These are the translucent original colors (yellow and green). In this way, the historical layers of the KKI are to be appreciated.
We have set ourselves a lot of goals for 2023. After more than thirty years in the same premises, we want to really clean up and sort out in order to create order and space. Over the years, we have accumulated a lot of things that are no longer usable - for example, a lot of electronic waste (old and broken computers and ailing hi-fi equipment). Of course, we don't throw away anything that could still be used in any way. We are fans of upcycling and sharing concepts and pay attention to the sustainable use of the objects or items entrusted to us.
It is amazing what range the band Versengold achieves. It was founded in 2003 in the Bremen area (Osterholz-Scharmbeck) and will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2023. The German-language folk rock of the six musicians relies, among others, on traditional instruments such as the nyckelharpa, the bouzouki, the mandolin or the fiddle. In 2022, the eighth album of the formation was released under the title "Was kost die Welt" ("What costs the world") and reached number 1 in the German album charts.
At this point, however, it should be about the previous album "Nordlicht", which was released in 2019 and still reached number 4 in the German album charts. Due to the commercial success, a limited fan box was also brought to market. This contains, in addition to the "Nordlicht" CD long player (14 tracks), a Blu-ray disc on which the video documentary "15 years Versengold. The anniversary concert live in Hamburg" (with 28 songs) from 2018 is recorded. In addition, merchandise products are enclosed such as a storm lighter, a chain with pendant and a shot glass.
The box offers a lot of handmade music, which is lively performed and comes with ironic lyrics. Thematically, the fast dance songs and scratchy ballads revolve mainly around the rough north, the sea, medieval drinking bouts, reports of historical events and love relationships. Every now and then, socio-critical allusions are woven in, which refer to the present.
The concert recording from 2018 celebrates the band's fifteen-year history with a cross-section of original songs in front of a large audience. The fans sing along and dance exuberantly. A number of guest musicians are welcomed on stage. Versengold's music obviously works very well live, not least because it is presented in a professional and lively manner - but without much fuss. Just the musicians, their instruments and the joyful performance.
We are in love... with our "new" high-end speakers from Ohm (NY/USA). Strictly speaking, they are not even that new (year of manufacture 1975!), but they still sound fantastic! An incredible pleasure for the ears and a true reference sound! We are moved to tears. In addition, these wooden 360-degree speakers are also eye-catching. Gorgeous!
We have always been on friendly terms with the Bremen-based music publisher/label Fuego, which is run by Friedel Muders. Now we are intensifying our exchange and cooperating on two eBook projects. On the one hand, the first (English-language) volume of our "Bremen's Contributions to Popular Music Studies" will soon be published by Fuego under the title "Toddlers/Children's Songs. The Popular Music of the Youngest?". On the other hand, we are planning to republish the "History of Popular Music" (2 volumes) in 2024, which was last published by the three founders of the archive (Kuhnke, Miller & Schulze) in 1998 via Bear Family Records.
Whimsical music and an untraceable album are the focus this time. The "Hotcha Trio" from the Netherlands was quite successful decades ago with cheerful harmonica music or musical clowning. Inspired by harmonica star Borrah Minevitch and his group "The Harmonica Rascals", the formation started in 1938 in Rotterdam under the name "5 Hotchas", at that time still with five members.
When the brothers Wim and Cor Belder emigrated to Australia in 1949, Joop Heijman (solo harmonica), Geert van Driesten (bass harmonica) and Eddie Sernee (vineta or chord harmonica) remained, and from then on they formed the Hotcha Trio. In the following years the bass harmonica players changed a few times, but the trio continued until 1970. The heyday of the Hotcha Trio was in the 1950s. At that time they were considered the "Nederlands Populairste Artiesten". They recorded numerous records, toured the world, appeared in variety shows and on television, and had roles in various films as well as lucrative advertising contracts.
The Philips label also marketed the trio in the German-speaking world by having the harmonica virtuosos set children's and folk songs as well as hits to music (e.g. Blumenwalzer, Wiener Blut or Du liegst mir am Herzen). Sometimes the trio was accompanied by a nameless "rhythmic accompaniment", i.e. a double or electric bass and drums. Stylistically, the trio covered a wide spectrum and tried their hand at rock'n'roll, country as well as Latin tunes. The uptempo arrangements were always snappy, humorous and danceable.
The KKI has an original compact cassette in its archive that presents a best-of selection from the trio. Unfortunately, the find reveals little information. The year of release is unclear (probably sometime in the 1980s). At least one learns that the cassette was produced or released in Germany. However, nothing can be found about the designated music label called "Cross". The album does not appear in any discography of the trio. The short note "Trad. Bearb. J. Sprangers" suggests that this could be the name of an external arranger. The appearance of the cassette is uncharitable and indicates a cost-saving production method. The music itself is nevertheless worth a listen.
Prof. Dr. Hans Christian Hagedorn, a user of our archive, who researches and teaches as a Germanist and literary scholar in Spain, has made the results of his research available to us. We are pleased to refer to his English-language study on the reception of Don Quixote (Cervantes) in jazz. It can be viewed at the following open access link: https://analescervantinos.revistas.csic.es/index.php/analescervantinos/article/view/511
On January 12, we received the sad news of the unexpected passing of our dear colleague Hubert Notzon. For more than 20 years he was the "good spirit" at the gate of the Department of Music at the University of the Arts Bremen. We saw him every day and had a chat from time to time. He was always obliging and helpful. We miss him and remember the transience of life.
In this book accompanying the exhibition of the same name, youth is treated as a multi-layered complex of themes. It is impressive that such a differentiated view of youthfulness was already possible in (West) Germany in the mid-1980s. The extensive volume (436 pages) brings together many short texts and countless photos by various authors and photographers.
