Bobo: Lieder von Liebe und Tod: Release Information
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Release Date: 11.05.2007
TT Catalogue No: 4504
BOBO – Lieder von Liebe und Tod - Songs of Love and Death
It is a true labor of love that Berlin’s exceptional singer Bobo (“In White Wooden Houses”) and sensitive theater musician Sebastian Herzfeld have ventured upon, a labor of love and dedication. It is the lifeblood of generations that is at stake on “Songs of Love and Death”, because this is an album of new interpretations of German “Volkslieder” (folk songs) and poems.
Expectations are high in a constellation like this, disaster lies in wait like a baited trap – and then Bobo commences to sing. And you don’t even notice how not only all of your doubts and preconceptions evaporate, but the whole system you intended to evaluate this CD with. Nothing is being “spruced up” or revamped here. This is much bigger, much more original - something special. Bobo, Herzfeld and clarinetist Anne Kaftan give this music roots and wings at the same time. A magical album: A voice as clear as a bell sings of hopes and fears, love and pain, homesickness and wanderlust, from that which is lost, that which has passed, of dreams that are deep and thoughts that are free.
Much is outstanding in this project – starting with Bobo’s incomparable voice: almost painfully fragile at times, then again full of overwhelming power. Her presence, charisma and aura are inescapably captivating. She interprets melodies almost everyone knows with a touching simplicity and fascinating devotion, a convincing honesty and deeply felt love. Add her gentle, friendly, warm-hearted pride, and suddenly you’re thinking you’re hearing some of these old songs for the first time.
Is it just folk music going pop? No. Sebastian Herzfeld has attended to these old songs carefully and with great respect, has relied completely on their original beauty. Freed them gently from years of dust and shown them to their new place between the styles – between tradition and jazz improvisation, between pop and the classical “Kunstlied”.
His instrumentation, always teeming with character, invokes an atmosphere sometimes mystical and otherworldly, sometimes exuberant and full of relish. Herzfeld’s main instrument is a piano primed with surprises that he merges with bass clarinet and sounds from old metal. When Anne Kaftans lamenting soprano saxophone then seeks the duet with Bobo’s voice, an inimitable world of sound results, creating a maelstrom you can easily lose yourself in.
In the same way, Herzfeld has written his own catchy compositions to Goethe’s and Eichendorff’s poems, and they fit in with the familiar melodies just like they belong there. The three musicians have rightly been nominated for the “RUTH” world music awards; they possess the ability to create few but strong sounds of suggestive effect with the most sparing of instrumentations. With some songs you really can’t tell: Is this a little known folk song? Or one of their own compositions? Bobo, Sebastian Herzfeld and Anne Kaftan create their own world. Is it still tradition? Yes. As Gustav Mahler already knew: “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.“