I’ve always been a fan of listening to the radio. If I had been growing up in the mid-twentieth century, I think I would have been one of those kids who would have listened to radio dramas like Ralphie in the movie A Christmas Story:
As it is, I am a big fan of NPR and nowadays, there are so many excellent Podcasts out there which you could consider the modern version of the radio program.
Here in Germany, each state has its own public broadcasting channels, including radio, which are similar to the BBC in the United Kingdom. All German public broadcasting (both radio and television) is organized under ARD. The German public broadcasting network is more extensive than what we have in the United States. I would say, though, that public radio in states like Wisconsin and even more like in Minnesota are somewhat similar in terms of scope and offerings.
For instance, the Bayerischer Rundfunk, or Bavarian Radio (BR), offers seven different channels, including pop music, classical, talk/news and cultural programs. I’ve always thought it neat that many of the state radio organizations in Germany, like BR, have their own recording orchestras which often perform live on the radio or pre-record broadcasts. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of the most best-known radio orchestras. (The BBC Symphony Orchestra is another well-known radio orchestra.) Given that we listen to lots of classical music in our household, I really enjoy the classical offerings on BR’s classical music channel.
When I was an exchange student living in Köln, in the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, I remember switching through the various channels to listen to all the different public radio stations there (also organized under ARD), under the name West Deutscher Rundfunk, or WDR. Their music channel, Funkhaus Europa is a particularly fun mix of tunes.
In March a year ago, it was especially fun for me to listen to all the radio stations as I was driving from our town to the NRW city of Wuppertal. As I was driving along, I even picked up the American Armed Forces Radio Network.
There are, of course, privately-owned radio stations. One that I often listen to when driving around with Rosebud and Superdude is Antenne Bayern. This radio station, commercially supported, plays a lot of music from the 80s and 90s as well as the current pop hits. It’s nice for the kids, and in listening to it, I’ve discovered a number of German pop music singers that I like. Since I know there are a good number of German students out there who read, I thought I’d share some of the music I’ve been hearing on the radio.
1. Ich + Ich – great pop music group. Check out their album Vom selben Stern on iTunes, or a more recent album, Gute Reise which you can find on Amazon.com. Their latest radio hit from Gute Reise is a song called Pflaster, which means Band-aid, and is very catchy indeed. You might be able to hear it on Youtube:
(music doesn’t always work because of copyright issues).
2. Unheilig – I am not too familiar with Unheilig’s music, but I heard the song Winterland the other day. It’s a lovely song about winter and someone who is thinking about being home, and I was actually thinking this might be an excellent song to use in the German classroom. The lyrics are fairly easy to understand.
3. Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester – Raabe and his orchestra specialize in performing music from the 1920s and 1930s, and also covering modern songs in that style. This song, “Küssen Kann Man Nicht Alleine”, is his latest top hit – “One can’t kiss alone” (or maybe I’d translate it as, “It takes two to kiss”). The video is really cute, and the puppet reminds me of Kermit the Frog.
Speaking of this kind of German language music, in the early 90’s, Max Raabe recorded a song called “Kein Schwein ruft mich an”, or “Why does no one call”, which was originally a Comedian Harmonists song.
I especially like the double bass player in this rendition.
When the Swine Influenza epidemic broke out a few years ago, Leo Wundergut and the Swiss tenors recorded a humorous version of the same song called “Kein Schwein steckt mich an”, or “No swine will infect me”:
4. Lena Meyer-Landrut and her winning Eurovision song (sung in English), Satellite:
There’s not much to this song, but it’s been quite popular here, so I hear it from time to time on the radio.
5. If you like jazz, especially with an eclectic flair, maybe you’d like the Austrian jazz musician David Helbock and his recent project, Random/Control. I heard several excerpts from this album on BR-Klassik, along with an interview of him. You can listen to music and Helbock in his own words (with English subtitles) in this promotional video:
6. If you like rap/hip hop, check out: Kool Savas and their rap/contemporary R&B song, “Der bester Tag meines Lebens”.