"Seeing is the starting point of this project" (p. 9), write the editors or exhibition organizers. They look at the phenomenon of youth from several sides and avoid evaluations. "The project wants [...] to try to leave the 'object' its original fascination. Aesthetics here means in the very original sense: showing and looking. It is not the history of youth (cultures) in general that is to be traced, but their aesthetic forms of expression, their meaning and the history of their use. Only in this respect are 'exotics' the focus. But in order not to get lost in the sensuality of these phenomena, it is necessary to include the 'normal handling' of things, the handling of the 'normal things' in the consideration. The 'normal youths' as well as the 'adult world' are needed as a contrast for a representation that assumes meaning to the aesthetic deviation and understands the subcultural phenomena as an aesthetic reflex, as a response to the necessities and specific problem constellations of their time." (p. 9)
The book accompanying the exhibition begins with the 1980s and works its way back from there decade by decade to the beginning of the 20th century. Of course, popular music plays an important role in this. Starting with punk and techno of the eighties, rock and pop music of the seventies, beat and schlager music of the sixties, rock'n'roll of the fifties and swing music of the twenties, thirties and forties. Even folk and workers' songs between 1900 and 1920 are thematized.
What the book shows very nicely is the close connection between music, fine arts and fashion, but also the overarching historical contextualization with its diverse political and social cross-references is by no means neglected. Or, as the blurb succinctly summarizes it: "... of wandering birds and punks, of wild cliques and flower children, of Bündische and anti-authoritarians, and much more".
KKI will be closed from December 24, 2022 to January 1, 2023. We will open our doors again on January 2. We wish you all a merry Christmas and a relaxing New Year. See you/hear you in 2023!
Ulrich Duve was head and managing director of the Klaus Kuhnke Archive for Popular Music from 1991 to 2021. On August 7, 2009, he was a guest on the Bremen regional TV show "Talk am Freitag Live". There he reported about the Klaus Kuhnke Archive and presented some exhibits.
The Stattreisen e.V. Bremen offers alternative city tours for locals and tourists. Due to Corona, our cooperation was on hold for two years. Since December 2022 Stattreisen e.V. organizes a new tour through Bremen called "Hidden and Special Places". In addition to the Tischlerei Museum, the KKI will also be visited. We are looking forward to the revival of the cooperation as well as to many interested guests. The tours take place once a month on a Saturday morning (every third Saturday).
More info here: https://www.stattreisen-bremen.de/stadtfuehrungen/thema/auflistung/verborgene-und-besondere-orte/verborgene-orte.html
On Tuesday, December 6, the KKI will sell a selection of its archive doubles. In the period from 10 am to 4 pm you can go bargain hunting. A good opportunity to find Christmas gifts.
In the age of the Internet, music-related explainer videos or podcasts are omnipresent. This was quite different in the 1950s. Back then, in addition to books and magazines, it was primarily radio broadcasts that provided music-related information. In a few cases, it was records on which music was explained.
One example is this 10-inch vinyl record titled "Jazz and Early Music," which includes a lecture with musical examples. It was recorded in 1957 in the auditorium of the School on Mittelweg in Hamburg (Germany) and released in the same year on the Telefunken label. The two lecturers are jazz journalist/publicist Joachim-Ernst Berendt and musicologist Dr. Joachim Tröller, an expert on early music. The music samples are by the Wolfgang Lauth Quartet, a jazz quartet around pianist Wolfgang Lauth, with Werner Pöhlert on semi-acoustic electric guitar, Peter Trunk on double bass and Joe Hackbarth on drums. An unnamed "student of the Mannheim University of Music" provides the improvised harpsichord passages.
The live recording offers "with its just under 40 minutes an excerpt from a two-hour event", at which also "light pictures" were shown, which of course are not to be seen on the record. With this event, the two presenters and the musicians toured German universities and schools at the time - with the intention of bringing both jazz and early music closer to the population. Of course, the commonalities of the two musical traditions were in the foreground: improvisation, bass motifs, spiritual-secular folk melodies, continuous rhythm, tonal coloration practices, etc.
However, the two speakers emphasize that the aim is not to justify or artistically valorize the respective other musical tradition by pointing out the parallels. Rather, music-historical and music-analytical facts are to be provided in order to promote a better understanding of jazz as well as early music.
The Wolfgang Lauth Quartet plays five pieces that today would be classified as so-called cool jazz, including two compositions by Wolfgang Lauth himself and one each by Fats Waller, Meade Lux Lewis and John Lewis. In addition to the short passages in which the harpsichord student demonstrates basso continuo playing practice, an audio sample is also presented that sounds a recording from the church service of an African-American congregation in Harlem, New York.
The entire lecture is delivered in the pathetic, overtoned speaking style typical of the 1950s and uses the N-word many times to contextualize the African-American parts of the jazz tradition. This may sound inappropriate to our ears, but it was in keeping with the spirit of the times and at no point reveals pejorative or racist ideas. On the contrary, it is precisely a matter of acknowledging the importance of the contribution of African-Americans to the development of jazz. In this respect, this contemporary document is worth listening to and is an early example of so-called intercultural music education.
Maren Speer, a musicology student from the University of Bremen, is completing a four-week internship at the KKI in November/December to accompany her studies. She is in the 7th semester of her Bachelor's degree and is assisting the KKI team with their work in the archive. We are grateful for her participation and are happy to give her an insight into our daily work. Student interns are always welcome.
We are taking a week off and will be back to our regular schedule on November 21. We wish you all relaxing days.
