Berlin Compass and A Month of Sundays

2011/11/28

Blimey, what a rather large month November has been. Maybe it’s all this buzz of activity that has kept the first snow from falling, which I must say is rather disappointing, even if I have been enjoying the surprise (relative) warmth.

Sandra Sarala pulled off a nigh-impossible four evenings straight of brain-stretchingly diverse performances, under the four points of the Berlin COMPASS. Here are a few Northern snaps from the also fabulously talented Maren Imhoff.

 

I had a splendid time on Friday evening. It brought together so much of what I love in Berlin – a collaborative spirit, variety of styles, beautifully cosy venue, and an eager audience.

And those things were also abundant in the Headful of Bees‘ Month of Sundays series at Cafe Hilde. Such a delight to feel yourself lifted and evaporated by wonderful music in what feels very much like your own (albeit very large) living room. This round of delights and wonders featured Ken Burke, Wasp Summer, Eric Eckhart, Miss Kenichi, Violetta, Entertainment for the Braindead, Folk’s Sake, Short & Sweet, Seanin, Nina Hynes, Sara Pickin and me (including a surprise bonus set yesterday evening). Ken and Hilde are cooking up more splendours for you next year, so keep your scanners aimed in that direction!

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Finding our bearings

2011/11/21

I am very excited to be aboard the maiden voyage of the good ship, Berlin Compass. Over four evenings, Berlinators will be presented with a dazzling array of words, music, movement and imagery, as we set sail for each of the four points of the compass. My Headful of Bees colleague, Wasp Summer, and I will be taking you northward on Friday evening.

Important: the times given are not “Berlin time”; there’ll be no more boarding after we set sail at 20:45!

Berlin COMPASS

West, North, East, South: which directional points are yours?

Launch into an ongoing international exploration in music, word, laughter, performance, image and dance: four evenings of intuitive, fated and chosen bearings.

Hosted by singing poet Sandra Sarala (who’s taking on four different musical-poetic-performance personas across the series), and thematically curated around the cardinal points, each multi-disciplinary evening will formally commence with the communal breaking of a circular loaf of homemade bread, uniting all present. Every show has been designed to showcase individual performers, to offer complementary contrasts and interconnections, and will close with collaborative improvisation.

Choose your resonant points and bring your good self /selves along.

Thursday 24th WEST

‘West, Seeking Balance, and the Balancing East’

Wordy offerings from balancing story-telling time-traveller Skiz-um Hequ, and the poetic Eastern tongues of MC Jabber and Moon (Stephen Mooney), while Sandra Sarala explores the maze and dark mystery of Western life, alongside wildcard Wests, singer of sweetness Cera Impala, musician/video artist Peter Newman, and concert pianist Kim Hye Jin, taking us to her West with Rachmaninov.

Friday 25th NORTH

‘North and a Balancing South’

Touch your philosophy with spoken word from mr oCean and Anja Zeilinger, some storytelling and a touch of song from Kerri Mullen, music and candlelight from Wasp Summer, bridge Lieder and the avant-garde with Alexis Baker, and be danced towards love, joy and melancholy by (India-born) Southerner Manish Pathak. Sandra Sarala takes up alter-ego Loki as host.

Saturday 26th EAST

‘East with a Rogue West’

Well-considered words from several stalwarts of Berlin’s literati – spoken word mega-presence Gaby Bila-Gunter aka Lady Gaby, and poets Alistair Noon, and Frank Alkämper, the latter in confluence upon ‘Ausgerechnet Armenien’ (‘Ironically, Armenia) with musicians Michael Gross and Leonid Soybelman (rogue West in the East!). Sandra Sarala heads for the archaic folksong hills, someone lets Volcanick, the hairiest oriental belly-dancer in town, into the house, and special rules come into play this evening for special guest, intuitive singer AlinK.Sarit, bussing over from Poland… which may have a little something to do with film from Marta Jurkowska.

Sunday 27th SOUTH

‘South with a Deliberately Contrary North’

Verbal dexterity in the shining poetry-stories of Claudia Emmingham, dexterous lunacy from singer, songwriter and comedian David Cassel, and electro-art-pop duo Trike (Xania Keane and Stephen Paul Taylor), some measure of Northern contrariness from performance artist Daniela Gast, and a sprinkling on the ivories from composer and pianist Phil Cooksey, also in collaboration upon the southern seas with lyric poetry from Sandra Sarala.

