Jazz Exported From Germany With Love To The Word (Photo)

By Ayoola Shadare (Inspiro)

Ayoola Sadare Founder & Festival Director of Nigeria’s premier jazz festival – The Lagos International Jazz Festival & Director Media/Strategy Pman was amongst the 16 participants nominated worldwide by the German Federal Foreign Service on recommendation by his Excellency Ingo Herbert - Consul General Germany to Nigeria. This was to be part of the 6 day ‘Jazz from Germany - passion, variety and quality’ tour between July 16-21 2018.
This programme was put together for the Federal Republic of Germany’s visitor’s programme by the Ina Kebler led initiative musik, a German agency supporting rock, pop and jazz music in Germany.

The Federal Republic of Germany is a sovereign state in Europe with 16 constituent states and a population of nearly 83 million inhabitants. Germany's capital and largest metropolis is Berlin other major cities are Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Bremen, Dresden, Hannover, and Nuremberg. It is the most populous member state of the European Union and has the largest national economy in Europe with a highly skilled labor force and a high level of innovation. Germany has a network of 227 diplomatic missions abroad and maintains relations with more than 190 countries. In 2002 Germany introduced the common European currency, the euro. The official and predominant spoken language in Germany is German.

The Germans are world famous for many well-known international export brands from vehicles, machinery, chemical goods, electronic products, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, transport equipment, basic metals, food products, rubber and plastics like Mercedes-Benzes, BMW, SAP, Volkswagen, Audi, Siemens, Allianz, Adidas, Porsche, Deutsche Bah, Deutsche Bank and Bosch. Germany is also recognised for its large portion of specialized small and medium enterprises, with more than 1,000 of these companies’ global market leaders in their segment. Home to the modern car, the automotive industry in Germany is the fourth largest by production and regarded as one of the most competitive and innovative in the world. The famous Autobahn motorway network is the third-largest worldwide in length and is known for its unlimited driving speed limit. as the seventh most visited country in the world, it is the second most popular immigration destination in the world after the US, with the Goethe-Institut a non-profit German cultural association operating worldwide with 159 institutes offering the study of the German language and encouraging global cultural exchange. 

The country has famous notable names from diverse fields including composers, inventors, writers and more like Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Wilhelm Rontgen, Otto Hahn, Ferdinand Cohn & Robert Koch, Dietrich Buxtehude, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg FriedRich Händel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Carl Maria Von Weber, Felix Mendelssohn to mention a few.  As the second largest music market in Europe, and fourth largest in the world, German popular music of the 20th and 21st centuries has become popular with the movements of Neue Deutsche Welle, Pop, Ostrock, Heavy Metal/Rock, Punk, Pop Rock and others. German Electronic Music has gained global influence, with Kraftwerk And Tangerine Dream pioneering in this genre.  DJs and artists of the Techno and House Music scenes of Germany have become well known worldwide.
The German President and Head of State is Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2017–present) and the Head Of Government Is Chancellor Angela Merkel (2005 – Present).

The trip
When I received notice that I had been nominated as one of the 16 participants from around the world for the jazz from Germany visitors programme, I had a fair idea I was going to a well developed and culturally rich and diverse arts country but wasn’t too sure what to expect about the German jazz scene since I hadn’t encountered this genre much on the world jazz scene. However this perception was soon to be changed as soon as preparations for the trip and other arrangements for same were made.

Leading to the 6 day visit which covered 3 cities in Germany namely Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart the legendary efficiency of my hosts was seen in the way my travel plans were handled. From the consulate here in Lagos Mr. Omotunde Kasali (programme manager) under supervision by the deputy consul general Alexandra Herr was on hand and very helpful to ensure everything was done properly with adequate information provided to prepare me for the trip ahead. A detailed itinerary of the programme was also sent by the initiative musik coordinators handling the trip from Germany. This showed 6 eventful days of work and fun! This people meant business!

I arrived Berlin via Casablanca, Morocco on the evening of Sunday July 15 2018. Berlin is the capital and the largest city of Germany with a steadily growing population of approximately 3.7 million around one-third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers, canals and lakes. After it and its subsequent occupation by the victorious countries, the city was divided into East and West Berlin. East Berlin was declared capital of East Germany, while West Berlin became a de facto West German exclave, surrounded by the Berlin wall (1961–1989) and East German territory.  Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of all of Germany. 