The former director of the Klaus Kuhnke Archive (Ulrich Duve) and the new director of the Klaus Kuhnke Institute (Nico Thom) participated in the annual meeting of the Germany/Switzerland country group of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) in Freiburg/im Breisgau. The hybrid event was hosted by the Center for Popular Culture and Music (ZPKM) at the University of Freiburg. Ulrich Duve took his leave from the position of IASA country group chair and was met with warm and grateful words. Nico Thom gave a lecture on the topic "From a (North-)Western perspective? The Quasi-ethnological Record Collections of the Klaus Kuhnke Institute for Popular Music in Bremen", in which he contrasted an ethnological perspective on (popular) music with a system-theoretical one.
On Friday, November 4, 2022, the KKI will host an online conference from 12 to 4 p.m. (Central European Time), which will deal with the still relatively unexplored complex of topics "Toddlers/Children's Songs". The question to what extent such songs are to be understood as popular music will be explored. The detailed Call for Papers can be found here: CfP_Toddlers_Children_s_Songs.pdf
The presentations and discussions will be available on the Internet via the Zoom platform.
Please send your registration for free participation to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The conference program:
First block (12:00-13:15)
12:00-12:10 _ Opening & Greetings
12:10-12:40 _ Nico Thom (Bremen/Germany):
"The varity of popular toddlers/children's songs - An overview with examples from the German-speaking area"
12:40-12:45 _ Changeover break
12:45-13:15 _ Shelley Brunt & Liz Giuffre (Melbourne & Sydney/Australia):
"Popular music and parenting"
13:15-13:30 _ 15 minutes break & online café
Second block (13:30-14:35)
13:30-14:00 _ Ariane Diniz Holzbach & Jackeline da Costa (Rio de Janeiro/Brazil):
"Mundo Bita feat. Brazilian Popular Music - Reflexions around musical quality in songs aimed at children"
14:00-14:05 _ Changeover break
14:05-14:35 _ Andrew Snyder (Lisbon/Portugal):
"Expat migration and baby music classes in an internationalizing Lisbon"
14:35-14:50 _ 15 minutes break & online café
Third block (14:50-16:00)
14:50-15:20 _ Ruth Barratt-Peacock (Jena/Germany):
"The 'child' in children’s popular music research - A social constructionist view on childhood in kiddy metal"
15:20-15:25 _ Changeover break
15:25-15:55 _ Tobias Marx (Erfurt/Germany):
"Music for children - Musical, pedagogical and social perspectives"
15:55-16:00 _ Farewell
Frank Wonneberg has been moving between the arts of music, graphics and literature for decades. Coming from an East German family of musicians, he first learned the trade of typesetter, then studied musicology and cultural history and worked for many years as a graphic artist in the publishing world, where he helped design magazines, and in the music business for record labels, music promoters and rock bands, for whom he designed record covers and posters. In the meantime, he also ran a mail order business for vinyl records and published a magazine called "Living Vinyl". With his "Vinyl-Lexikon" he appeared for the first time as a book author in 2000. Further revised editions of his standard work on vinyl records followed, as well as the book "Grand Zappa" (2010) about the U.S. musician Frank Zappa (1940-1993).
In 2019, Wonneberg published a limited edition fake art calendar that also deals with Frank Zappa. In it, he depicts the covers of vinyl records that the legendary musician was supposedly able to release behind the "Iron Curtain". Wonneberg is spinning yarns about "unknown recordings from the former Eastern Bloc" or "rare licensed editions from communist record companies" that were packed in a mysterious cardboard box from the estate of Swiss collector Beat Rupp and stored in the archive of the Varèse and Zappa Society in Basel. Wonneberg had visited the archive in 2018 and discovered these records by chance.
The fictional story is executed in the calendar and peppered with all sorts of details that make it seem realistic. Nevertheless, it is an amusing game with the truth, which, however, insiders and Zappa connoisseurs can expose as fantasy or the collector's dream of the artist. With a neo-realistic approach, Wonneberg "facsimiles" "just under a dozen exceedingly rare [...] long-playing records as well as a single". In addition to the respective front cover, the A-side of the record is also shown. The captions include information about the year of release, the catalog number, the country of origin and the record company in the respective national language. In addition, there is the matrix number, the details of the original recording or lacquer re-cut, the manufacturer, the source of the sound recording, the media format, the vinyl quality, grammage and the predicate from the point of view of the collector. All invented of course!
Allegedly, the Zappa records depicted were released in Albania, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, North Korea, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Corresponding monopoly labels like Amiga, Supraphon or Balkanton would have brought the vinyls under the people with state permission. And indeed, the illusion works through Wonneberg's deceptively genuine recreations of the label designs and aesthetics. Only native speakers or experts recognize small errors in the country-specific spellings. Since Frank Zappa released more than twelve albums, Wonneberg had to make a selection that provides a cross-section of Zappa's work. In each case, the original is recognizable, even if it is presented in an alienated way. Here, successful craftsmanship, expertise and mischievous humor are paired. A pleasure - not only, but especially for Zappa fans.
On October 26, the members of the Archivnetzwerk Pop met again after a two-year break from Corona. This time, the German Music Archive in Leipzig invited them. It is directed by Ruprecht Langer and is part of the German National Library. The KKI has been a member of the network, a Germany-wide association of archives that focus on popular music, for years. There are plans to intensify the cooperation.
Never judge a book by its cover. With this international proverb in mind, this time we will take a look at a small-format promotional or customer gift from the Maxell company. The company, which operates worldwide, has its headquarters in Japan and various branches abroad, including in Germany. Its product lines include batteries and storage media such as cassettes, tapes, floppy disks, video tapes, blank CDs and DVDs, as well as iPod accessories, remote controls, microphones, headphones, soundbars and beamers. Maxell is in turn a subsidiary of Hitachi, a global player and international technology conglomerate with roots in Japan.
