The color red

Organizers in the Corona-Lockdown set a blazing sign

For flaming messages, relevant trade, for lists of endangered species and as a signal of the highest danger, the color red keeps us. With red, there is a risk of deadly destruction, let us go even one step further.

The Brühler Kornkammer also shines red on the night of Tuesday. The operator Rüdiger Tillmann currently describes his event operation as "dead". The list of cancelled events is long.

Since 2017, he and his wife Magdalena have built up the event space, equipped with stage, light and sound system for concerts, readings, dance events and wedding sores. This year, the store at the foot of the former RAIBA granary in Kurfürstenstraße promised profits for the first time.

On Friday, March 13, 2020, he had to cancel a fully booked dance event "Dancing over 50" because of the risk of contagion, Tillmann said. Since then, the granary has been closed, his wife and he have lived on the reserves, which are actually incurred as advance payments for musicians and actors when contracts are awarded, or to cover monthly costs.

On Tuesday night, Rüdiger Tillmann, like many, many others in the event industry, dipped the facade of his event business in red light. The Night of Lights 2020 map had more than 9000 illuminated buildings in Germany. In Cologne it is also the cathedral or the Hohenzollern Bridge. From many living rooms it glows red on the night of Tuesday.

Red were often also places that are threatened at least as event space, together with their operators, to disappear completely from the scene, should the lockdown for organizers last even longer. These include places such as the stages of the Frechener Harlequin Theatre and the Pulheimer Walzwerk.

The Bedburg musician Dieter Kirchenbauer has also illuminated the shop windows of his studio rooms in red. He wanted to show solidarity with the appeal of the organizers. But he also draws attention to the situation of musicians and actors. The vast majority work without the regulated employment contracts of the large stages, which are also subsidised in the Corona times. Emergency measures to absorb operating costs have been missed by their budget. "Many freelancers are in free fall," Kirchenbauer said.

In Bedburg, the city's assembled event technicians dip the castle in red light. Dominique Hermann, who is self-employed, is also a married couple with three children. While others complained of a total failure of business, he could still count himself lucky. As a technician, he accompanies the Cologne rock band "Brings" to their performances in the car cinemas, so the family can make ends meet.

Editorial on the zero edition of the e-magazine for music and culture "Nahbesprechung", on 9 June 2020

"Because we need culture"

Even in the Corona-Lockdown, opinions were heard again and again, which might make the social isolation as a suitable period for contemplation, deceleration or source of a happy family life palatable to us. That would have been nice, insofar as I could have chosen to do so freely. For me, the hunger for closeness, encounter and engagement with the feeling, creation and thinking of others has only grown.

At that time, the substitutes for communal experience through electronic media remained astonishingly pale. I remember the growing anticipation during a car ride on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the lockdown over like empty streets under a blue sky completely free of condensation strips. It was anticipation for the encounter with the former singer and founder of the Wise-Guys, Eddi Hüneke.

No substitute for voices and moods

In the basement of the Hürther detached house with Eddi Hüneke, I had to experience how an online choir rehearsal with the help of conference software with all the momentum of the moderator and as loving as detailed preparation can perhaps be a welcome distraction in the midst of uneventful times. It was no substitute, however, for the communal experience of a real singing rehearsal amid the vibrations of human voices and moods.

The lockdown also reminded us of the monetary situation of most cultural workers. They are threatened with impoverishment if the game fails before and with the audience, if stage appearances or exhibition openings are cancelled. "We live from hand to mouth," one singer told me in a phone call.

No repayment of grants

These days, the district committee also joined the initiative of the Landrat Michael Kreuzberg to promote the cultural scene in the Rhein-Erft district. The district now wants to dispense with the repayment of district grants already paid for association work, cultural institutions and artistic projects. But is it sufficient to repay the artists, or are it perhaps not also more creative approaches on the part of the circle?

But it is not only the financial hardship that drives musicians to the streets in the literal sense of the word, namely to concerts in the open air, but "because we need culture," said jazz trumpeter Susanne Riemer at the presentation of a hygiene concept for live concerts, presented in her garden with her duo partner, the guitarist Wilhelm Geschwind.

With "" I would like to offer all cultural professionals and their audience a place to discuss their ideas and to see things up close, discuss them and bring you closer.

Enjoy reading, listening and looking,

wish oliver Tripp


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Editing by Oliver Tripp

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42e-Mail o.tripp (at) nahbesprechun© all texts and images, unless expressly stated otherwise, are by Oliver Tripp


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Concerts far in the open air

The musician duo Riemer/Geschwind tried out their plan in the garden

Brühl. The calendar, which was so well-filled at the beginning of the year, was emptied by stricter contact rules, large concert halls and small clubs remained closed, the guitarist Wilhelm Geschwind describes a state of affairs that many musicians are currently talking about. Her work with the choir at the Brühler Art and Music School also rests in the currently prescribed forced break, adds the jazz musician Susanne Riemer. 2000 Euros, which the district government had transferred to collect broken concert contracts, were not enough forever.

The duo Riemer/ Geschwind agrees that this cannot continue. In the jazz trumpeter's garden, they met for the first time in a new concert concept, which they christened "bread and chairs", under "virus-free, open sky", as Wilhelm Geschwind puts it. And this in the light of the official recommendations on the distance between human coexistence.

It is a matter of opening up new performance spaces for the musicians beyond the big houses, explains Geschwind, that this could be a niche in a pedestrian zone, a place in a park or, as on this Friday in April, in a private garden. Actually, it was the further development of their touring concept, which they had planned only last year for the edition of their new CD "Ton in Ton". Only by bike and bus, they wanted to give "quite climate-friendly" concerts from Recklinghausen to Celle for three weeks from 29 June. And most of them in the open air.

