Friday, February 15, 2008

Subway to Sally!

If I'd had my wits about me, I'd have advertised this in advance to anyone with access to German television: the glorious insanity of the Bundesvision Song Contest! This selects the German entry for Eurovision, but it's abundantly clear that the Germans have long since abandoned any interest in that contest - they certainly don't vote for songs on the basis that they stand a cat in hell's chance of winning. Anyone who remembers 'Guido Loves You', by Guido and the Orthopaedic Stockings, from 1999 will see what I mean.

No, what matters in Bundesvision is regionalism. The competition is organised around the different Lander, each of which selects its own local heroes, and it's a fascinating insight into regional taste (or lack thereof): grunge from Bremen, goth (with accompanying ballet) from Sachsen-Anhalt, soul-hip-hop-Spice Girls from Nordrhein-Westphalen, piss-poor rap-funk from Leipzig, and a Mittelalterrock-Folk-Metal-Truppe from Brandenburg singing an epic about (I think) noble Germanic seafarers returning to Kiel. Yes, they won.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAtEMy1chB0&feature=related

Wouldn't 'Song For Europe' be so much more fun if it pitted, say, Portishead against Dizzee Rascal against some goths from Leeds, all for the honour of the region, rather than the current desperate attempt at combining vague credibility with a chance of winning?

13 comments:

Frogprincess said...

Lovely post, Abahachi. I do have access to Deutsches Fernsehen but manages to miss out on that lot. Gutted, naturally. The German music scene is a strange one, is it not? They remind me of the little girl that had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead... My favourites are, in no particular order, Manuel Göttsching, Kraftwerk, Propaganda, Grönemeyer, Nina Hagen's interpretations of 1020s songs, Ute Lemper, some of Max Raabe. And it stops there. I don't understand the Tokio Hotel or Killerpilze thingy at all but can really see their linguistic value as kids now have a great motivation to learn German at school. You can see all the French teenies know all the words, can sing along and understand them too. So big up to that. Which "gut" German bands am I missing out on? Must be hundreds of 'em (she said hopefully).

Mnemonic said...

Oh FP, for starters

Can
Neu!
Einsturzende Beubauten
Harmonia (and anything involving Han Joachim Roedelius)
Guru Guru

Mnemonic said...

Oops, typo, should be Neubauten and worth seeing for Blixa Bargeld's haircut alone.

Frogprincess said...

Danke schön. I've always loved the name of 'Einstürzende..." and also of Blixa Bargeld without ever having knowingly heard any of their music. I shall do some research. Manuel's wife Ilona got him to sing in one of her films. When she's finished with their big concert tomorrow night I'll ask her if she has any good Blixa Bargeld stories. She must do. Cheers for donding Forbidden colours over on the Mother Ship. I hope I get that one in the 'Ten'....

Mnemonic said...

Blixa used to be a Bad Seed with Nick Cave. Maybe you've heard him there?

Abahachi said...

Mnemonic has anticipated most of the ones that I'd have mentioned. I'm also a big fan of some German jazz, most notably the artists associated with the FMP label in Berlin (Peter Broetzmann, Alexander von Schlippenbach), the late trombonist Albert Mangelsdorf and the Zentralquartett - whose most recent album, 11 Songs aus teutschen Landen, offers a hilarious and wonderful free jazz take on traditional Volkslieder. However, I'm well aware that most of these are an acquired taste even for jazz fans.

I would hesitate before recommending many of the more contemporary artists, let alone the ones that appear on Bundesvision. They're most notable for the high degree of development of various music genres that time forgot - rock, goth, punk, grunge - rather than anything terribly cutting-edge or inspired. I like it partly for the kitsch element and partly because it's so heroically uncommercial - or rather the fact that all these styles can survive, prosper (albeit with little hope of an international audience) and even appear on national television in contrast to the tyranny of fashion and big money you get in the UK. It's the same reason that I follow German football rather than the Premier League.

Frogprincess said...

Oh well in that case probably - particularly if it was around the time when they did that brilliant scene in Wenders' 'Wings of Desire'. Wenders is a biiiig bloke. I nearly ran into him last year as I was rushing around and my head just brushed his kneecaps. Slight exaggeration there, but not much.

nilpferd said...

FP- besides Nu-jazzers (Rainer Trüby, Jazzanova, Beanfield, Christian Prommer etc) the only Germans I listen to regularly are Die Sterne, an indie band from Hamburg. Check out their album Räuber und Gedärme. Very witty songtexts. They are quite well represented on Youtube, try Fick das System.

Frogprincess said...

Cheer guys - lying on the sofa in a flu-ridden Beechams' powders induced daze - so you're keeping me cheered up. As is the thought of unleashing RAMMSTEIN!!! on the eurovosion audience - complete with flame throwers and chain saws. What would Terry Wogan make of them....? What's your favourite Eurovision song winner by the way - c'mon you must all have one!! I liked Gainsbourg's White and black blues and Isreal's A-Bah-Ni- Bi (I think it was)

Mnemonic said...

Rammstein!! Remember that FILTHY video on youtube that got posted on RR about a year ago. Wasn't TonNL the guilty party? I know I had to register with YouTube and guarantee I was over 18 to watch it. Ended up buying a CD/DVD of the band on the strength if it.

Frogprincess said...

(squeaking) post the link! post the link!

Mnemonic said...

It's posted! (as a new post)

Anonymous said...

I am afraid you barely cover 1% of the broad range of the German music scene, which is extremely creative and even when it is far better sometimes just goes unnoticed in the AngloAmerican unisono sound.
Just dropping names like Juli,Silbermond, Rosenstolz, MIA, Wir sind Helden, Jan Delay, Sarah Connor, Roger Cicero, Max Raabe, Grönemeyer, Boundzound, Oomph,Deichkind, Revolverheld,Yello, Coldplay, Till Brönner, Seeed, Xavier Naidoo, Söhne Mannheims, German Brass or Peter Fox (alles Neu) ...
Just listen ...