Apparently, Maxell commissioned the German publishing house Compact Verlag before the turn of the millennium to produce an unusual gift for customers and business partners in German-speaking countries that is handy and provides facts about popular music in a condensed form. On no less than 255 pages, musicians and bands from ABBA to ZZ Top are listed and described with short entries. In between, there is concise information on musical terms, such as A Capella or Disco. Cross-references also assign individual artists to corresponding bands, e.g. Kurt Cobain to Nirvana or Steve Nicks to Fleetwood Mac.
Stylistically, the booklet delivers what it promises: It covers mainstream rock and pop from the 1960s to the 1990s and also features a few entries on hip-hop artists such as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Salt'n'Pepa, and Run D.M.C.. Particularly frequently represented are artists who dominated the charts in the 1990s. As usual in such encyclopedias, primarily US-American and British artists are presented. However, there are also entries on German musicians and formations, such as Nena, Udo Lindenberg or Die Fantastischen Vier.
Although you will come across many famous names when browsing through it, every now and then you can (re)discover some lesser-known singers or groups. Can you still remember Pat Benatar, for example? You can read about it: "Pat Benatar (Patricia Andrzejewski, * 10.1.52) started in 1975 as a cabaret performer before she switched to rock in 1978. From then on, the singer with the roughhened [sic!] voice delivered numerous hits with songs like Fire And Ice (1981), Shadows Of The Night (1982) and Love Is A Battlefield (1984)" (p. 25).
The cover of the miniature encyclopedia is a graphic disaster and not for people with impaired vision (you can only guess which band and which solo guitarist are pictured on it). In addition, the spelling of the book's title is grammatically incorrect. Also the text itself has some orthographic errors (compare the quote above) - and that although three editors are mentioned by name. A loveless appearance, then, behind which, however, is hidden an astonishingly information-dense reference book that is only two thumbs wide and high.
With a new video series, the KKI is shedding light on understandings of popular music and interviewing experts on the subject.
The first guest is guitarist and composer Daniel Stelter (born 1977 in Wiesbaden/Germany). For years he has been one of the most sought-after and versatile live, studio and TV musicians in Germany. He has played with many well-known artists from the fields of jazz, pop, world music and classical music, participated in several TV shows and released several albums under his own name.
You can find out everything else in the following interview:
Anyone expecting a conventional music documentary in the style of a biography of a female artist will be disappointed by this self-titled "music film". The GDR-born musician Nina Hagen, who today enjoys worldwide adoration, is instead presented in avant-garde moving images. Australian-German filmmaker Peter Sempel first released his experimental "portrait in collage form" (according to the sleeve text) in 1999, and then released a new director's cut in 2005, which is the subject of this post.
The film begins by highlighting the artist's versatility. Nina Hagen sings traditional Indian ragas, Italian opera arias and French chansons. In addition to her native German, she speaks to the camera in English over long stretches. The polyglot setting is reinforced by scenes in New York, Paris, Hamburg and Delhi, to name just a few locations. Over a period of 20 years, the filmmaker has accompanied the famous eccentric, who seems to be constantly in performance mode.
She constantly grimaces, plays with the diverse expressions of her impressive vocal range, walks aimlessly back and forth, utters esoteric aphorisms like "I'm jewish-indian-buddha-voodoo" and moves lasciviously in figure-hugging outfits. The fact that she can be seen in the course of the film with black, green, blond, red, and pink hair and wigs, and that she always appears heavily made up and adorned with jewelry, underscores her permanent need for role changes and grand theatrical gestures.
Although she is observed often and for a long time in close-ups, and she seems reasonably free and unconstrained, one still has the impression of not being able to look behind her facade, that is, to actually learn little about her. It seems as if she is trapped in her neurotic image, as if she has to serve it at all costs in order to remain interesting, intangible, enraptured. Even in supposedly intimate scenes in which she gives herself away vulnerably, such as when she sits on the floor and breathes Schubert's Ave Maria unaccompanied and in a trembling voice into the darkness, her unconditional will to stage is palpable. When asked by the filmmaker what her favorite opera is, she answers laconically: "the opera of my life".
Although Nina Hagen is known for her operatic singing, she has nevertheless acquired the nimbus of the "Godmother of Punk". The title of the film seems to allude to this global fame ("Punk + Glory"). A number of stars from the international music and film world have their say in praising her. In addition to Udo Lindenberg and Otto Waalkes, for example, Wim Wenders, Anthony Kiedis (singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) or Lemmy Kilmister (frontman of Motörhead) are full of praise for the non-conformist woman, who appreciates her for her uncompromising art and her socio-political commitment.
It is striking, however, that they all mention her attractiveness. Does this possibly reveal a male view of the "feminist revolutionary" (Udo Lindenberg), not least because a man made the film? Perhaps in parts. But what remains superficial is the respect for her stage presence, her wit and her playful way of dealing with gender roles. In this respect, it is not surprising that there are also some enthusiastic comments from the transsexual community.
The film does without a genuine narrative, a red thread. It is left to the viewer to form an opinion. For example, there are some scenes in which Nina Hagen can be seen in her private home with her children Cosma Shiva and Otis. It is sometimes irritating how she poses in front of the camera while her children have to wait bored in the background. The film's aesthetic, however, is focused on brief personal impressions, enriched with landscape and street scenes, images of animals and people passing by. It's about the in-between, about transitions and the ambiguous. If one wants to make it easy, one could claim that it is just an art film. In any case, it ends with the meaningful statement of its protagonist: "I use it all as a game".