In addition to a portable sound system powered by solar energy, there is room in the trailers of their English load-folding wheels for clothing, guitar, trumpet, tuba and 30 foldable cardboard stools. The brown seating is the centrepiece of the open-air concert hall, which Susanne Riemer stretches with a blue ribbon from a worn-out bed sheet. The stools are intended to guarantee compliance with the safety distance of two metres, which they measure first by means of a step-by-step range, then, even more precisely, with the help of a customs stick.

The wearing of mouth and nose masks is required by the audience and the duration of the concert is limited to a short 20 minutes. And they even consider threatening to cancel a concert if they see the hygiene measures violated and, if necessary, implement the threat.

On Friday there are still silent listeners, namely a plastic calf, frog king, squirrel, a little lion and a Buddha in the lotus seat, who after a short tap and voices witness the grooving sounds of the guitar, the singing and the trumpet sounds of Susanne Riemer. Riemer quickly improvises a new song line for "Chille in Kölle" on Kölsch and talks about her vision of the future, about the big concert at a safe distance. 

Now the two hope that municipal authorities and health boards will have access to the safe operation of their street and park concerts and issue the necessary permits. 

Dog sample

Virtual choir rehearsal in lockdown with Eddi Hüneke

Everyone sings for themselves

Actually, Eddi Hüneke wanted to do one of his choral workshops "Eddi plus Chor" on this Saturday afternoon at the beginning of April in the Hürther Friedenskirche. The founding member of the a cappella band "Wise Guys" describes in a conversation in the garden of his house in Hermülheim's Nibelungenviertel that he has already received around 100 registrations from singers.

"Everything else" had come, and in addition to the appointment of a replacement date for a rehearsal afternoon and subsequent concert on 29 August in the Peace Church, he had already made all preparations for a virtual choir rehearsal in the basement. Hopefully it is a "compensation in this boring time". Of course, a rehearsal with an experimental character, because "choral work online" cannot really be offered, admits Hüneke. When it comes to the timing required for singing, each of the computers and transmission systems involved struggles with a different latency, i.e. time delay.

The technical difficulties had already been demonstrated by a first experiment with a small choir from Kürten at the beginning of the shutdown, Hüneke explains. There were also many feedbacks when all their microphones were unlocked. Since singing together is technically impossible, he at least tries to create the illusion of singing together, Hüneke explains.

This afternoon about 25 participants, who have also dialed in in pairs from home, learn how to do this, many of whom use the webcam to network with the choir leader. Hüneke sees them as more or less sharply drawn faces on the screen of his laptop, which he has built up on the keyboard of his keyboard.

"Hi Bernd, Kathi, Pia, Maria, suddenly there are a lot of people coming," Hüneke observes. "Ah, I hear something, wonderful," says one woman. Before the singing lesson starts, the participants from Hürth, Düsseldorf, from Cologne, will answer a list of questions that has been displayed. Probably the most important information for the choir leader: there are many soprano, some alto voices, only a few bassists and no tenor online: "Well, just the usual picture in choirs."

"No one can hear you, no one needs to be ashamed."

Eddi Hüneke at the virtual choir rehearsal in the Lockdown

How horrible it sounds when everyone with open microphones reads the line "But this angel is there/ to protect and keep you…" singing from an old "Wise Guys" song, Hüneke quickly demonstrated with a setting in the conference software. And so none of his "trial rabbits" chuckles when he announces, "I have to mute you, that sounds mean". But that also means: "No one can hear you, no one needs to be ashamed."

Mute, only with this trick can the illusion of singing together work, Hüneke has found out. A backing track of "Ein Engel" (four-part) once recorded for another choral project has to replace the choral voices for each individual. In addition, the participants hear Hüneken's singing and his keyboard as he goes through the tones for the angel-refrain vocal position for voice position with the workshop participants, apart from the missing tenor.

For feedback and individual dialogs, the participants can switch on by pressing the space bar. Then Uwe says, "My wife next to me is too loud." "There's a slider on the ear to make it quieter," Hüneke jokes. Alexander asks for the beat for the first chorus, Beate's rhythm is not quite clear. "I'm overwhelmed," says one with both hands on her head. "It's just really fun," says another. Hüneke can still train the sense of rhythm of each individual by connecting a metronome. "I like to practice with metronome, a super instrument to become more rhythmically precise," he advertises for the often unloved rhythm generator.

And after singing the song, the participants also applaud each other at the end and confirm the lesson with "it was fun". At the end of the "historical hour", Hüneke draws an honest conclusion: it is "totally scared" to "imagine" itself, instead of "listening and seeing" in a room.

"Sound in Tone" very close

Susanne Riemer and Wilhelm Geschwind play songs of the good life

For hours for two or even alone Susanne Riemer brought the very latest CD of the duo Riemer/ Geschwind with the title "Ton in Ton" to potential interested parties on her bicycle in the last weeks. In these encounters, she was always concerned with a minimum distance. Very close, at least acoustically, on the other hand, she is recorded in twelve compositions from her pen and mixed by the multiple Grammy Award winner, the sound engineer Klaus Genuit, known from his work with the WDR-Bigband.

Continue reading “"Sound in Tone" very close”

Angela Lentzen and her renunciation of kitsch

Even for the band's anniversary, the boys did not resist

Angela Lentzen likes to explain this basement room to all those who are too young to know a party cellar from their own point of view in the newly built single-family house of the 1970s, which was often decorated in wood panelling: "A room that the parents had built specifically to celebrate their parties."

Continue reading “Angela Lentzen and her renunciation of kitsch”