Archive for September, 2014

The radio-broadcast “Bleibe im Lande und wehre dich täglich –  Streiflichter auf die DDR-Rockszene” from “Musicbox”, a Swiss radio programm, is a very interesting document reporting about the GDR music scene in the year of the fall of the wall.
 Broadcasted 25 years ago, the feature combines music and interviews with memebers from bands like Big Savod, Tausend Tonnen Obst, Herr Blum, Die Anderen and Herbst in Peking. The musicians talk about the situation in the GDR music scene, about making compromises with the established system, about music between East and West, about politics and the ongoing changes in the GDR society.

Thanks to Tape Attack for this intimate impressions from the GDR music scene in the year 1989.

“Bleibe im Lande und wehre dich täglich – Streiflichter auf die DDR-Rockszene” (26.09.1989)
(192 kbps)


Gisela May (born May, 31 1924) is a distinguished German character actress of theatre and a singer, critically acclaimed for performing the songs written by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. She also appeared as a film and TV actress in a number of movies between 1951 and 1991.

Gisela May studied at the drama school in Leipzig. She was employed for nine years at various theatres, including the State Theatre of Schwerin and the State Theatre in Halle. From 1951 she was engaged at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, Max Reinhardt’s former workplace. She played a variety of roles from the classics to modern.

In 1962 Gisela May moved to Bertolt Brecht’s theatre group, the Berliner Ensemble, to which she belonged for 30 years. Here she played many roles including Madame Cabet in “The Days of the Commune,” Mrs Peachum in “The Threepenny Opera,and ” Mrs Kopecka in “Schweik in the Second World War.” The theatrical highlight in Brecht’s stage work was her personification of Mother Courage. This performance was for about 13 years until the end of 1992 central to the repertoire of the Berliner Ensemble. Since 1992, the artist has been freelance, often working at Berlin’s Renaissance Theatre.

Gisela May’s second career as a chanteuse ran parallel to her acting. The composer Hanns Eisler valued her particularly for her command of Brecht’s style, and worked with her.

In addition to song interpretation Gisela May has experience in the Musicals: in Hello Dolly, she performed as the title character at the Metropol Theatre in Berlin, as well as Fraulein Schneider in “Cabaret” at the “Theater des Westens”.

Tours through Europe, across America and Australia have taken her to New York at Carnegie Hall, to the Sydney Opera House and La Scala, Milan. In 1989 she performed in London at a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the DDR.

May has been internationally acclaimed as First Lady of the Political Song and Best Brecht Interpreter. She has performed all over the world for the past forty years. May was one of the leading artists in the former DDR from the early fifties onward. She enjoyed an intensive collaboration with composer Hanns Eisler and was attached as an actress to the Berliner Ensemble for thirty years, until she was fired in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall.


A1 Augen In Der Gross-Stadt
A2 Lamento
A3 Sie Zu Ihm
A4 Die Nachfolgerin
A5 Das Lied Von Der Gleichgültigkeit
A6 Das Lächeln Der Mona Lisa
A7 Chanson – Japanlied

B1 Das Leibregiment
B2 Wenn Eena Jeborn Wird
B3 Wenn Eena Dot Is
B4 Mutterns Hände
B5 Der Graben
B6 Rote Melodie
B7 Krieg Dem Kriege

Gisela May – Singt Tucholsky (Amiga, 1967)

(320 kbps, cover art included)
The third festival of political songs took place in Berlin between February,13th and February, 19th, 1972. Here are some recording from this festival, released on Eterna in the same year.


01 Lied Vom Vaterland [Oktober-Klub]
02 Har Ni Hört, Kamrater [Fria Proteatern]
03 Ballade Von Hans Dickhoff [Dieter Süverkrüp]
04 Kenen Joukoissa Seisot [Agit-Prop]
05 Fusil Contra Fusil [Silvio Rodríguez]
06 Loschadi W Okeanje [Sergej Nitkin]
07 Befria Södern [Fria Proteatern]
08 Por Vietnam [Quilapayún]
09 Lang Lebe Bangladesh [Bhupen Hazarika]
10 Camilo Torres [Basta]
11 Zigeunerlied [Kalaka]
12 Europavalsen [Agit-Prop]
13 Wem Soll Getraut Werden [Die Conrads]

3. Festival des politischen Liedes (Eterna, 1972)
(192 kbps, front & back cover included)

Originally posted on February, 23, 2012:
From 1970 to 1990 there was a festival of political songs in Berlin that provided a meeting place for politically involved musicians from around the globe – with a like-minded audience.  From 1991 to 1994 the association “ZwischenWelt-Förderverein” continued the tradition of the political song festival along with a progressive Cultural festival.
After the break-up of this association and until 1999 no festivals took place. In 2000 a successful small-scale revival of the festival took place. The new orientation of the festival manifested itself in 2001 with the festival’s new name: “Festival Musik und Politik“.