Nevertheless, one learns something about Nina Hagen that a conventional documentary would probably not have brought out in this form. Namely, how broad the spectrum of her artistic work really is; that Nina Hagen is far more than a pioneer of the punk movement. Subtle allusions to singing actresses such as Zarah Leander, Marlene Dietrich and her own mother Eva-Maria Hagen are juxtaposed with musical style references to funk, disco, rap and opera as well as to the entire history of rock. The film's minimalist soundtrack forms the sonic tapestry for many extravagant examples from Nina Hagen's musical œuvre, which are complemented by no less special musical recordings by bands such as Einstürzende Neubauten, Yello or Tulip, die singende Tulpe.
We allow ourselves two weeks of closure. From August 22nd we will be available again regularly. We wish you all relaxing summer days with lots of good music!
Some publications cause us to shake our heads in admiration. You look at them in amazement and wonder who came up with the insane idea for such a mammoth project and then had the guts to put it into practice. Especially for whom? Who would buy such a special-interest object weighing 7 kilograms for a hefty retail price of 2,000 euros?
Respect is due first and foremost to Rainer E. Lotz, the well-known German music collector and private researcher, who, together with a number of colleagues, has compiled and evaluated a deluxe box with no less than 600 book pages (2 x 300), 1244 tracks on 45 CDs (total playing time almost 57 hours) and 2000 color illustrations (photographs, posters and film scenes). The Bremen-based record label Bear Family Records has borne the economic risk and brought out the extremely elaborately designed collectors box - and with a limited number of only 500 copies!
The target audience for this collection, compiled with ethnological subtlety, has certainly been large libraries, archives, and museums. Since all texts have been written in English, "Black Europe" is aimed at an international specialist audience from the outset.
In addition to the density of the material, the special feature of this magnificently curated box is the historical restriction to the period before 1927. The justified question of why precisely this temporal restriction is quickly answered: around 1927 the all-electric microphone was invented, with which from then on most sound recordings were made.
In terms of content, this pioneering project deals with black women and men, i.e. people with African roots, whose influence on the development of modern mass media (especially in Europe) has long been overlooked. Yet this marginalized group was instrumental in the emergence of the recording and film industries from the beginning, and was marketed on phonograph cylinders, gramophone records, and in the first films (as well as in the fledgling print media) - mostly with an exoticizing and/or eroticizing impulse. "Black Europe" uses more than 100 individual biographies to show how people of African descent shaped the beginnings of European entertainment at the turn of the century and the racist stereotypes they had to suffer.
More information about the box can be found at this link: http://black-europe.com
For the year 2022, the city of Bremen (in cooperation with Bremerhaven) has a lot planned. With many subsidized events and aggressive marketing, the city's (and the region's) musical activities will be promoted and put in the shop window, so to speak, to raise public awareness. Popular music plays an astonishingly large role in this, which of course pleases us. Even in the visual presentation, popular music is given space, on an equal footing with the city's classical music tradition. This is by no means a matter of course... just think, for example, of the "Musikfest Bremen", which is de facto a classical music festival. But as we said: There is reason to hope that in the future the decision-makers and sponsors will cultivate a more open understanding of music worthy of support. Whereby subtitles like the following continue to reveal old thought patterns: "Bremen is inspiring - from high culture to subculture". From our point of view, what is high and what is low culture has to be negotiated again and again... it is best to first choose other terminologies for this.
More information here: https://www.bremen.de/kultur/klangfrisch-2022#/
The KKI dedicates a new video series to the relationship between literature and popular music.
The event kicks off with an (online) conversation with the internationally renowned writer Hansjörg Schertenleib (born 1957 in Zurich/Switzerland). He regularly refers to popular music in his literary texts. Sometimes he even places it at the center of his books, for example by writing about musicians and their lives.
You can find out everything else in the following interview:
The Indian-born percussionist, drummer and singer Trilok Gurtu has lived in Hamburg for many years. His musical life, however, has taken him around the globe. Countless collaborations with artists such as Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Neneh Cherry, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Pat Metheny, Dave Holland and Jan Garbarek are proof of his stylistic openness.
In 1988 he released his debut record "Usfret" on the German label Creative Music Productions (CMP) Records. Here he defined his version of so-called world music for the first time. In addition to his mother Shobha Gurtu, a well-known singer of the classical Indian music tradition, big names from the jazz context who have also dealt with regional varieties of world music: e.g. the trumpeter Don Cherry, the guitarist Ralph Towner or the bassist Jonas Hellborg.
Bremen-based producer Walter Quintus had a strong influence on the record, helping to shape the recordings musically. The striking record cover and artwork was the work of Hamburg graphic designer Ulf von Kanitz, who became the CMP label's in-house graphic designer. Many (international) jazz stars such as Joachim Kühn, Christof Lauer, Dave Liebman, Richie Beirach and Cream bassist Jack Bruce have released with CMP.
At the Live Cooking on the Open Space stage, you can not only look into the pots of excellent chefs and pick up tips, but also taste them right away.
Archive specialities from the Klaus Kuhnke Institute will be served. Its director (Nico Thom) presents thematically bundled rarities from recent music history. The Live Cooking takes place from the end of June to mid-September on Bremen's Domshof, more precisely on every second Wednesday of the month.
The KKI can be experienced there on the following six dates:
29 June, 6 pm - Topic: "Food in Popular Music"
13 July, 6 pm - Topic: "Beat-Club & Musikladen - Two innovative music TV programmes from Radio Bremen"
27 July, 6 pm - Topic: "Visual Arts in the Context of Popular Music"
10 August, 6 pm - Topic: "Soul: Whether black or white soul music - at least with funky grooves!"
24 August, 6 pm - Topic: "Plus que de la chanson - Popular French Music in History and the Present"
14 September, 6 pm - Topic: "Tropical Beats? - World Music, Music of the World and Global Pop on International Tropical Forest Day"
More information: https://osd4.de/?p=88792
On June 16, Nico Thom, head of the KKI, was a studio guest on "westendRADIO - Live from the Kulturwerkstatt westend!" in the Bremen-Walle district. The live broadcast, which is aired every 14 days on Thursdays from 8 to 9 p.m., is moderated by Windy Jacob. He works for the Kulturwerkstatt westend and has been creating broadcasts for the Bremen citizens' radio station "Radio Weser.TV" for many years. For an hour, we chatted in a relaxed atmosphere about the Klaus Kuhnke Institute, its history and present, and plans for the future. Nico Thom was allowed to choose the music contributions, all of which he contributed from the KKI archive.
