Sunday, October 31, 2004

Lacky's retreat and East Germans in the Media

East German singer and songwriter Reinhard "Lacky" Lakomy will give his last concert for an adult audience on Monday. In an article released by the MDR he criticized the low level of sophistication of current German popular culture and comedy. He furthermore criticizes that Radio and TV stations keep blocking artists and that this especially affects East German artists. Lakomy is one of the most creative artists of the former GDR not only writing for adult audiences but also creating music for children (many East Germans remember Schlapps and Schlumbo, Mimmellit or the Traumzauberbaum) and musicals as well as film music. And while he will retire from concerts for adults he will keep on writing music for children.

Now I have never been a fan of Lacky's music, even though I remember his song "Heute bin ich allein" very well. But something in his criticism strikes me: I miss East German musicians in the German music scene. Culture and Mass media are just two more areas where East Germans are under-represented according to the Potsdam elite study from 1995. This study has found that in mass media out of 281 surveyed respondents only 33 (11.8% ) were East Germans. In culture the representation e was only slightly higher (out of 101 surveyed people 13 were East Germans = 12.9%).

I myself am having a weekend of East German music playing my list of East German songs, including the new arrangements from OSTENde. I enjoy the poetry of the lyrics and the musicality of the songs . And I am wondering why aren't they more successful? I am wondering why people like Dirk Michaelis (who impressed me tremendously with his vocal ability) and IC Falkenberg (whose recent work Agony + Ekstase is lyrically superb) aren't more successful if they rank (in my opinion) at least in the same class as Groenemeyer, Pur and Xavier Naidoo. Are they too critical? Are text's like Michaelis' "Gott in not" and Falkenberg's "Osten 3.1" too tough for the German radio audience? Are their messages too complicated for easy listening TV or radio? Would a ratio for German music in radio help those artists to get more exposure?
I do not have answers to these questions, the only thing I know for sure is I'd love to see more quality in German culture and I'd especially would love to see more of the East German artists in German media.

"Und wenn ich durch die Wände sah,
da waren Blumen im Gras.
Doch wenn ich nur einen Schritt gemacht,
stiess ich schon gegen Glas."
(Glastraum/ City)


Aufbau Ost said...

PS: And yes, I find it ironic that the latest popular contribution from East Germany to the German music scene is the "Holzmich'l".

Miguel A. Buitrago said...

I have not heard of Michaelis or Falkenberg, but I am a fan of "niemann" and their song "Im Osten". I went to see their concert. They are cool.

Also, there is a relatively new fenomenon in TV. Lately, lots of TV shows about the former GDR or Osten were created. I know of one in which Katty Witt is a host. They pretty much tell the audience about how was life in the DDR. They are very popular in Osten and generates a lot of "ostalgie". I, personally, think they are interesting. I learn a lot about life back then, when I watch those shows.

Anonymous said...

... und nicht zu vergessen "City - Am Fenster"

Anonymous said...

hi, im just exploring this site by accident, but so far i'm really enjoying it.
i'm from east berlin too but a bit younger (i think i was around seven when the wall came down and i remember
that my mother sent me to school on friday as well as on saturday to my almost deserted school) - anyway i don't like most of the east german music as much as you might.
I still get a shiver though when hearing the 'traumzauberbaum'.
In fact there are east german bands in radio and tv for example 'mia' and 'sportfreunde stiller' both from the former district of 'prenzlauer berg' which is now integrated into the district of pankow'.
Too bad i don't like neither of them - but they are somewhat popular and succesfull.
thank you!

i'll go on exploring your site a bit more for now.
maybe until later good luck with your doctor if i got that right from your dossier.

Aufbau Ost said...

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to be updating soon again. :)

Anonymous said...

I like your posts. Although in some respects you seem to be a bit out of date with what's actually happening in Germany. A lot of bands from the East became well-known all across the country during the recent boom of German speaking music: Mia, Virginia Jetzt, Silbermond, Clueso etc. (Sportfreunde Stiller are truely Bavarian boys by the way)Although I have to admit that their East German identity has never been much of an issue, so that many people probably don't know.

Aufbau Ost said...

I am aware of the new bands through my visits to Germany. I wouldn't say I am thrilled about it, but that is a problem I have with the current music scene in general. I am just wondering why the old East German bands never were able to receive much attention in the West. Exceptions are probably the Pudhys and Karat, but what about the rest?

Anonymous said...

I was searching the internet and found your blog, just love it. I was introduced by a boyfriend to Dirk Michaelis' music a few years ago. I love all of it...too bad I cannot find here in Atlanta, GA. If anyone knows where I can find it locally, please e-mail me at