Folk Club Bonn #138 – ‘Tree’mendous

Old Trees. Has Folk Club had that theme before? If not, it certainly should have. Many is the time now that John Harrison has been found standing under an old oak or a beleaguered birch extolling the virtues of the Green Man. No trees allowed inside Dotty’s of course but Bonn Tree Guardian (Baumwächter) Andreas Thieves was on hand to remind us what these tall and patient guardians of Nature do for us.

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French Night closes Stadtgarten 2023

All good things etc… On Saturday evening it was time for the 2023 Stadtgarten Season to come to an end. The month has flown by and hopefully, there has been something for everyone, that’s always the aim of the Kulturamt der Stadt Bonn led by the tireless enthusiasm of Hans -Joachim Over oder ‘HaJo’ as everyone knows him. Today it was largely French Music Night with local band the Soline Ensemble and French Indie-Pop band The Rodeo, with a warm-up for everyone courtesy of the Bonn inclusion band Project Inclusion. Three bands then – and a 6:30 pm start to cram all the good music in.

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Lisa Bassenge Trio – Dottendorfer Jazznacht

Don’t shout it out too loud but Dottendorf is rapidly establishing itself as a top address for the modern jazz scene. There are only around two hundred seats available at the Kulturzentrum anyway, and lately you need to get there early to secure one of them. Friday’s appearance by Berlin-based Lisa Bassenge was further proof of the quality music that Dottendorf has to offer jazz fans.

Bassenge enchanted everyone with her current stage show dedicated to the ‘mothers’ of popular music. There are some surprise names in that set too. Dolly Parton’s ‘Wildflowers’, was particularly special for Bassenge, who, as the daughter of an Iranian immigrant knows how it feels to be uprooted

“So I uprooted myself from my home ground and left. Took my dreams and I took to the road.

When a flower grows wild. It can always survive. Wildflowers don’t care where they grow”

An evening of beautiful songs, beautifully sung, taken from a varied and talented selection of music ladies. Tammy Wynette (‘Til I Get It Right’), Lady Gaga (‘Joanne’), Joni Mitchell (‘Woodstock’, Robyn (‘Dancing on my Own’). There were powerful interpretations of songs by men too, especially the meditational flow of Dylan’s ‘Don’t Think Twice’ and the moving Warren Zevon song ‘Keep Me In Your Heart For A While’. Nick Drake’s ‘Parasite’ too was memorable, with dramatic swirling, chaotic piano perfectly underpinning the swirling mind of Drake himself whose genius was blighted by depression.

Bassenge’s husband Andreas Langknew perfectly when to shine and when to blend in (“I loved his playing so much that I married him” she smiled). Almost as powerful as Bassenge’s voice on this emotional evening was the piano accompaniment of Jacob Karlzon who really made his keyboard weep and shout out throughout an evening that will long be remembered by those lucky enough to have discovered this little gem of a concert hall tucked away in Dottendorf.

Getting Wrecked with Robert Jon

For lovers of American southern rock music, The Harmonie was THE place to be last Sunday evening. Hailing from Orange County, California Robert Jon and The Wreck were really on fire for the closing night of their European tour. The only complaint I could make is that Sunday shows have to finish so damn early – who wants to go home from a concert at 9:30 pm? Not when there’s a great band onstage who seem like they would happily play all night!

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Kunstrasen VIP Lounge – Part 2

Back to Kunstrasen’s ‘Klein aber Fein’ Vsecond Stage.  Roxanne de Bastion and Daniel Bongart were on the bill on a day when all the threat of rain during Sunday’s  VIP lounge concert arrived with a vengeance from early afternoon on Tuesday evening.  An hour before the music was due to start there were regular peals of thunder from the Rheinaue direction.  A wise man would have stayed home.  I set out – with a raincoat and strong umbrella.  Well, there was an English lady waiting for me.  Waiting for an audience of any sort I suspect as the lightning lit up the early evening sky.

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British Isles under the Cedar Tree

Not having been back to my home country for over two years it was rather pleasant to walk down to Kleines Theater in the Bad Godesberg Kurpark on Monday.  For one, it was slightly drizzling with rain.  ‘Even the weather will be Best of British’ I sighed happily inside my waterproof jacket.  Music from the British Isles was what it said on the flyers.  But what exactly was that?  I mean, we all know Irish jigs and Scottish bagpipes, but can you fit four individual territories into one evening, indeed into an evening ending at 10 pm,  in the park in one evening?  If anyone could, it would be the man stepping promptly onto the stage at 7:30 pm.

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Cynthia Nickschas – Return of the Egoschwein

“Die Bühne hier gehört jetzt mir.  Ich könnt‘ hier wohnen!“ from ‘Jamsessions‘

For Cynthia Nickschas a stage, any stage, seems like a second home.  Even no stage, when she is playing on street corners for change collected in her famous ’Mad Hatter’ top hat.  So why tonight, for her Unter der Zeder concert, is she nervously plucking at her guitar strings and chattering like a nervous sparrow in a tree full of sparrow hawks?  Looking round at the sold-out seats in front of her, Cynthia explains her predicament. “I know everyone here personally!”  It’s a ‘home concert’ for Cynthia, playing in her own backyard of Bad Godesberg, and that’s the source of the nervosity.  She’s actually relieved later on when the light dims and the stage lights mean recognizable faces are hidden from her sight.

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