Christmas Comfort… (Cooper, Riemer & Geschwind, Schmitz Project)

Music for open ears

The Office for Cultural Affairs and the Archive of the Kolping city of Kerpen have long since been housed in the so-called House for Art and History in the immediate vicinity of the area. It is remarkable that birgit Immisch for the Kerpen cultural department as well as Susanne Harke-Schmidt as city archivist and chairwoman of the Kerpen History Association send out Christmas greetings as endearing as they are encouraging.

Both now recommend the music project of their colleague Hermann-Jürgen Schmitz as a common denominator and yet completely independent of each other. I have allowed myself to extend the recommendation to contemporary music.

Photo collage from screenshots of the video posts.

Hermann-Jürgen Schmitz is head of culture in the castle town of Bedburg – the Bedburg Castle in red still adorns my close-up page as a symbol of the current cultural crisis – and is known as the choir leader of the award-winning San Francesco Choir. On the one hand, after the spring lockdown, he presented his own CD from his own recording studio, also called “Grandma’s” because of his grandmother’s former premises.

And Hermann-Jürgen Schmitz initiated a collective song project in April, which came to maturity and presentation in mid-December after about 600 hours as a music video: “Uns kritt mer nit klein – Grandma’s Projekt 2020”. In terms of content, Elfi Steickmann has written a defiant reckoning with the coronavirus on Kölsch.

The mayor Sascha Solbach, Monika Kampmann, Daniela Bosenius, Julia DaRio, Gianna DiLorenzo, Johannes Fehn, Edith Feuerborn, Louisa Franke, Hubert Gatzen, Ingrid Ittel-Fernau, Hermann Klein, Susanne Lehmann, Thomas Lemke, Rita Markus-Schmitz, Gebhard Müller, Andreas Münzel, Wolfgang Nagel, Albert F. Nothbaum, Myriam Robertz, Gerd Roß, Engelbert Schmitz, Hermann Jürgen Schmitz, Sina Siedentop, Sascha Solbach, Mariam Weber, Hermann , Jürgen Kroppa, Frank Mikosch, Werner Seiche & Elfi Steickmann.

Here you can hear “Uns kritt mer nit klein – Grandma’s Project 2020″.

The duo Susanne Riemer and Wilhelm Geschwind also made their way to the studio, namely that of the Grammy-winning sound engineer Klaus Genuit in Bonn, in November. In 2020 they were nominated for the German Record Critics’ Award with their CD “Ton in Ton”. With the emotional, somewhat sad, musical interpretation of a poem by Norbert Scheuer, they can be heard on Susanne Riemer’s redesigned website. She then canceled many concert announcements, all those gig and tour dates that had been cancelled due to Covid-19 in 2020, she says. The duo has not forgotten how to make music.

My personal Christmas favourite piece with vocals and trumpet by Susanne Riemer and hybrid guitar and foot percussion Wilhelm Geschwind is: “Eyes like autumnal sky”

And another comforting treat this time from a very different part of the world, the South African composer and bassist Shane Cooper plays in a solo performance called “Bamako Love Song”.

and here in an experimental “tape loop” situation.

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