Berlin COMPASS: Thursday 24 – Sunday 27 November, 2011, Club der polnischen Versager, Ackerstraße 168 (next to Schokoladen), 10115 Berlin, (U8 Rosenthaler Platz)

Doors open and music from 20:15, Doors close and bread-breaking 20:45

Entry: 8 €, and an extra special collection on Saturday night

http://berlincompass.blogspot.com/


Stories from the corner of your eye

2011/03/13

I’m delighted to announce the first performance for a new collaboration between lina paul and me. We met at The Sofa Salon last year, and seemed to both get a sense that we could cook something up; here’s what we have on the stove:

Stories from the corner of your eye

Gelegenheiten, Weserstrasse 50, 12045 Berlin Neukölln. (U-Bhf Rathaus Neukölln)

Friday, 18 March at 20:00.

the dreams of the insomniac, the echoes of voices in abandoned places, personal faultlines in reality… lina paul and mr oCean seek out the stories that flit unnoticed at the edge of our vision or dance in shadows, and with music, song, spoken word and odd noises, bring them out into the light to feed your curiosity.

lina paul’s minimalistic music and soundscapes are like spider-webs – delicate, yet disproportionately strong – and the songs and tales they catch are never ordinary. mr oCean’s words sketch views from old windows and distorted mirrors and his music is drawn to cold shorelines and broken buildings.

It’s been exciting to not only hear our words and music coming together in new ways, but also to have this extra push to get pieces finished, which had been lurking at the edge of my mind for too many years. And this is your chance to hear shining new pieces we’ve put together specifically for the show. We’re massively looking forward to the gig, and also to further developments!


Schneeliebe (a rousing reprise)

2010/12/03

December has made a very impressive start in Germany.

First Snow

It is the soft new world, formed in a whisper,
tiny wonders breathing through the trees,
both chaos and perfect geometry.
It lays a hush across the city
and all would do well to listen.
It takes all that we hold to be real, unchanging
and solid, and grants us one more chance
to make every detail over again.
It is the childlike play of wind spirits,
laughing silently as they follow and scatter.
It dresses us in sky, puts stars beneath our feet.

mr oCean, Dec. 2010

And with this splendid white fanfare of Winter across the city, I am delighted to invite you all to Eric Eckhart’s final concert of 2010, accompanied by Sam Wareing and me.  It’s at St. Gaudy Cafe, Gaudystr. 1, Berlin Prenzlauer Berg.  It is also the cafe’s 1st birthday, so will be a kicking affair.  Get there early for drinks and maybe even a spot of nosh, and then we’ll belt out some tunes from about 20:30.

To sample the musical delights awaiting you, and to read the latest tour blog entry (the snowy delights and warm hospitality of Munich and Stuttgart), pop by Eric’s electric website.

And while I’m wielding the announcement shoehorn…  I’ll be premiering my new song at Joe’s Bar’s open mic on Tuesday evening (7 Dec.) – Schönhauser Allee 157, Berlin Prenzl-Berg, starting 21:00.  And come along to Meaganfest on the 11th: friends have organised this to raise money for an expat shoehorn-wielder who’s currently in hospital.  It will be 12 hours of music, poetry and comedy, and probably a goodly measure of madness and booze.  I’ll be spouting words sometime in the afternoon (details will follow when available).  The Community Space @ Schlesische Str 38, Berlin Kreuzberg, 2pm-2am.


The Big One

2010/10/12

I really will get back to poetry, I assure you, dear reader, but there are other shinies afoot!  It is time to send Eric Eckhart’s new album, This is where it starts out into the world, with our grand official launch party, this Saturday evening at Volksbar ( just outside where Berlin’s Schoenhauser Tor would have been, had we been playing there a couple of hundred years ago).

We have new arrangements of the songs for you, and I don’t mind telling you that I’m a bit delighted with how it’s sounding.  We’d love to see a whole lot of folk there to celebrate with us, and if the music isn’t enough, it’s free entry and there will be cookies!


Eric Eckhart Acoustic Trio at Art.Gerecht

2010/08/25

Regular readers will already know of my enthusiasm for the splendid rootsy and emotive music of our Mr Eckhart, and may recall that the marvellous Ms Sam and I have been performing alongside him as he introduces his new album to the world.  Our next show is on Friday evening at Art.Gerecht – one of my all-time favourite music venues and a lovely cafe as well – soft and cosy and always sounding dreamy-good.  This concert will feature some surprises for those who’ve heard us before, and abundant goodness for people new to the sounds.  Please come along and bring your posse!

Friday 27 August, 20:00

Art.Gerecht,  Jungstrasse 14, Berlin Friedrichshain

Free entry!

If you like electric calendars/reminders, you can find the gig on Facebook and MySpace, too.

Hoping to see you there!


Sofa Sessions at Joe’s Bar 20100709

2010/07/10

Evenings like this are like a particle accelerator to every bit of my body. I’m buzzing. I can’t really describe it, but it’s wonderful. Probably the best I can do is to hand over to Ms Sam: her song, Planet Sized is stuck in my head at the moment, and gives a wonderful impression of the delight that is making it hard for me to hold all my atoms together. Wayward Breed, Ken Burke, Wasp Summer and Eric Eckhart. If you have to relocate to Berlin to hear them, it will be worth it. Look out for more. For now, bask in their respective MySpace glories, and to all you exquisitely beautiful audience members, please come again and spread the word widely. Heartfelt live music is the stuff from which beautiful lives are woven.