Issue 3 2/98
Reviews of 'Deutscher Folk Förderpreis 1997' and Prime Cuts CD sampler
Prime Cuts - Folk/Song/World Music in Germany 1998
Last year the German folk music organisation Profolk started a new institution for the German scene. With the sampler 'It's only Kraut' they published a first sampler CD to present music and song from Germany internationally. They received very good reactions all over the world. Here is the second CD sampler by Profolk.
On last year's sampler about half of the titles were based on German regional music traditions; this year's sampler has the focus on German world music. There is plenty of great music on the sampler, and if you just listen to the CD, you have nearly no chance to guess that this is all 'German' music.
Kurdish music, Irish music, Cuban music, 'Global' music, Mongolian music, Jiddish music, Hungarian music, Italian music - and a little bit of German music. This CD is a showcase of the multicultural Germany; some of the musicians are Germans playing music from other countries, and some are in Germany living foreigners presenting a bit of their cultural identity. There is plenty to enjoy - I especially liked Southern Italian singer/songwriter Santino de Bartolo, the Hungarian Gipsy band Csókolom and the Jiddish band Aufwind.
I still have a problem with this year's sampler - it is actually the name. For a CD showcasing the multicultural scene in Germany, the title 'Prime Cuts' is in my opinion not the best. If a Not-German and even a German reads the title of the CD - Prime Cuts - expecting the best of German music, and then listens to the CD and finds out that most of it is world music - what thoughts will he have? Maybe he thinks there is no German music in Germany, just world music played in Germany. In my opinion this CD would need a (sub-)title like The multicultural side of German music or whatever - but a title where anybody directly knows: This is just the world part of it all, and there is still plenty of music based on German roots.
Also I personally would not have a sampler of German folk music with just maybe two or three of eighteen titles which are based on German roots. It is not that I dislike the multicultural part of the German scene; nevertheless, in my opinion, there should always be a bit more of German music, to show that there is living German folk music in Germany.
Still - as said - it is a sampler with lots of great music, and a good booklet with background information on the artists.
A bit of background information on the whole project:
To get on this sampler, the musician/band has to send three of their titles plus some infos on them. When they are chosen to become part of the sampler, they have to pay 400 or 600 DM (depending on if they are Pfofolk members) to get on the CD. Therefor, they get afterward also 50 copies of the sampler, and are included in the booklet with a double page containing photo, line-up, information and contact address.
This is a promotional sampler only, meaning that it is sent to journalists and organisers internationally, but that it is not for sale. Actually this is another lack of the whole thing - reasons are juridical. So the FolkWorld reader can just get the CD if he/she is a journalist or organiser.
Nevertheless, this CD sampler is still a great idea and should help the German scene internationally. Keep up the good work on this project, Profolk!
Contact address is PROFOLK · Kändlerstr. 32 · D-04207 Leipzig; you might contact by e-mail also Jo Meyer.
The 1997 'Deutscher Folk Förderpreis' CD presents the 1997 winners with three pieces each. The first price winners are Schlöusselbund, a trio of Nyckelharpa, harp and bass. There is a lot of improvisation in their music, and the style changes between diverse folk music traditions, jazz and classical music. The nyckelharpa is the Swedish keyed fiddle; once it has been a popular instrument in Germany as well, but this tradition has not survived in Germany - just in Sweden. Great music!
Then Aquabella - five young women with beautiful voices doing a capella singing. Their songs have their origins all around the world, with different languages; and they add their own compositions. On this CD, you find one American, one Macedonian and one Jiddish song. Enjoyable as well.
Finally Schnaftl Ufftschik. They are a brass band - but they have found a new form of brass band. It is all quite exciting, much is self composed; nevertheless for myself it is too brassy - but this is just personal taste, I know...
The contact address for the 'Deutscher Folk Förderpreis 1997' (where you can order also your copy of this CD) is Liane Fürst, Rathausstr. 9, 10781 Berlin; e-mail.
Drawing by German artist Annegret Haensel; for more info on the artist, look at the editorial page
To the content of FolkWorld online music magazine Nr. 3© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 2/98
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