Archive for February 19, 2015

This album was released in 1974 on the Songbird label by famous folk singer, songwriter and pair of twin brothers Heinrich and Oskar Kröher.

“Hein & Oss” call themselves “The People´s Singer” and were activ on stage for more than the last fifty years. Long before there was a new folk song movement, the vocal and guitar duo was popularizing democratic folk songs: work songs , songs of freedom of 1848-49, songs from the Hambach Festival , partisan songs, soldier songs against the drill, sailor songs and cowboy songs, songs from hiking , from drinking and of the unrest.

The 1848 Revolutions were a series of loosely coordinated protests and rebellions in the German Confederation which sought to challenge the status quo. The revolutions, which stressed pan-Germanism, emphasised popular discontent with the traditional, largely autocratic political structure of the thirty-nine independent states of the Confederation that inherited the German territory of the Holy Roman Empire. Furthermore, they demonstrated the popular desire for increased political and social freedom, democracy, and national unity within liberal principals of socioeconomic structure.

The revolution of 1848–49 marks a turning point in history. Throughout Germany the middle classes, workers, peasants, artisans, students, and the lower middle classes rose up against the ruling feudal nobility in order to create a unified, democratic state. The songs of freedom from the revolutionary years 1848 – 1949 are the expression of the struggle against feudalism, and they reflect the events of the time, the hopes and disappointments of the struggling democrats.


Trotz alledem
Vetter Michels Vaterland
Das Blutgericht
Die freie Republik
Das Reden nimmt kein End’
Ça ira
Mein Deutschland, strecke die Glieder
Fürstenjagd/ Heckerlied
Deutscher Nationnalreichtum
Das Lied von Robert Blum
Der gute Bürger
Badisches Wiegenlied
Achtzehnter März

Hein & Oss – Deutsche Lieder 1948/49 (1974)
(192 kbps, front cover included)


Originally posted 3 years ago:

Today we had the chance to experience the wonderful Stefanie Wüst with her Hanns Eisler interpretations at the “Festival Musik und Politik.” So let´s go on with the memories regarding the precursor of this festival…

The Festival of Political Songs was one of the largest music events in East Germany. It was founded by the group Oktoberklub and took place between 1970 and 1990 in East Berlin every February as an official event of the Free German Youth. The event was first organized by the Berlin division, but from 1975 was directed by the Central Committee of the Free German Youth.

Artists from 60 countries participated in the event over the years, and usually between 50 to 80 artists, from around 30 countries, performed, including prominent artists like Mikis Theodorakis, Miriam Makeba, Quilapayún, Inti-Illimani, Silvio Rodríguez, Mercedes Sosa, Canzoniere delle Lame, and Pete Seeger. The mascot of the festival was a red sparrow named Oki (derived from Oktoberklub).

After the collapse of East Germany, the festival lost its function and supporting infrastructure.

The 12th “Festival des politischen Liedes” happened between February 14 – 21, 1982 with Ad Hoc Singers (USA), Bots (Netherlands), Chris Cutler (Great Britain), Illapu (Chile), Sigi Maron (Austria), Quinteto Tiempo (Argentina), Orkest de Volharding (Netherlands), Duo Voga/Turnowski (Hungary), Arbeiterfolk, Kurt Demmler, Gerhard Gundermann, Pietsch/Körbel, Hannes-Zerbe-Blechband (GDR), Liederjan, Hannes Wader (BRD), Hanns-Eisler-Chor (West Berlin).

VA – 12. Festival des poltitischen Liedes 1982

Barbara Thalheim (born September 5, 1948 in Leipzig) is a German singer and songwriter.

The recipient of the 1994 German music critics’ awar (“Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik”), Barbara Thalheim is one of the most successful artists of post-reunification Germany. With her stunning vocals and artistic vision, Barbara Thalheim has continued to expand on the cabaret and musical theater traditions of her homeland. Thalheim’s life has been the source of a film, “Zum Sehen geboren”, by filmmaker Joachim Tschirner, released in 1989, and an autobiography, “Mugge: 25 Years on the Road”, published in 2000.

