Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dagmar Krause
"Song of a German Mother"

Dagmar Krause
Radio Sessions
(Voiceprint, 1993)

If I had to pick my favorite vocalists of each gender, they'd be Tom Jones (male), Dagmar Krause (female), and Antony Hegarty (transgender) of Antony and the Johnsons.

Dagmar got her professional recording start when she joined the West German folk rock combo Die City Preachers ("die" as in German for "the," you silly person) for their final two albums. Since then, she's been a member of I.D. Company (with Inga Rumpf, also ex-City Preachers), Slapp Happy, Henry Cow, Art Bears, and News from Babel. She's also guested on scads of albums by other folks and done duo albums with Kevin Coyne and Marie Goyette.

In the 1980s, Dagmar released two excellent solo albums of German lieder (songs): Angebot & Nachfrage (lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, music by Kurt Weill and Hanns Eisler) and Panzer Schlacht (music by Hanns Eisler, lyrics by Bertolt Brecht and others). Each was also issued with English translations of the lyrics, as Supply & Demand and Tank Battles, respectively. I find it difficult to hear anyone other than Dagmar sing these songs anymore, even Kurt Weill's wife Lotte Lenya doesn't sound right to my ears.

Today's tune comes from a limited edition EP of radio session performances of songs from the two solo albums mentioned above (though the release of Panzer Schlacht was three years away when most of this EP was recorded). "Song of a German Mother" originally appeared on Panzer Schlacht as "Lied einer deutschen Mutter", but the version here is in English, so would more properly be referred to as originally from Tank Battles. Does it really matter, though? The words are incredibly powerful, and the singing full of passion.

NOTE: I've tagged this as both 1940s and 1980s, as the song was written in 1944 but the performance is from 1985.

1 biased opinion:

Biki said...

tom jones? really? wow! and to think we are friends!

Ok, so have given this a listen, what is it about her voice that you love so much? And did ya have to pick such a depressing song?