This years “Festival Musik & Politik” is starting today. It features a hommage to Hanns Eisler and a great Woody Guthrie memorial evening with Tom Morello (USA), Woody Sez (USA) and Wenzel & Band (Germany).

Celebrating this years “Festival Musik & Politik” we will post some recordings from the former “Festival des politischen Liedes”. Here are recordings form the 7th festival in 1977, with artists like Floh De Cologne, Bots, Inti-Illimani, Oktoberklub and more, recordet between february, 12 to 19, 1977 in Berlin.

VA – 7. Festival des politischen Liedes (1977)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

 “Ballads of Sacco & Vanzetti” is a set of ballad songs, written and performed by Woody Guthrie, related to the trial, conviction and execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. The series was commissioned by Moe Asch in 1945 and recorded in 1946 and 1947. Guthrie never completed the project and was unsatisfied by the result.
The project was released later in its abandoned form by Asch.

Guthrie sings the story of the anarchists who were tried and convicted of murder, then executed in Boston in the 1920s. Written by Guthrie during 1946-47, the powerful songs of this well-known affair reaffirm the value of the struggle for freedom and dramatically describe the price often paid.

Woody Guthrie – Ballads Of Sacco & Vanzetti (1947)
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Christian “Kuno” Kunert was part of the East German rock legend “Klaus Renft Combo” (or just “RENFT”), the songwriter and rock lyricist Gerulf Pannach was a companion of the band. Their rebellious attitude and “decadent” lifestyle was another thorn in the side of the East German officials. “Renft” was banned from stage for lifetime and declared “non-existent” in September 1975.

As Klaus Jentzsch, founder of the “Klaus Renft Combo”, has left the GDR to West-Berlin with his Greek wife in 1976, Christian Kunert and Gerulf Pannach started a folk-duo called “Pannach & Kunert”. After a few illegal peformances they were arrested and imprisoned together with writer Jürgen Fuchs for nine months until they were ransomed by the West German Government. They were forced to leave the GDR against their will. “Pannach & Kunert” enjoyed some moderate success in West Berlin.

“Fluche, Seele, fluche” is a wonderful album and a fine example for those critical german artists getting caught between the fronts of the cold war and suffering under their German-German exile:

„Ob im Osten oder Westen
wo man ist, ist´s nie am besten
suche, Seele suche
fluche, Seele, fluche.“

(Gerulf Pannach, inspired by “Weiter immer weiter”, written by Erich Mühsam)

Pannach & Kunert – Fluche Seele Fluche (1981)

(256 kbps, cover art included)
Political songs had a major forum in Eastern Germany: The “Festival des politischen Liedes”, a festival for political songs that took place every year between 1970 and 1990 in East Berlin. The festival was founded and until 1980 also organised by the FDJ, the Eastern German official youth association. Each year between 50 and 80 bands and musicians from about 30 different countries came to present political songs as well as folk and world music with a political touch.

It was one of the few “windows” to the big wide world, a chance to see many international bands and musicians, to get a bit of the flair of cultures from foreign countries where normal Eatern German folk was not allowed to go to, of internationalism. For young people this festival was a highlight of the year: “The festival broke with the every day life of the GDR. Nights without closing times. Political Carnival. Exceptional situations. Conjugal crisises. Moments of falling in love. New unexpected lyrics and melodies. Different views of the world. Different people that you would otherwise never had met.” This is how Hans-Eckart Wenzel remembers the festivals. He reminds that tickets for the festival were always short, and a lot of people had to stay outside.

