Tine Kindermann sings German folk songs accompanied by American rock musicians and arranged by Frank London, best known for combining klezmer and jazz. The result is astonishingly natural.
German folk songs - along with the epic ballad of the Nibelungen, the word “Heimat” (“homeland”), and the joy and pleasure of the woods and forest - have been tainted by the hand of the Nazis. Too many sang along and marched in step. Later, the poor German folk song was reduced to little more than oom-pah beer-hall entertainment. But there was something in these five centuries old songs that resisted. Mothers preserved them in secret; grandmothers and kindergarten teachers sang and sing to their children the songs of their own childhoods.
As in most countries, German folk songs were passed down, changed, and varied from generation to generation. Tine Kindermann offers us her interpretation. She sings these songs with complete sincerity; songs of desperate lovers, of royal children, of the passing nature of the little flower and the hard dreams of dying. Spaces open therein like the ones we entered as children, when we listened, entranced, to the fairy tales woven from the same cloth.
The songs’ themes are universal, belonging to the secret guarded chambers of many souls of many lands. Tine Kindermann has unburied the discarded key and leads us into these mysterious worlds with their seductive sadness. She unlocks a veritable archive of feelings. Age-old stories belonging to world culture, unknowingly stored in the collective unconscious. Tine Kindermann has blown the dust off these songs and made them alive, fresh, good as new. With her musicians, she has put them in an unusual contemporary intercultural context.
She offers them to us, tenderly and unabashedly, songs of love and – in the words of Heine’s “Loreley” – bygone ages.
Tine Kindermann, a visual artist born 1962 in West-Berlin, has been living in New York since 1993. Since 2001 she has been working increasingly with themes of German folklore, including a concert program with German Folk songs.
The recording’s set up looks like a “Who is Who” of the New York downtown music scene: Marc Ribot und Greg Cohen (Tom Waits Band) on guitar and double bass, Glenn Patscha (Ollabelle) on keyboards and Frank London (Klezmatics), who also acts as producer.