The daughter of a communist, anti-fascist, and former Dachau Concentration camp prisoner, she’s used her skills as a vocalist to overcome the political oppression of her youth. Her status as a performer has enabled her to support a varied assortment of artistic causes. During a three-year hiatus from music (1995-1998), she founded an art culture office and began an “arts in the square” program that presents concerts in disadvantaged areas of Berlin. Thalheim’s first experiences in Berlin’s cabaret scene came between 1968 and 1971, when she performed with the Oktoberklub. Hoping to learn more about German theater, she took a job as a messenger girl in 1971. Starting out as a background vocalist from 1970 to 1973, Thalheim stepped into the limelight as a soloist in 1974. She graduated in 1972 at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler”. In 1980 she protested against the stage ban of GDR artists in Western Europe, imposed by the SED. She was then excluded from the SED and she was no longer allowed to perform for some years.

From 1979 until 1991, she balanced her musical career as a radio journalist for a number of stations in Germany and Switzerland. Moving, temporarily, to France, in 1993, Thalheim performed concerts with such artists as Marek Grechula, Hermann Van Veen, Hannes Wader, and George Moustaki, and began a collaboration with French accordion player Jean Pacalet. Since Thalheim’s return to the concert stage in late 1998, Pacalet has served as her musical director. Thalheim continued to work with the group she assembled for her 1998 album, “In Eigener Sache” – bassist Marcus Schloussen, percussionist Georen Harm, and guitarist Juergen Ehle. Since 1999, she’s also performed, occasionally, with five different accordion orchestras.


A1 Sehnsucht nach der Schönhauser
A2 Der Mann im Souterrain
A3 Ete
A4 Frau am Oktobermorgen
A5 Schlaflied für Emilia
A6 Die Kinder der Nacht

B1 Wanderer erwachen früh
B2 Ich leb hier
B3 Frau an der S-Bahn
B4 Der kleine Mann
B5 Angelika
B6 Kennt ihr ihn?
Barbara Thalheim – Die Kinder der Nacht (Amiga, 1985)
(320 kbps, cover art included, vinyl rip)  

Jura Soyfer (December 8, 1912. Kharkov, Russian Empire – February 15/16, 1939, Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany) was an important Austrian political journalist, socialist and cabaret writer.

Jura Soyfer was the son of the industrialist Vladimir Soyfer and his wife Lyubov. In 1921, the family fled from the Bolshevist revolution and arrived in the town of Baden near Vienna. They later moved to Vienna. At the age of 15, Soyfer began studying socialist writings and became a staunch Marxist. In 1927, he joined the Verband der Sozialistischen Mittelschüler. His early experience with languages meant that Soyfer soon developed a feeling and love for language and wordplay. In 1929, this led to his becoming a member of the Politischen Kabarett der Sozialdemokraten (Political Cabaret of the Social Democrats) where he gained his first experience in writing for the stage.
From December 1931, Soyfer wrote two weekly political satires, one in the Arbeiter-Zeitung (Workers’ Newspaper) and the other in the social-democratic weekly Der Kuckuck (The Cuckoo). He also wrote two articles for the Politische Bühne (Political Stage, a socialist newspaper connected to the Red Players group of actors). These demanded that theatre become more politicised, and that it should stop producing mere distraction and entertainment. In this respect Soyfer approaches Bertolt Brecht’s “epic theatre”.
Soyfer also satirised the key authoritarian figures of the Austrofascist (1933/4 to 1938) period like Engelbert Dollfuß,, Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg and Kurt Schuschnigg.
In August 1935, through the writer and theatre critic Hans Weigel, Soyfer was introduced to Leon Askin, an actor and director at Vienna’s popular “ABC Theatre”, a political cabaret. This is where most of Soyfer’s pieces were later performed.
In 1937, Soyfer was mistaken for Franz Marek (a leader of the Communist Party of Austria) and arrested. When it was discovered that Soyfer himself had also written incriminatory pieces, he was imprisoned for three months. On February 17, 1938, he was freed as part of an amnesty for political prisoners. He remained freed for only 26 days. On March 13, 1938, he was arrested as he tried to cross the Austrian border at St. Antonien Joch above Gargellen into Switzerland. He was later transported to Dachau concentration camp. Here, Soyfer met the composer Herbert Zipper, and together they wrote the famous Dachaulied, the “Dachau song”, which cynically took up the Nazi motto “Arbeit macht frei” (“work liberates”), written above the entrance to such camps.
In the autumn of that year, Soyfer was transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp where he died of typhus the day after his release was granted, February 16, 1939.
His remains were sent to the United States and are buried at the Hebrew Free Burial Association’s Mount Richmond Cemetery.