Berlin is a world city of culture, politics, media and science. its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. the metropolis is a popular tourist destination. Berlin is also home to world-renowned universities, orchestras, museums, and entertainment venues, and is host to many sporting events. its zoological garden is the most visited zoo in Europe and one of the most popular worldwide. With the world's oldest large-scale movie studio complex, Berlin is an increasingly popular location for international film productions. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts and a very high quality of living. since the 2000s Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene developed a thriving, cosmopolitan hub for startup companies to become a leading location for venture capital funded firms in the European Union. In the 21st century Berlin has emerged as a major international creative centre.

Instructions on how to reach my accommodation –motel one Alexanersplatz had already been given so it wasn’t a problem getting there. after checking in, I had almost an entire day to rest before meeting up the next day with our gracious hosts from initiative musik:  Michael Wallies (project manager), Christiane Bohnke-Geisse (programme curator) & Zedrah Behmanesh (project assistant) who all together coordinated the eventful itinerary.

Before the welcome dinner at Schnitzelei restaurant, the participants present assembled at the Motel One reception to be briefed then proceeded to the restaurant which was about 3-4 tram stops away. the participants which was later fondly christened ‘The United Nations of Jazz’ included-Irena Aravina- (head of International Festival Silk Music Fest Almaty, Kazakhstan; Brenda Besada Rodriguez– Chief Coordinator Of ‘Festival International De Jazz’ Havana, Cuba; Derya Bigali– Director Of Arbank Art Centre (Akbank Sanat) And Akbank Jazz Festival Istanbul, Turkey; Tamas Bognar– Label Manager Bmc Records & Concert Promoter For Opus Jazz Club, Budapest, Hungary,; David Brent Johnson–Jazz Director Wfiu Public Radio, Bloomington, Chicago, Usa; Christine Kamau–Trumpeter & Founder Women In Music Concert Series & Jazz In Africa, Nairobi, Kenya; Suanshu Khurana–Music Correspondent Indian Express, New Delhi, India; Amikam Kimelman– Saxophonist, Founder International Jaffa Jazz Festival, Director Tel Aviv Jazz Orchestra; Tel Aviv, Israel; Paul Laflamme – Publisher Online Magazine ‘La Metropole. Montreal, Canada; Gordon Matic– General Manager Jazz Festival Kragujevac, Belgrade, Serbia; Victor Sebastian Gonzales– Art Director ‘Asujazz Festival’ Asuncion, Paraguay; David Sanchez Garcia– Producer & Professor University Anahuac Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico; Lily Schwartz– Director Programming Sfjazz, San Francisco, Usa; Natalia Shmelkova– Vice Director Lad & Coordinator Of The Music Association Ural, Yekaterinburg, Russia; Nappadol Tirataradol- Vice President Dept. Student Affairs & Bass Professor Music Faculty Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand And Myself Ayoola Sadare – Founder & Director Lagos International Jazz Festival, Lagos, Nigeria. The dinner was an array of delightful German cuisine and it is interesting to note that though we went to the restaurant by tram, we all unanimously decided to walk back to the hotel after such a hearty dinner.

After a sumptuous breakfast at Motel one we were picked up by the coordinators and headed for formal introduction workshop with the initiative Musik coordinators @dmv. There presentations made by the members of initiative Muzik including  - Anna Blaich export manager, Wolf Kampmann – Jazz Institut Berlin, Julia Hulasmann – Berlin school of the arts and Prof. Ulrich Beckerhoff artistic director of Jazzahead!(an annual exhibition and trade fair for jazz and international music, hosted annually in the German city of Bremen and is one of the most important international networking spots for the jazz industry). of delight to me was when Prof. Beckerhoff who I was eager to meet pointed out that a turning point in his life and career was a music tour of 6 weeks to 11 countries in Africa many years ago when he was just 27. He said this journey forever changed his perception to life!  In all the faciliators together gave us a rounded overview of the jazz & music scene in Germany-its history, structure, development and more. 

