Tuesday September 5, 2017. Cottbus.
Grusse aus Deutschland! I am here in my ancestral lands again. The train from Amsterdam got kinda mental at one point. About halfway into the journey I came back from the cafeteria car after a less than appealing encounter with an uber bitch of an attendant and a very sour tasting beer, and found my car in absolute bedlam. The train had just made a stop and there were people jamming both ends of the carriage. Everyone was losing their mind trying to find their allocated seat. I surveyed the scene from my position and there was a vacant seat next to a young woman to my left. My reserved seat was too much of a mission to get to so I decided to ask her if I could simply sit while the other angsty passengers got their schizz sorted out. She was very gracious and we ended up hitting it off and chatting for the remainder of the trip. Ella van der Woude was her name and she too is a musician and performer, on her way to Berlin for some shows. We had a good natter about the music biz and sang “Ode to Joy” as the train finally pulled into Berlin.
We bade each other farewell and I continued on south east towards Cottbus.
After arriving into town I met up with my friend Bruna and her band mate Ralf at his studio nearby to make plans for our “Wodensnacht” gig tomorrow night. I’ll be sharing the bill with their band “Akkordeon Salon Orchester”!! So exciting. Ralf’s studio is super cool and he has a great backyard with a cat and flowers and kid’s toys. So we’ll be honoring the Germanic god of wisdom Woden tomorrow night and having a grand old time in the process. Maybe he’ll grace us with His presence!
Wednesday, September 6, 2017.
I am in the backyard at Bruna’s place. The sun is warm and friendly and yet the rain threatens at any point. Bruna and I just made a heartwarming pumpkin soup with veggies grown in her garden. Es wahr sehr lekker! Now I’m playing a bit of guitar out here and watching all the kittens frolicking in the dewy grass. I went for a walk around the hood and noticed many Fleischmarket (butcher shops) and the quaint little cottages and the fields. It’s beautiful country to be sure.
So I’m “Licking My Luck” (my meme on a t-shirt lol) and enjoying being here with mein Deutschie familien and its cool. What’s my setlist going to be for tonight? Definitely some Dietrich.
Thursday September 7, 2017. Cottbus.
So the gig was wunderbar, as I knew it would be. Bruna and I went to the supermarket to stock up on wine (Australian of course) and snacks for the punters. We went and got falafels for dinner and it was great that Jens, Bruna’s husband, could come along for a time to see the show,
We went along for soundcheck and to set up and I met some of Bruna and Ralf’s friends. It was a great scene and I felt really at home. I met Ralf’s wife Katya, from Russia, and she presented me with one of her beautiful psychedelic paintings. Akkordeon Salon Orchester played first and wow were they amazing! Ralf played accordion, Bruna sang and there was bass and guitar too. Rollicking and irreverent and spunky they were! I definitely felt my Germanic blood start to rumble.
My set was really lovely actually. First I played at the piano for several originals and of course Dietrich’s “Falling in Love Again” and also “Cry Me a River” which are two of my favourite songs to cover right now. The audience were very attentive. The next set was with Honey and she and I played some more originals which was well met too. A gentleman presented me with flowers after my set which was especially sweet! I managed to sell a few CDs afterwards and sign them for people which was amazing, and I had also done well by “passing the hat”. I felt very satisfied with the show, the sound, the atmosphere and intimacy of the venue. Everyone was super friendly and I got real sense of community and that my music was appreciated. Not a bad turnout for a Wednesday night! Hail Woden!
Tonight Bruna and I are travelling up to Berlin for a night on the town with her friend Cleo and Christoph. Christoph, who I just randomly met the other day, has kindly offered to drive us up there so need for the train which will be great! I Heart Berlin Baby. More later!
Friday, September 8, 2017 (Bus en route from Berlin to Copenhagen)
Whoooaaaaaa. What a night that was. I’m actually very impressed to have made my early morning bus connection! We certainly had an adventure last night…
Christoph, Bruna and I landed in Charlottenburg where we met Cleo, Bruna’s Brazilian friend. He was putting us up for the night and was taking us out around town to find:
A. A badass schnitzel.
B. The open mic event we were planning to attend.
But before we went anywhere we had a few drinks and sat around with the guitar to noodle around and figure out what we were going to sing at the open mic! We ended up concocting a mashup of Rolling Stone’s “Angie” with lyrics sung in German, changing the title to “Angela” and paying homage to Deutchland’s fearless Chancellor. It was a sweet and raucously funny song and I believe we were doing something positive, but also very tongue in cheek. Political love songs as it were. Here are the cheesy lyrics:
Wie gehts duuu?
Ich liebe dich.
Du bist ein sehr stark Frau
Wir glauben an Dich
Veruweile doch mal
Du bist zu schön
Wir glauben an Dich”
It was hilarious at the time and yes, I packed my guitar on my back and had every intention of performing it with my misfit friends later on that night.
But first, the badass schnitzel.
We found a lovely little restaurant nearby with outdoor seating. It was a mild night (for Germany!) and we promptly ordered a round of beers and my dinner. Oh my it was so tasty, with the scalloped potatoes on the side and a slice of lemon for the meat, it was crumbed ever so well, not too dry and perfectly cooked. (don’t mind the drool)
After dinner we ventured onto the trains to hunt out this elusive open mic event on the other side of Berlin Hauptbahnhof, past Angela’s office and Police HQ no less! How funny and ironic.
We found the Artenschutz Theatre under the railroad tracks in a bit of a shady neighbourhood but sure enough it was happening and they let us go on just as the night was finishing up! What a stroke of luck. Or a lick maybe?
We all got up and did our best at a somewhat drunken version of “Angela”, then Bruna stayed on stage and sang along on “Gandara” which I sung in Japanese, finishing up solo at the piano for my song “Light in the Darkness”. The crowd were understandably a bit gobsmacked, but hey, life is a cabaret ol’ chum! I was dead-set determined to at least play ONE show in Berlin, even if it was just a little open mic thing, and damn, it was good spontaneous fun. And with such stellar company too. We stumbled back past the Reichstag Building, bidding Angela good luck in the up and coming elections, and I regarded with some interest two griffins that stood vigil at the bridge gate. It would seem that many cultures have magical “guardians at the gate.” Reminds me of the lions one sees here in Japan at ceremonial sites.
So here I am on the bus heading to Copenhagen for my final show of the tour. I am so lucky and blessed to have had such a wonderful time in Germany and I hope to visit again soon. Vielen Dank!