Soyfer’s first work, Der Weltuntergang oder Die Welt steht auf kein’ Fall mehr lang (“The End of the World”, or “The world is certainly not going to last much longer”) was first performed in the early summer of 1936; the last performance took place only a short time later on 11 July 1936. It shows humanity before the Apocalypse, the destruction of the world by a comet – the violent repression of the revolutionary masses and the blindness of the people waiting for the end of the world. In the end, the comet does not find the heart to destroy the world, which gives the play a positive ending, but also underlines the frustrating incorrigibility and stupidity of human beings.
His second work, Der Lechner Edi schaut ins Paradies (translated into English as “Journey to Paradise”) depicts an unemployed person who sets off to find those guilty for his distress in the past, with the help of a time machine. Eventually he discovers that the cause for his condition is the creation of humanity. The play ends, however, with a call to people to make decisions, including political ones. In this way, Soyfer connects pathos with the typical element of cabaret, political criticism.
Soyfer’s third play is Astoria, a reaction to the problematic use of the word Vaterland which had been discussed in Austria since 1918. “Astoria” is a non-existent land which is the focus of the hopes and aspirations of the characters in the play. Their utopic dreams are constantly destroyed by reality. This point is made clearly at the end of the play by a song of praise the actors sing about the country when they are actually being sent to prison.
In 1937 Soyfer wrote Vineta. In this piece he leaves behind traditional Austrian theatre and portrays absurd actions and speech which lead irretrievably to downfall and destruction. The protest against facts which are seen as unchangeable, and the idea of “not wanting to know” are both themes of the play. Vineta is a warning against war and against illusions which are created to suppress people.
Soyfer also wrote Broadway Melodie 1942 for the “ABC Theatre”. It is an adaptation of Columbus by Kurt Tucholsky and Walter Hasenclever. Soyfer kept the original satire of the clergy and court society, but his political criticism of society is far more radical. The way the play sees events from the point of view of the lower classes makes it a classic piece of Volkstheater Wien (Austrian popular theatre); it becomes clear that, in the imagination of the playwright, the lower classes of society are actually superior to the upper classes (or at least should be).
During his imprisonment from 1937-1938, Soyfer began writing another play which was to be about Adolf Hitler. Nothing has survived of these drafts.

The first verse of the Dachaulied, the “Dachau song”:

Stacheldraht, mit Tod geladen,
ist um unsre Welt gespannt.
Drauf ein Himmel ohne Gnaden
sendet Frost und Sonnenbrand.
Fern von uns sind alle Freuden,
fern die Heimat, fern die Fraun,
wenn wir stumm zur Arbeit schreiten,
Tausende im Morgengraun.
Doch wir haben die Losung von Dachau gelernt
und wurden stahlhart dabei:
Sei ein Mann, Kamerad,
bleib ein Mensch, Kamerad,
mach ganze Arbeit, pack an, Kamerad,
denn Arbeit, Arbeit macht frei!
Barbed wire, loaded with death
is drawn around our world.
Above a sky without mercy
sends frost and sunburn.
Far from us are all joys,
far away our home, far away our wives,
when we march to work in silence
thousands of us at the break of day.
But we have learned the motto of Dachau
and it made us as hard as steel:
Be a man, mate,
stay a man, mate,
do a good job, get to it, mate,
for work, work makes you free!