The fourth “Festival des politischen Liedes” took place in Berlin, February 10th to 16th, 1974 with artists like Inti-Illimani, Miriam Makeba, The Sands Family and many others. This album features original recordings from this festival.
01 Canción Del Poder Popular [Inti-Illimani]
02 Wohin Bringen Sie Den Jungen [Thermopyles]
03 Salaspilsz [Iskatjeli]
04 Alla Mattina Con La Luna [Luciano Francisci]
05 A Desalambrar [Daniel Viglietti]
06 Die Ölkonzerne [Oktober-Klub]
07 Lied Von Der Führenden Rolle Der Arbeiterklasse Gegenüber Dem Adel [Reinhold Andert]
08 The Winds Are Singing Freedom [The Sands Family]
09 Afrika [Miriam Makeba]
10 Por Todo Chile [Isabel Parra Und Patricio Castillo]
11 Ruce [Mensi Bratri]
12 Vamos Ahora [Quinteto Tiempo]

4. Festival des politischen Liedes – Rote Lieder (1974, Eterna, vinyl rip)

(192 kbps, cover art included)

This compilation of classic worker songs was released on the ETERNA label in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). It features choral versions of classic worker songs like “Die Internationale” or “Brüder, zur Sonne, zur Freiheit” and songs related to the anti-fascist fight in the Spanish civil war – like “Bandiera Rossa” and “Spaniens Himmel” –  sometimes with a solo voice, sometimes without.


01 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Die Internationale 03:40
02 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Brüder, zur Sonne, zur Freiheit 01:47
03 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Dem Morgenrot entgegen 02:54
04 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Die Arbeitermarseillaise 01:53
05 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Matrosen von Kronstadt 02:07
06 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Unsterbliche Opfer 02:03
07 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Sozialistenmarsch 02:06
08 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Im Kerker zu Tode gemartert 02:35
09 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Brüder, seht, die rote Fahne 02:50
10 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Warschawjanka 02:40
11 Rundfunk-Jugenchor Wernigerode – Bandiera Rossa 01:46
12 Rundfunk-Jugenchor Wernigerode – Wann wir schreiten Seit an Seit 02:01
13 Jugendchor Berlin – Entgegen dem kühlenden Morgen 01:57
14 Rundfunk-Jugenchor Wernigerode – Solidaritätslied 02:22
15 Rundfunk-Jugenchor Wernigerode – Spaniens Himmel 01:49
16 Hermann Hähnel – Einheitsfrontlied 02:59
17 Hermann Hähnel – Die Moorsoldaten 02:24
18 Rundfunk-Jugenchor Wernigerode – Wir sind die erste Reihe 02:03
19 Rundfunk-Jugenchor Wernigerode – Sein rotes Banner 02:35
20 Rundfunkchor Berlin – Hammer

Völker hört die Signale – Internationale Arbeiterkampflieder
(224 kbps, cover art included)

This album is a collection of labour songs recorded at the “Arbeiterliederfestival 1970” in Essen, originally released on “Pläne” in the 70s.

It features classic songs like “Der rote Wedding”, “Brüder, zur Sonne, zur Freiheit”, “Gaslied”, “Einheitsfrontlied” and “Die Internationale” in recordings by artists like Hanns Dieter Hüsch, Dieter Süverkrüp, Dietrich Kittner, Franz-Josef Degenhardt and Lerryn.

(192 kbps, cover art included)

“Es ist unsinnig, von einem Scheitern des Sozialismus zu reden, denn den Sozialismus hat es bisher nur in den Köpfen von Intellektuellen gegeben. Und vielleicht als Traum von ein paar Millionen Leuten. Aber die Realität des Sozialismus war der Stalinismus, und das heißt: die Kolonisierung der eigenen Bevölkerung” – Heiner Müller

We will continue to bring back some music to our mind and ear that was part of the musical subculture in the last years of the DDR and during the time of change.

01. O-Ton Radio DT 64
02. HERBST IN PEKING: Bakschischrepublik
03. ICHFUNKTION: Hobin Rood
04. KEIMZEIT: Irrenhaus
06. HERBST IN FLAKE: Bakschisch For Burundi
07. FEELING B Lied: Von Der Unruhevollen Jugend
08. RENFT: Nach Der Schlacht
09. ENGERLING: Es Kommen Andere Zeiten
10. DIE SKEPTIKER: Strahlende Zukunft
12. DIE FIRMA: Alte Helden
13. HERR BLUM: Money
14. HERBST IN FLAKE: Bakschisch For Burundi (Dance Mix)
15. SANDOW: Born In The GDR
16. O-Ton Radio DT 64

V.A. – System-Ausfall (DT64, 1990)
(192 kbps, cover art included)