You can listen to the broadcast via this link: westendRADIO_16.06.2022.mp3
Blasphemy? Of course not! Our motto: "A little fun is a must". Which brings us directly to one of the biggest German-language hits: the song of the same name by Roberto Blanco. Everybody knows the piece. The original from 1972 has been covered many times, sometimes even with Roberto Blanco as a guest star. The original video clip of the artist, in which he is shown swimming and bare-chested in the shower, already caused a lot of joy. An early "masterpiece" of the German-language music video tradition, long before MTV, VIVA & Co.
Music-related magazines have always been exciting media formats. Inevitably, they filter the vast number of bands and solo artists, introduce individuals, review their releases and concerts, create visual equivalents, and literally write (preliminary) music history(s). Such magazines always have to master the balancing act between art and commerce, because they are dependent on samples from music companies (primarily major labels) or advertisers, whose products they want to review as neutrally as possible and at the same time show their own artistic style or a specific aesthetic attitude. Hardly feasible, actually.
Since the market for popular music has become so incredibly large and no one can keep track of it, a segmentation has been observed for decades. In the past, music periodicals such as Rolling Stone, New Musical Express or Sounds covered a broad musical spectrum. Nowadays, things are generally different. They are mostly limited to specific musical styles or genres.
A rare exception is the magazine "SCHALL." produced in Berlin, because it appears with the impetus to represent as many areas of popular music as possible. It is no coincidence that the magazine refers to the value-free concept of sound, which describes with physical objectivity the wave-like spreading vibrations that can be perceived by the human ear. The magazine also demonstrates the courage to be non-conformist in terms of its size and the text-image ratio: a lot of text on 226 pages is truly unusual these days. Basically, one could even speak of a book or a book series, were it not for the self-titling as a music magazine.
The driving force behind it is music journalist Christian Hentschel and a team of music editors - all male, by the way. Nonetheless, women are coming into their own, whether as contributors, graphic designers, or featured musicians. So it's not a men's magazine that's primarily about masculine rock attitude - although that can also be found, for example, in articles about the bands Helloween or Michael Schenker's Fest.
Besides this gender fact, it is noticeable that a lot of German-language music is negotiated (e.g. Ulla Meinecke or Die Liga der gewöhnlichen Gentlemen). Austrian (e.g. Rainhard Fendrich or the duo Seiler und Speer) and Swiss acts (e.g. Selbstbedienung) are also highlighted. Even well-known GDR formations like the Puhdys or Stern-Combo Meisen find appreciation - and that in 2019!
Stylistically, the focus is on current rock and pop music - the seven-page cover story is devoted to the German stoner/psychedelic rock band Kadavar - but electronic dance music, punk, metal, soul, blues, jazz and even new music are also discussed. Such diversity is invigorating and allows readers to think outside the box.
The magazine was founded in 2015. In the meantime (as of June 2022), it has reached issue 26 and it is to be hoped that "SCHALL." can continue to exist for many more years in the highly competitive print media market. The website of the quarterly music magazine can be found here: https://www.schallmagazin.de
On Thursday, May 26, we are closed for the (public) holiday. What for some is a heavenly holiday, so to speak, is for others an occasion to celebrate the earthly fathers. Since the employees of KKI are fathers and have fathers, we also celebrate the "lords of creation" - moderately, of course. A quick look through our archive database unearths some Ascension Day gems. Here is a small selection:
1) On the one hand there is "Die Himmelfahrt der Galgentoni" - a sad-comic story about a whore who pays her last respects to a man sentenced to the gallows, touchingly performed by the diseuse Gisela May. The piece can be found in the detailed book-/CD-/DVD-box "die may", which was published in 2006 by Bear Family Records in cooperation with the Günter Neumann - Foundation and the Berlin Academy of Arts.
2) On a self-titled CD of the Tiroler Tanzgeiger the "Himmelfahrts Polka" (sic!) is immortalized. The short instrumental piece presents finest folk or dance music from the Zillertal in the instrumentation for first and second violin, harp, diatonic harmonica, double bass and diatonic (East Tyrolean) dulcimer. The CD was released in 1995 by Bogner Records in Austria.
3) The Cologne band (De) Bläck Fööss also dedicates the song "Himmelfahrt" to the holiday of the same name. In it, they celebrate the fact that you don't have to work and can comfortably "make blue" in the Westerwald. The meaningful title of the vinyl album from 1978 is "Mer han 'nen Deckel" (EMI/Electrola).
By the way, we are also closed on Friday, May 27 - and take a bridge day off. Various song titles would also lend themselves to this... "Über sieben Brücken musst Du gehn" (Karat/Peter Maffay)... "Bridge over Troubled Water" (Simon & Garfunkel)... also to be found in our archives.
From now on, our interior will be adorned by a display case. We owe it to the Bremen State Archive, which has bequeathed us the massive and illuminated glass case. An enchanting piece, we think! It offers us the possibility to welcome our guests with changing exhibits, e.g. the "find of the month".