Jura Soyfer’s intent was not to present any complete solutions or conclusions: he believed that the problems he presented could only be solved in real life, in actual protest. His plays destroy illusions and call upon us to change society in its present form. He himself saw his own plays as a means for propaganda with a direct connection to the times in which he lived.
Soyfer’s plays were published as a collection for the first time in 1974 thanks to the work of members of the organisation of exiled Austrians in England, “Young Austria”. This took his works out of their original context and gave them a larger application: they were presented, for example, as timeless criticisms of the society of the communist GDR.

The “Schmetterlinge” was an Austro-pop band with politically-critical lyrics, formed in 1969. In the year 1980 they created “Verdrängte Jahre”, a production for the festival “Wiener Festwochen” with lyrics by Jura Soyfer. The album with the same titel was recorded in 1981 and released on the “Eigelstein” label.

1 Lied von der Ordnung 2:14
2 Die Mühlen der Gerechtigkeit / Lied der Justiz 3:06
3 Vertrauenskundgebung für Herrn Fey 3:02
4 Kapitalistischer Segensspruch 2:30
5 Wenn der Himmel grau wird 2:10
6 Zeitungsmeldungen 3:05
7 Matuska spricht 1:23
8 Geh ‘ma halt a bisserl unter 1:26
9 Uralte Silversterlegende / 10 Tage Neues Jahr 2:13
10 Sturmzeit 2:47
11 Song des Guck 2:06
12 Wanderlied 2:26
13 Schlaflied für ein Ungeborenes 1:41
14 Galgenfrist bewilligt 1:52
15 Lied des einfachen Menschen 2:19
16 Dachau-Lied 3:45 

Schmetterlinge – Verdrängte Jahre – Jura Soyfer (1981)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

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Jewish Music in Post-War Germany, Part 2

Lin Jaldati: Communist First, Jewish Second

The first purveyors of Yiddish song in post-war Germany were Jews, but most of them did not actually speak Yiddish natively; they had acquired it some time later. From the very beginning, German interest in Judaism involved transforming real living assimilated Jews into a more exotic Eastern European variant.

Lin Jaldati, a Dutch Jew, was probably the most famous of these Yiddish students. Bron Rebekka Brilleslijper in 1921 in Amsterdam to a Sephardic family, Jaldati was taught Yiddish by a cantor shortly before the war. In 1944 she was deported to Auschwitz; as a Communist and aJew, she had two strikes agaisnt her. But she survived and rejoined the Communist Party soon after being freed. In 1952 she immigrated to East Germany, attracted by the opportunity to help the new socialist state. She took along her songs. In 1964 seh released her first album; by 1966, she had released her first book, a collection of Yiddish songs called Es brennt, Brüder, es brennt. In the introduction she wrote a short history of the Jews in Europe since the Middle Ages; she also noted their early involvement in Communist agitation.

Jaldati´s Jewish identification was secondary to her Communist affiliation, which would have appealed to German audiences who could congratulate themselves on their tolerance without having to feel threatend by someone who indentified above all as Jewish. Jaldati´s daughter, Jalda Rebling, explained that her mother “always said, that I´m Jewish is a fact: I´m not ashamed of it, and I´m also not particularly proud of it, that´s just the way it is”.

Lin Jaldati was interned in Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen with Anne Frank and her familiy, and was actually the person who told Otto Frank that his daughters had died in the concentration camps. In the 1980s, Jaldati toured the world with a programme taht commemorated what would have been Frank´s 50th birthday.


Ist das alles schon wieder vergessen
An meine Landsleute
Lied einer deutschen Mutter
Nichts oder alles
Die Ballade vom Wasserrad
Das Lied der Kupplerin
Song von den träumen
Spanisches Wiegenlied
Lied der Mausmutter
Auf Wiedersehn
Hej zigelech
Dort balm breg fun weldl
A jiddische mame
Der balagole un sajn ferdl
Es brent
Amol is gewen a jidele
Jüdisches Partisanenlied

Voice: Lin Jaldati
Piano: Eberhard Rebling

Lin Jaldati – Lin Jaldati singt (Eterna, 1966)
(320 kbps, cover art included)