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Upcoming CD: KSL and friends interpret Weill

In September, Kurt and the Sophisticated Lady (Andrew Wise and I) recorded our first CD, working together with some impressive, high caliber friends – Raphaël D’Agostino on cornet and flügelhorn, Hendrik Vanattenhoven on double bass, and Peter Ploegaerts on drums. It was an intense 3 days. More news on the release soon.

I have a long history with Kurt Weill. Thanks to an inscription on a fly-leaf, I know that I owned my very first Brecht/Weill songbook when I was only 14 years old.

What is it that touches me in this music? In essence, it’s the bittersweet mix of clever, acerbic, punchy texts with melodies that touch the heart. Even in the songs that have the hardest edge – I’m thinking of Pirate Jenny, or Sailors’ Tango – the harsh, biting elements are offset by moments of beautiful lyricism. And take Mackie Messer – what an intriguing mixture: a swinging, happy tune (impossible not to move to that beat!) setting a gruesome, horrible text.

These are songs that exemplify the time when they were written: the swinging high life running at full tilt on top of an unstable society doomed by inequality, prejudice and hardship. And at the same time, they remain relevant today, reflecting as they do the rough and smooth of life.


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