This was not just my first ever visit to Germany, but a very big gig. I had been approached to perform at the ‘Long Night of Music’ by a representative of Gasteig whilst performing locally in North London. This event has been run annually for the last 10 years, and attracts 12-15,000 people.
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Gasteig is the cultural epicentre of Munich. It has just celebrated 25 years of being a unique platform for music, and art, it’s also the base for the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. There’s a music conservatoire, a higher education college, cinemas which host most of the events for the Munich Film Festival. It hosts 1,700 events per year; the facility covers a square mile.
The scale of the event is massive. That night there were 29 performances over 8 stages in Gasteig alone. And across Munich as a whole there were 400 concerts in 120 different locations, there were several live broadcasts, which gives you an idea why they made such a big deal about it.
Walking round the city in the daytime, with my friend who had come along for the trip, we could see the place already buzzing about the big annual event, which was hardly surprising given the amount of back breaking promotion that had been put in. There were many posters in the heart of the city and clusters of stalls selling tickets and flogging programmes. What a positive attitude Germany seemed to have towards upcoming artists. It was also surprising to see so many people in Lederhosen and Dirndl (traditional dress for men and women); they were very proud of it too. After a traditional Bavarian lunch and a couple of tankards of German beer – it’s got to be done – it was time for a vocal warm up, which always seems to be produce giggles from anyone in the same room as me!
My musical style is funky and soulful with a rocky edge, with influences that include Alanis Morissette and KT Tunstall. It was both daunting and exciting not knowing how this would be received, but it seemed there was no need to worry at all. I sat on the edge of the stage to write the set list and happened to look up and notice the foyer area was already filling quite nicely with a buzz of expectant faces sat down at the front; cross legged looking up at the stage as if it were a school assembly. Once my guitar and vocal levels had been checked I started to sing. Very soon the room was at full capacity with people flooding up the stairs to become part of what was to be a wonderful audience. 250 people clapped, cheered and even demanded an encore it was an absolute thrill and honour
Once the performance had ended I stumbled across Sharyhan Osman; a fabulous artist with a beautiful voice and a gripping presence on stage. She was accompanied by her very talented band, please check her out on Youtube.
Munich would be thoroughly recommendable to anyone looking to relax on a city break; it is a captivating city with a noticeably slower pace and quieter buzz where bicycles glide along the sandy stone paved alley ways amidst the beautiful architecture of the city – baroque churches, idyllic gardens….
As a musician I could not have been better looked after. So thank you Germany and thank you Gasteig for having me and for being such a charming audience for what I think was a very pivotal moment in my life, until the next time.
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