Under the Cedar (and the Oak) – A strong line-up for 2021

‘Musik unter der Zeder’ makes a welcome return to the Bonn Open-Air calendar in July/August. The concerts, created by The Kleinen Theater and KuKuG in Bad Godesberg were a storming success last year, and the 2021 programme looks to be as strong as, or dare I say it, even stronger this Summer. From the opener with Brazilian Jazz & Latin Grooves offered by Astatine and very special guests through to African Drums that will signal the Festival’s close on 9 August there is a veritable cornucopia of musical styles coming our way in the Kurpark Bad Godesberg.

Read on for more information and feedback from the musicians who gathered for this week’s press conference…

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R.I.P. Hans Schäfer

Sad news that with the passing of Hans Schäfer on 1 June Bonn has lost the last constant video chronicler of its local live music scene. Together with Christa Franken who died earlier this year, Hans could be found at many Bonn concerts in the last decade. On the roof of the Bundeskunsthalle for the GA Sommergarten, or at local festivals on Marktplatz.

I will remember him, always clad in a black t-shirt and black cargo shorts, sitting on the stone steps leading to the stage at Stadtgarten with an eye ‘glued’ to the viewfinder of his video camera. Like Christa he died aged 86, and like Christa he leaves behind a treasure trove of video material from Bonn concerts.

Kulturgarten – two week postponement

The seven-day incidence rate for Covid in Bonn is falling much more slowly than hoped, and this now also has an impact on the BonnLive Kulturgarten season. In agreement with the city of Bonn, the start will be postponed by two weeks. 

The starting signal for the summer open-air will therefore not be given on June 15, but two weeks later on June 30. “Of course we hoped that the incidences would be constant, especially since they are already significantly lower in the Bonn area,” says Julian Reininger, managing director of BonnLive. “We are very disappointed that we can now not ring in the Kultursommer as planned on June 15, but we are looking forward all the more to June 30!” adds Simon Reininger, also Managing Director.

Artists such as REVOLVERHELD, JORIS, KASALLA, CULCHA CANDELA, CAT BALLOU, CAROLIN KEBEKUS, ECKART VON HIRSCHHAUSEN and many more are planned, as well as weekly shows by the JUNGES THEATER BONN. The organizational team of the BonnLive Kulturgarten is in close contact with the city of Bonn and, under high pressure, the team has found replacement dates for all shows and concerts within a very short time.

Unfortunately, the unexpected postponement has an impact on the television plans for the European Football Championship with the public viewing for Germany vs. France and Germany vs. Portugal having to be canceled.  The Germany vs. Hungary match will be shown on June 23 at the Telekom Open Air on the other side of the Rhine.

“We are very happy that the artists and sponsors have been so understanding,” explains Sandro Heinemann, Managing Director of BonnLive, “and we are sure that our spectators will also understand the situation, and their anticipation will simply grow for another two weeks,” adds Heinemann. 

The makers of the Kulturgarten, are sure however that the short-term disappointment will be forgotten as early as next week with the third and final announcement of artists due to be made. “Despite teething problems, the organizers are all the more excited to be staging dozens of shows and concerts throughout the summer starting June 30,” sums up Simon Reininger. 

Regardless of the Kulturgarten’s postponement, the Telekom Open Air will take place as planned between June 19 and 27 with the BEETHOVEN ORCHESTER BONN, RÄUBER, 257ERS, RAZZand others. 

Tickets for the events can be purchased  HERE 

When Rivers Meet – We Fly Free

It’s barely been two years since Grace and Aaron Bond had a musical epiphany.  After eight years of making music largely as the fancy took them, the husband and wife team from Essex discovered they could make a pretty great Blues Rock sound.  In fact, they liked it so much that the duo headed out on the roads of England in an old VW Camper to test out their new musical love – and then came Covid.

At this time you would expect the story to take a downward turn.  Instead, the Pandemic proved to be the making of them.  Proof of that is in a record-breaking four wins at this year’s British Blues Awards.  Alongside Best Emerging Artist, Best Band and Best Album they also picked up the curious Most Inspirational Online Performance award.  All of which makes both band, and album well worth a listen for all Blues Rock lovers out there (and I know there are many around Bonn area!)

