A story that I often find myself telling German musicians during interviews is that of when and how I first got into German music. More often than not, this is the result of a question inquiring why an American is interested in German-speaking bands, particularly so many that are obscure, even by German standards.
My answers goes back to May of 2009, when I visited Germany for the first time. I was staying in Köln with my good friend J., who is one of my favourite people ever. It was a particularly gloomy day, so the two of us spent it sitting at his desk, trading music and movies from our respective harddrives. This was a time-consuming process, so of course we listened to music as we made our way through the digital files.
At one point, J. stood up and put on a new album that I hadn’t heard before. It was German music, and I didn’t pay much attention, but for whatever reason, it pulled me in. Halfway through the album, or maybe toward the end, I asked him what the band was because I really liked it.
He responded by letting me know it was Hansen Band, and informing me that it wasn’t even a real band, but rather a band that was created for the purpose of a movie, “Keine Lieder über Liebe.” Then he promptly hooked me up with all sorts of German indie rock to take home with me.
Once back in the states, I began to explore German music on my own. Later, as I began to learn German, I listened to a lot of the music constantly, if only to help me recognize the feel of the language. In my second year of German, I did a presentation on Die Hamburger Schule, a genre of late 80s and early 90s bands out of Hamburg who penned their lyrics in German, and made a mix for all the students in the class. I have a feeling not many students were super into it (I was likely the sole indie rock kid of the bunch) but I still had fun making it.
This week, as Georg of Digital Cosmonaut is the moderator of the I am Germany Twitter account, he has been schooling followers on German music. And when I mentioned Hamburger Schule and he told me that I should share about it, I took him seriously.
That said, here is an hour-long mix of 18 different artists, most of whom are first or second wave Hamburger Schule, or are somehow related to or descendants of the genre. Click on the link to open the playlist in Spotify, or simply listen below.
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