Classic meets Gypsy – Live music is back in Bonn

‘Unter der Zeder’ is a brand-spanking new concert season in Bad Godesberg. A ‘Lite’ version of the popular ‘Concert in the Park’ Season with its limited seating perhaps, but well worth reserving a seat for as the opening concert by Marcus Schinkel and Joscho Stephan proved.

Certainly, the Cedar trees outside of the Kleines Theater in the Bad Godesberger Kurpark make a beautiful setting for relaxing music. On my arrival though I was looking for one with a good roof of leaves. In fact, only an hour before it was hammering with rain and thunder. The rain stopped, and the bus arrived, so I made my decision to get on it – and I am very glad I did.

Joscho Stephan

I suspect many of us live music lovers would consider heading for a stage that even had someone playing a triangle. Just to hear live music once again… But here we were, 100 of us, (I know that because entrance was only with a seat and they were all filled), with music on offer from two ridiculously talented gentlemen.

Marcus Schinkel has been one of Bonn’s brightest lights in the Classical-Jazz crossover world for some years now of course. Recently seen performing a stunning version of Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ with an equally stunning band, this time – and indeed for the first time ever – Schinkel was playing as a duo with one of Europe’s top acoustic guitar virtuosos.

Marcus ‘nose’ how to play the Theremin

Joscho Stephan was described by Acoustic Guitar Magazine as no less than “The future of Gypsy-Jazz guitar”. If that isn’t enough to make a man big-headed I don’t know what is. Stephan though, rather like Schinkel, comes across as a very likeable chap without airs of self-importance. Like Schinkel again, he is someone who loves to hop-scotch between genres – even inside of the melody of a single tune as when Schinkel is playing the rhythm of a Beethoven piece with one hand and the melody of Gershwin’s ‘I’ve got Rhythm’ with the other. Stephan replies equally adeptly by keeping the Gershwin melody but this time backing it with a Django Rheinhardt rhythm. The smiles on both mens faces throughout the evening were a clear indication that they, like us, were glad to be back in a live music setting as they batted musical notes back and forth. When two such talented Jazz musicians are onstage and improvising so freely and happily with their musical table tennis it’s easy to get lost in the moment. I even forgot that it might rain…

Did these guys have a good time?

Full marks then to Verein KuKuG EV for an inspired choice of location. Sabine Köhne-Kayser, Frank Oppermann and co offer a warm welcome.

Clearly, under the Cedars next to the small theatre is going to be a popular place to be this Summer in Bad Godesberg.

Tickets are just 15 Euros for a seat. There are only 100 seats. Next concert is the wonderful Cynthia Nickschas on 20 July. Need I say more?

For more on the Unter der Zeder Open-air season click HERE

Magic under the trees


Finally, a soundbite of what you missed if you weren’t there…

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