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Second Kunstrasen show in 2021 for Jan Delay

Jan Delay has now added an extra show to his Kunstrasen appearance this year. The top German Rap star follows hot on the heels of a similar ‘double booking’ for Lea and makes me wonder if this could be the new norm for concerts – if you can only have half as many people attending, then do two shows. Anyway, Delay is now scheduled for both 24th and 25th August, 7pm Kunstrasen.

There are few musicians in the German pop landscape who can boast a career as rich in surprises as Jan Delay.

He draws from five decades of (black) pop history, but plays just in the here and now. In him are Daft Punk and Drake, Burna Boy and Stefflon Don, Sly & Robbie and Meek Mill. Jan Delay and his terrific band play with disco, trap, funk, afrobeats, ska, arena techno, reggea, rock, soul …. as only free spirits like Jan Delay & Disko No.1 can do.

Jan Delay has always been a popstar by conviction. Never shying away from the big melodies and moments, rather embracing and celebrating them and bringing them into his own cosmos. Only the obvious has never interested him. On the contrary, it is precisely the small breaks and apparent contradictions in his music and artistic personality that have made him relevant over three decades, a period of time that is incomprehensible by hip-hop standards: from the Rote Flora to “Grün Weiße Liebe” to features with Hafti and Tretti. He still takes the political personally almost 30 years after “K.E.I.N.E”.

The fact that he always gets away with it, however, is not only due to his unerring rhyme art and his fine sense for crisp slogans, nor to the trademark of his unique singing voice, but above all to a hard-won fact: There is simply no better live band in this country than Disko No. 1 and their stylish MC Jan Delay.

Kongrats Kültürklüngel!

Congratulations to the Kültürklüngel Orkestar for being one of three local organizations awarded the Bonner Heimat-Prize for 2021.

The ‘Kültürklüngel Orkestar’ is an open and diverse music project that has origins in the grand Bonn Carnival tradition. The concerts of its free-flowing network of local musicians are very often spontaneous affairs with any number of contributors from any number of cultural backgrounds. This is very much reflected in their music, which the orchestra describes as “coming from Orient and Occident, North and South, from the Balkan region to Swabia”. It may at times seem chaotic when you see them marching through the City Centre streets playing. but there is method behind the ‘madness’ whith the aim, by concerts end, to have broken down all cultural barriers with the passers-by through the sheer joy and force of music.

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A guide to Kunstrasen 2021

Lea (21 August – two shows)

The omens are looking good that on 5th August Sven Regener will step behind the microphone on that fabled patch of parkland in Gronau to introduce German Rockers Element of Crime and get Kunstrasen 2021 underway in fine style.

It might not have the International punch of pre-Covid Festivals, and it’s inevitable that the big names are largely pushed on to 2022 (amazing work by promoter Ernst Ludwig Hartz for steering through what must have been a logistical nightmare at times).  Before you start looking for those tickets you already have for next years shows though, don’t dismiss the line-up for 2021.  Here is a guide to some of the music and musicians waiting keenly to step back before live audiences after the long live-music drought.  Hopefully there is something/someone that catches your eye in my preview, and apologies if I didn’t mention your particular favourite.  That’s what happens when pretty well something for everyone is on offer!

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Rozedale – Rozedale

Popular French rockers Rozedale are back with something new, and and I don’t mean just a change in spelling (from Rosedale) either. The band centred around Amandyn Roses’ punchy vocals and Charlie Fabert’s tasteful guitar licks have completed their third studio disc.  ‘Third album syndrome’ (there’s even a name for it) usually develops as follows:  New band kicks off with a solid debut, filled with songs that have perhaps been years in the making (1st release). Band then find out what went down best from this first disc and use that knowledge to deliver a solid follow-up (2nd release).   But then comes the question: should release number three stay safe and be more of the same? Should it show progression and risk losing fans?  For Rozedale it’s make your mind up time..

Actually, that subtle spelling change is a clue to the musical path taken.  Yes, things have changed, but not too much.  Overall the band has kept it’s sound – and that’s a good thing.  Using the mixing skills of Chris Sheldon (Radiohead/Foo Fighters) is an equally wise move –  guaranteeing that this release maintains a Rock edginess even in its introspective moments.

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