A traditional spring or children's song - with the same melody as "Hänschen klein" by the way - provides us with the appropriate headline: "Alles neu macht der Mai (Everything is new in May)". (Well, not everything, of course, but some things.) At least that could be the motto for us, because today, Friday, May 13 (if that is not a bad omen ;-) we change our name. Until now we were the "Klaus Kuhnke Archive for Popular Music", from today on we are the "Klaus Kuhnke Institute for Popular Music". Our subtitle is "Archive and Research Center at the University of the Arts Bremen". Strictly speaking, we have been an institute at the HfK Bremen since 1992, i.e. for 30 years, only few people knew that. Hence the renaming. And also to make it clear that from now on we want to be more active with our own research projects. With a new name comes a completely new website, namely this one. Have fun browsing!
On May 6, 38 boxes containing approximately 5,000 CD duplicates from our archive holdings were shipped to the Center for Popular Culture and Music (ZPKM) at the University of Freiburg. The colleagues in Freiburg are happy about the increase in their holdings and we are happy about the freed up space in our archive (and the financial compensation). A classic win-win situation.
In May, Ann-Katrin Verzagt joins the KKI team and completes a three-week internship. She is currently training to become a specialist for media and information services (FaMI) at the Bremen State and University Library and is in her second year of training. We are grateful for her participation and are happy to give her an insight into our daily work. FaMI trainees regularly honor us and are always welcome.
As every year since the founding of the Bremen trade fair jazzahead! in 2006, we were again present in 2022. The trade fair with integrated festival, which always takes place at the end of April, has become the largest international industry gathering, bringing together jazz experts (musicians, bands, labels, agencies, country representatives, associations, journalists and academics) from all over the world. In addition to networking with the peer group and discovering new jazz music, collecting records and info materials is a pleasant side effect for the KKI archive. Current jazz from Ukraine, Luxembourg or Bulgaria? We now have the relevant artifacts - which we are very happy about. Oh yes: It should be mentioned, of course, that the spiritus rector of the KKI, Peter Schulze, is the artistic director of jazzahead! and thus we feel connected to this important event in more ways than one. More information about jazzahead! can be found here: https://jazzahead.de
In April, we received the impressive collection of the Bremen media educator Tobias Stalling and transferred it to our holdings. It contains about 5,000 CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes as well as several hundred fanzines, magazines and books. The collection mainly covers the period from 1990 to 2020 and documents the local, national and international punk tradition in great detail. In addition, there is also a lot of sound, image and video material on various styles of popular music, e.g. jazz, hip hop, EDM as well as classic and progressive rock. For example, the complete oeuvre of the British band King Crimson is part of the collection. It is a valuable addition to our archive.
In the course of his life, Mohns Mohnssen from Bremen has amassed an enormous amount of recordings (as well as magazines and books) on the subject of country music. In professional circles, his collection is considered one of the largest of its kind in Europe. In 2020 Mohns Mohnssen passed away due to old age. In his will, he had stipulated that his estate should be passed on to the Klaus Kuhnke Archive. In January/February 2022 the collection of the materials took place. Essentially, it is about 8,000 vinyl records and about 3,000 CDs, mainly with U.S. country music in all its varieties. European variants were also collected by Mohns Mohnssen, as well as associated contextual descriptions, for example a trade journal called "Bluegrass Europe Magazine".
Ulrich Duve, the long-time director of the Klaus Kuhnke Archive, took his well-deserved retirement at the end of 2021. Nico Thom has been his successor in office since January 1, 2022.
Ulrich Duve has guided the fortunes of the archive for 30 years and contributed significantly to the current shape of KKA. Prior to that, he had already been an employee of the archive founded by Klaus Kuhnke, Manfred Miller and Peter Schulze for 5 years. He has thus dedicated almost his entire professional life to KKA, for which he deserves great thanks and recognition. Fortunately, he remains connected to the archive on an honorary basis, so that he will continue to be available with his expertise.
Nico Thom, the new head of the archive and institute, is a musicologist specializing in jazz and popular music. He has more than 15 years of professional experience in research, teaching as well as archive administration and is looking forward to the tasks that now lie ahead of him. "My goal is to work with my three part-time staff members to develop a center for the research and communication of popular music that will make the many treasures from the archive holdings even more visible and audible and secure them for the future - especially through digitization. I would also like to actively research the holdings myself. In addition, I am interested in an intensive exchange with the scientific and artistic community and would like to make the archive materials accessible to a broad public - at the University of the Arts, in Bremen and, of course, far beyond."
Manfred Miller: Um Blues und Groove. Afroamerikanische Musik im 20. Jahrhundert, Dreieich: Heupferd Musik 2017.
The opus magnum of our institution's co-founder, who died in 2021. A large-scale narrative of the origins and developments of popular music of the past century, in which African-American protagonists and the blues are at the center. Social historiography, musical and, above all, textual analysis are intimately linked in this publication.
Ulrich Duve: "Das war eine richtige Umwälzung. Ulrich Duve, Geschäftsführer Klaus-Kuhnke-Archiv, Bremen", in: Plattenkisten. Exkursionen in die Vinylkultur", hrsg. von Jörn Morisse & Felix Gebhard, Mainz: Ventil 2015, S. 153-161.
The former and long-time director of our archive reports on the context of our institution and tells from the sewing box, especially with reference to the large record collection. The upheaval mentioned in the title of his interview contribution was the program "Roll over Beethoven" by the three archive founders, which was "one of the first radio formats in Germany that not only played pop music, but mixed it with politics and did not exclude the socio-historical background of the music". Tasteful photos from the archive are also included.
