Astatine Interview

Ana Maria Leistikow, better known in Bonn as Astatine, has come a long way since she first started singing in her Romanian hometown on the banks of the Danube.  In 2007 she moved to Germany, and next week she is set to open this year’s ‘Unter Der Zeder’ season in Bad Godesberg on Monday (5 July) with a sold-out show.   3songs sat down with her to talk about the last few months as a singer during Covid, about her upcoming projects, and of course, Monday’s concert!

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Freischlader band dissolved- concerts cancelled

Bad news for all Henrik Freischlader fans out there – the band has now split up with all planned concerts cancelled until further notice, including his scheduled Harmonie appearance on 26 October.

Here is the official announcement from Henrik:

“Dear Blues lovers,

it’s been a while since my last post and I hope that you’re all well.

Sadly, I’ve got some bad news to share with you today: The band has split up. Due to the long break, a lot of things have changed for us as well and new paths have been taken. In addition, the reality we’ve all been used to is yet to be restored – it still needs some patience and hope until such time arrives. The music is too emotional for me for a dry The Show Must Go On. The time will be used differently then, maybe I will record an album, but definitely put together a new band. So again a new beginning! I really hope that live concerts and festivals will reclaim what made them so unique in the past: Closeness and freedom for us all!”

Until then I still look forward to your letters and wish you all the best.

God bless, Henrik”


Guarding Trees in Plittersdorf

Peter Wohlleben, in his groundbreaking book ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ notes that many a tree trunk in many a forest  still lives on thanks to the trees around it.  They ‘feed’ it through their own roots, looking after their own so to speak.  Which is just as well, since we humans very often use our leafy friends as mere political pawns. We claim to guard our climate by cutting down fuel emissions through improving cycleways, and to do so we cut down trees.  Good then that there are humans out there looking out for the welfare of our leafy oxygen guardians, and Sunday was a chance to meet some of them as well as a day to enjoy good local music in a good local park on a good sunny Summer afternoon.

Created in 2020, “Baumwächter” or ‘Tree Guardians’ in English, was the initiative behind Sunday’s relaxing event.  “We give trees a voice – because every tree counts!” is the motto here.

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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.