After lunch an interesting guided tour of Berlin was embarked upon as we went sightseeing through some of the city’s important and beautiful scenery and tourist sites from the Brandenburg gate, memorial to murdered Jews of Europe site, Berlin wall memorial and finally the famous Alexanderplatz - Fernsehturm (television tower) from where the entire landscape of the city could be seen. At each stop several solo artistes were at hand to thrill us to several musical showcases. Much later in the evening a networking & dinner session was held with a number of musicians and music union industry executives at the legendary Quasimodo jazz club at Berlin’s western neighborhood of Charlottenburg. That session was followed by a brilliant performance by the yellow bird jazz band at the revitalized cellar of the club.

After checking out of Motel One before setting out for the second leg of our trip  to Munich, we visited the Berlin offices of one of Germany’s preeminent independent jazz music labels act. Founded in 1992 by Siegfried ‘siggi’ Loch and located near the popular a-trane jazz club in Pestalozzistrasse.  Though ‘siggi’ himself was unavoidably absent we were graciously hosted by act communications manager Michael Gottfried and his colleague tambour music management executive Jolanda Vujasinovic. Our group was treated to a listening session of some of the latest artistes the label had signed up; the work act was involved in, diversity and plans for the future. Members of the group were gifted with some of their artistes works.

From act we headed to the German federal foreign office where director for education science and academic relations policy, foreign cultural relations ably represented by the hospitable & knowledgeable Dirk Schulz the deputy head of division led us on an exclusive expert discussion and hosted us to sumptuous lunch at the prestigious international club above the rooftops of Berlin. This meeting Opportuned us to learn about the foreign offices wide ranging work with a special presentations on the Germany creative & cultural industries and its current focus & importance. From the federal foreign office we headed out to Munich by Ice train. 

Munich is the capital of the German state of Bavaria. Munich is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg. Munich is one of the most prosperous and fastest growing cities in Germany. The city is a major centre of art, technology, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business, and tourism and enjoys a very high standard and quality of living. Unlike many other German cities which were heavily bombed during the world, Munich restored most of its traditional cityscape and hosted the 1972 summer olympics. The city is home to major corporations like BMW, Siemens, Man, Linde, Allianz and Munichre. Munich is home to many universities, museums, theatres and is the largest publishing city in Europe and home to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany's largest daily newspapers. 

Its numerous architectural attractions, sports events, exhibitions and its annual Oktoberfest attracts considerable tourism. At the centre of the city is the Marienplatz – a large open square named after the Mariensäule, a Marian Column in its centre – with the old and the new town hall. Its tower contains the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. the Hofbräuhaus Amplatzl, arguably the most famous beer hall worldwide, is located in the city centre. It also operates the second largest tent at the Oktoberfest, one of Munich's most famous attractions. For two weeks, the Oktoberfest attracts millions of people visiting its beer tents ("bierzelte") and fairground attractions. The Oktoberfest was first held on 12 October 1810 in honor of the marriage of crown prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen

On arrival at Munich on Wednesday evening we were taken to the Bavarian broadcasting Br centre where we attended a special concert by Munich based trumpet player Mathias Lindermayr & his quintet@funkhaus studio 2. We later retired to our hotel the design hotel Stadt Rosenheim at Orleansplatz.

After breakfast on Thursday morning, we headed out for a guided tour through Munich conducted by our guide Erika Fischer-Laughlin an actress and director in film and theatre. This tour took us through the centre of Munich with its rich monarchial history, the famous Oktoberfest halls, the most expensive shopping street in Germany and the famous cathedral with rotating statutes Rathaus-Glockenspiel. We stopped next at the cultural department of the city of Munich where Dr. Hans-Gerge Kuppers who is the cultural officer of the city of Munich and chairman of the culture committee of the German association of cities at Burgestarbe was expecting us. He welcomed us warmly and intimated us about the activities of his department. Next stop was an exciting mid-day musical showcase at the popular Harryklein techno club in Sonnesstrabe Munich by the Jazzrausch big band-the only resident big band of a techno club in the world.
 At 12 noon this club was busy with an almost 2 hour special showcase presentation for us! 