1) Ulrich Duve: "Die Datenbank des Klaus-Kuhnke-Archivs - mehr als nur ein Bestandskatalog" (S. 107-114),
2) Peter Schulze: "Die Musik kommt aus der Steckdose, aber wie kommt sie da hinein? Physische Archive in Zeiten der Entmaterialisierung von Tonträgern und öffentlichen Budgets. Fragen über Fragen" (S. 115-122),
3) Nico Thom: "Aktuelle Prozesse der Kanonbildung in multimedialen Magazinen Populärer Musik" (S. 65-82),
alle drei Beiträge in: Populäre Musik und kulturelles Gedächtnis. Geschichtsschreibung - Archiv - Internet, hrsg. von Martin Pfleiderer, Köln/Weimar/Wien: Böhlau 2011.
In his article, archive founder Peter Schulze declares physical music archives to be an indispensable back-up for the Internet and the digital age. Ulrich Duve introduces the online catalog of our archive and makes clear that it can do more than just spit out individual titles; it can also be used to create discographies. Nico Thom describes the multi-layered, multimedia canonization processes of music magazines. In this way, the first historical meeting of the three KKI members is documented, who met in 2010 at a conference in Eisenach, from which this conference volume emerged.
Ulrich Duve: "Von Johann Strauß bis zu den Sex Pistols. Das Klaus-Kuhnke-Archiv für Populäre Musik", in: Im Zentrum: Musik. Die Hochschule für Künste Bremen in der Dechanatstraße, hrsg. von der Hochschule für Künste Bremen, Bremen: Verlag H.M. Hauschild 2006, S. 122-123.
Ulrich Duve provides a compact account of our archive. The occasion for the anthology of the UA Bremen was the new building for the Department of Music in the center of the city.
Manfred Miller & Peter Schulze (Hg.): Geschichte der Popmusik (Band 2). Die Radio Bremen Sendereihe roll over beethoven, Hambergen: Bear Family Records 1998.
Perhaps the centerpiece of our publication history to date. In 1998, the two remaining authors - Klaus Kuhnke had died in the meantime - published the broadcast manuscripts of the second part of the legendary broadcast series "Roll over Beethoven", which was produced and broadcast in the eighties. The cooperation with Richard Weize or Bear Family Records resulted in a lavishly designed box with 52 CDs, which was offered for sale at the end of the nineties for a fabulous 1,000 Marks. The demand was there, anyway. To this day, it is a coveted collector's item that has made history - in both senses of the word.
DiscoGraphie, Heft 1-6 (1982-1985), hrsg. von Klaus Kuhnke & dem Archiv für Populäre Musik in Bremen.
Quasi on his own Klaus Kuhnke has published a small collection of discographies over three years. Each booklet (or each monograph, since it has an ISBN number) is 48 pages long. Kuhnke lists sound carriers, as is customary for discographies, and provides important information on record labels, release dates, matrix numbers, etc. He also provides some contextual information on individual artists or bands. Even photos and graphics can be found in the booklets. Here and there there is talk of a so-called "German National Discography"... an idea that the founders of the archive had in mind for some time, but which could only be put into practice in the end - among other things because of the death of Klaus Kuhnke a few years later.
Anschläge. Zeitschrift des Archivs für Populäre Musik in Bremen, 7 Hefte (1978-1981).
The three founders of the archive realized an ambitious publication project with their own journal, which produced seven issues in four years (four of them in the first year!). They themselves acted as editors and authors, along with other contributors. Larger and smaller contributions, interviews, text analyses, record and book reviews as well as discographies and bibliographies were published, some of them illustrated. A historical testimony for politically-moved and in the cause engaged music journalism on the border of journalism and science.
Klaus Kuhnke, Manfred Miller & Peter Schulze: Geschichte der Pop-Musik, Band 1 (bis 1947), Lilienthal/Bremen: Eres Edition & Archiv für Populäre Musik 1976.
This is a revised new edition of the already published first part of the radio series "Roll over Beethoven", which dealt with popular music up to 1947. The first edition was published by the same publisher as a loose-leaf collection. Here, the book format was chosen.
Bukka White: "Country Blues. Sparkasse in Concert", Bremen: Archiv für Populäre Musik 1975.
The three founders of the archive, in addition to magazines and books, also released records; two to be exact. This is the first record from the founding year of the archive. It features US singer/guitarist Bukka White and his traditional Mississippi blues. The musician is very elderly at this point and has been pronounced dead several times (literally!). This recording is the recording of a concert in Bremen, which was financed by the Bremer Sparkasse and recorded in cooperation with Radio Bremen. Peter Schulze acted as recording supervisor.
Wilfried Grimpe, Klaus Kuhnke, Hartmut Lück, Manfred Miller & Peter Schulze: Geschichte der Populären Musik. Band 1: Bis zum 19. Jahrhundert, Mit 48 Tonbeispielen, Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt 1974.
A curiosity, this publication. With an enormous development effort, this volume was to be a six-volume book series based on a new format, the so-called "phonobook. In addition to text and pictures, a "third dimension" was to be added, namely the tones or sound. For this purpose, a small device was specially developed in Japan that made it possible to play the sound foils integrated into the book. One could simply place the device on the respective sound foil and start listening. Actually a great idea, but unfortunately much too expensive to produce. That's why the publisher stopped production shortly after the first copies were printed, even though they had presented it with a lot of pomp at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Basically, this (phono) book never reached the book market, so that the few copies that exist have become rarities.
Klaus Kuhnke, Hartmut Lück, Manfred Miller, Tom Schroeder & Peter Schulze: Roll over Beethoven. Zur Geschichte der Populären Musik, Teil 1, Lilienthal/Bremen: Edition Eres 1973.
The first publication in which - among others - all three archive founders (Kuhnke, Miller & Schulze) participated. It was based on the radio series "Roll over Beethoven" on Radio Bremen (later also on NDR and WDR). Due to the success of the radio program, which was broadcast from 1973, a loose collection of sheets with broadcast manuscripts was produced in the same year, which listeners could order from the broadcasting station.