Theater Anna Rampe
Mathilde The Maths Mouse
Ich und Herr Meyer
Behind The Scenes
Interview With RAZZZ4Kids
Are you looking forward to being back on stage? What have you been doing in the meantime?
We are totally looking forward to it! It's such a nice feeling to perform again for an audience that is physically in front of us and to be able to experience their reactions directly. During the lockdown we did a lot on social media and also wrote some new songs. But now we are looking forward to what's ahead of us!
What would you like for your first concert back?
That everyone has fun and celebrates with us. It's going to be great!
What is your favourite type of music?
There are so many genres we like. If we had to chose pin it down, it would be a mixture of hip-hop, electro, house, techno, drum and base, funk, RnB, soul and alternative pop. But as you can see, we can't really choose just one or two.
What current topics are important to you?
We stand for equal rights for everyone and want to increase environmental awareness. Freedom of thought and actions are also important to us as well as a fair distribution of educational opportunities and financial resources for all.
Theater Anna Rampe
The Theater Anna Rampe together with Theater Zitadelle will be our guests in autumn and they've got lots of new material and ideas. We sat down to learn a little more about the puppeteers Anna und Daniel:
Who is your favouritre fairy tale character and why?
Hans im Glück. He is always happy, even though many stupid things happen to him. In the words of Karl Valentin: "I'm happy when it rains, because when I'm not happy, it rains anyway." Hans might not be the brightest but he is happy all the same.
"Bei Vollmond spricht man nicht" (Don't Talk When There's A Full Moon) is the name of your next play. What are you allowed to do a full moon then?
How often has the princess been told not to talk with her mouth full by her father? But Princess Lora hears what she wants to hear and does it anyway. Even when there's a full moon!
We know, Daniel from your puppet plays about the scared rabbit who fears so many things? Are you scared of anything?
I'm scared that I won't get enough chocolate or that I won't be able to do a new trick on my skateboard.
But seriously, of course I'm also afraid of some things, but I told my psychologist all that the other day. I don't want to say it all again now, it would take too long.
Children's Songwriter Robert Metcalf
In August you'll be performing on the Astrid Lindgren Openair Summer Stage with a programme for young and old. You'll also be telling stories in sign language. Where did you learn this?
I'm in the kindermusik.de association, which is a network of children's songwriters. A colleague from there introduced sign language to the network and that appealed to me. Later, with the help of an expert, I became more involved with it and signed some of my songs for small video clips with her. But I don't claim to have a perfect command of sign language, I use it when I find it personally appealing and feel that it enriches the communication with the live audience. Sometimes I also use other "classic" nursery rhyme movements and participation elements - which then partly overlap with the signing: The sign for "quiet", for example, is an index finger held in front of the mouth.
How did you get into producing music for children?
When it became clear I was going to stay in Germany, I started writing in German. Previously I only had written in my mother tongue which was English. My first German-language songs won an award and that encouraged me to look for a record company that wanted to put my songs out on cassettes - yes, cassettes still existed back then (laughs). The owner of an interested label said they only publish children's songs. I was about to turn around and leave when he shouted, "You could do children's songs too!". So I wrote my first children's song, "Alarm, Alarm". It's about a boy stuck in a fence waiting to be rescued by the fire brigade. However, my first live performance in front of children was a bit of a fiasco because half the children started to drift off - I soon realised I needed to get the kids in the audience moving too. children also feel the need to move around at live concerts. When I came off the stage after the performance, an editor from Rias Kinderfunk approached me and asked me to do a programme so I stuck with it and it began to pay off!
What's your connection with the FEZ?
That all started shortly after the wall came down. I had just given up my main job where I worked as a social worker with drug addicts and was about to try out my hobby of making music as a full-time job. I was then lucky enough to get the chance to play in the "großen Saal“ of the FEZ (now known as the Astrid Lindgren Stage). Since then, I have regularly been involved in band programmes there and it's also where I perform my solo programme "Mathilde, die Mathe-Ratte". In the past, I also gave further training for teachers at the State Academy For Music.
What did you during the "Corontine"?
I mainly used it to slow down and destress. I was also very creative though, making a number of new music videos and songs for adults as part of my "Englishman in Berlin" project. As most of the things a freelancer normally does were no longer happening, I had a lot of extra time to concentrate on the essentials - namely writing songs and developing new ideas. I'm definitely ready to get back on stage though. Let's hope I've still got it! (Laughs).
Christoph Clemens – The "Ich" from the children's band Ich & Herr Meyer
For the large children's day concert on the Astrid Lindgren Stage, some of the songs you sang were "Offline", "Viva Wasser" and "Vladimir die Fledermaus". Why did you choose these three?
Songs where the audience are supposed to join in don't work so well if there's no audience! So we tried to take a few that the kids might have heard before on the radio. Vladimir is always fun to sing. "Viva Wasser" is an important message and is a song close to our hearts after we teamed up with "Viva con Aqua" to write it. They are an NGO set up by an ex-St Pauli footballer whose aim is to provide clean water for everyone around the world. Everything we make from that song goes directly to that campaign, so it's our attempt to help ensure everyone has access to clean water.
Do your songs often have a message like that?
Yes sometimes, we do occasionally try and sing about issues that are important to us without wanting to lecture people. If you can do that with a touch of humour, you're halfway there. Our main aim though is to impress and move our audience on some level or in some way. We hope that our songs and performances make a few children happy.
How did you get involved in children's music?
Herr Meyer and I met around 16 years ago through our respective partners. Since then, we've done all sorts of musical nonsense together, including things like sound designs for films and similar. Everything happened by chance though really. When Herr Meyer's daughter had her first birthday I wrote "Du hast heut Geburtstag" for her. Then came "Der Bär" from Herrn Meyer and "Mein Pony heißt Luise" as well, which was a promo for the stables where my first son practically grew up. Suddenly, we basically had a record full of children's music and, since then, we've had a major passion for all things children's music.
How have your own children changed your view of the world?
Our children have made us more immersed in the world children experience and have given us a broader view of things. However the Coronavirus has changed my view of the world much more. Corona made me realise how important it is to have a reasonably healthy lifestyle. Now I put more emphasis on sleep and good nutrition than on rock 'n' roll. Maybe that way you get more out of your kids, your family and life in general.
What was it like playing in front of empty theatres for the purposes of an online zoom concert?
Actually it was brilliant. Everything was so well organised. A bit like being in a television studio for a programme such as "Wetten das". You don't play for the audience directly in front of you in a TV studio either but rather for the cameras. You can do your own thing on stage. So yeah, for the children's day concert, we all felt good and had a lot of fun together.