The evening part of our Munich tour was an engaging panel, networking and showcase at the Einstein Kultur which houses the 40 years old famous jazz club Unterfahrt where we met the its president the cheerful Michael Stuckl – Chairman Forderkreis Jazz und Malerei Munchen e,v. a panel was conducted by Jürgen Enninger head team of excellence for the cultural and creative industries of the city of Munich to meet the executives of legendary music labels from Munich including Ecm, Act, Enja, Galileo &Trikont. The networking/match making session with members of the Munich Jazz scene, where various musicians and numerous representatives were present was conducted with side showcases by Leo Betzi Trio (lbt) winners of the BMW World Jazz awards & Fazer band. The evening ended with a jazz in concert and dinner at the world acclaimed Jazz club Unterfahrt. The award winning Omer Avital Quantar quintet was on set to perform to the delight of a sold out show at the Jazz club.

Stuttgart is the capital and largest city of the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Stuttgart is located on the Neckar river in a fertile valley known locally as the "Stuttgart Cauldron." It lies an hour from the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest. It’s the sixth largest city in Germany with several major companies including Porsche, Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, Daimler Ag, and Dinkelacker headquartered there. Stuttgart is purported to be the location of the automobile's invention by Karl Benz and then industrialized by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in a small workshop in Bad Cannstatt that would become Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1887. As a result, it is considered to be the starting point of the worldwide automotive industry and is sometimes referred to as the 'cradle of the automobile'. 

We arrived at Stuttgart the famous home of the Mercedes Benz museum. Being an avid Benz lover, I got to feast my eyes on a lot of different models but was unable to visit the Mercedes Benz museum for a tour due to time constraints. I am sure would have spent the entire day there oohing and aaaahing at different models. at Stuttgart we were lodged at the delightsome Jaz in the city hotel from where we were taken to meet the debonair Jürgen Schlensog festival director of the 25 years old Jazzopen festival and also the amiable Arnem Braun deputy speaker of the Stuttgart state government. After a welcome champagne reception we were given a back stage tour of the Jazzopen main venue. Mr. Schlensog educated us on the festival and it history, operations and 25th anniversary activities. Mr. Braun later took us on an exclusive tour of the venue hosting the largest shows of the Jazzopen festival, a place with a very rich history of occupancy by the famous French general Napoleon Bonaparte.

We later attended as part of the Jazzopen in concert, a showcase by Wolfgang Dauner a legendary 82 year old pianist with an eventful life at the Domkirche St. Eberhard. After this the main Jazzopen concert with legendary German band Kraftwerk. Later at the Schlossplatz an electric ultra realistic concert was held with the Jazzopen concert featuring Atna and friends at the Stadtpalais.

The last day of the final leg of our trip was a visit to the state University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart which is one of the largest performing arts institutions in Germany housing about 220 Steinway grand pianos and a wing with 12 or more church organs amongst others!! The tour of this university was by the hospitable and dynamic Prof. Mini Schulz of the institute for Jazz who is also the artistic director of the Bix Jazz Club Stuttgart and a managing partner of Jazzopen. He gave us a comprehensive oversight of the possibilities of Jazz, the club and scene in the Baden-Wattergen state.

After Dr. Schulz’s tour, a feedback session and a farewell lunch to mark the official end of the jazz from Germany tour was held. The entire event rounded up later in the evening with a Jazzopen concert @the bix jazz club Leonhardsplatz Stuttgart.

Farewell day of departure & goodbyes. After breakfast each participant departed to catch their various modes transportation to their final destinations. This was not without final goodbyes and promises to stay in touch after such an engaging and bonding time together.

Overall my impression of Germany as a country and their Jazz & music scene changed considerably. I was deeply impressed by the level of development and opportunities in place to do a lot of projects even outside what I was invited for. after this program the probability of more German bands being booked internationally is very high, at least I have seen a few I would like to book for some of my events and recommend to other promoters & producers here. Artiste collaboration & touring opportunities are also possible. The Jazz in Germany programme is a good initiative that will yield positive results as the participants who are already influencers in their various countries got to see firsthand the caliber & cadre of musicians Germany has and how they can be engaged in other countries. This is ingenious. The underlying message is German Jazz & music is very ready for export and the avenues to make this happen are already in place. So do it!    

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