The brass band “Banda Comunale” has been making music in Dresden for over 15 years. They make uninhibited use of the cultural influences of what are perceived as foreign countries and peoples. For a large part, their repertoire includes music from the crisis regions of the world: north Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, Columbia, western, eastern and central Africa, and eastern Europe. After over 40 concerts against PEGIDA and for people who have fled their home countries in preliminary reception centres in Dresden and the surrounding area, they began the “Banda Internationale” project in 2015 with refugee musicians in Dresden, which has now become a fixed band. Since then, the group of nearly 20 musicians from Syria, Palestine, Iran and Iraq has won numerous prizes and has played more than 300 concerts in Dresden, Saxony and Germany. Their overriding, shared goal was to re-interpret the music of their homeland, to open peoples’ hearts, to dismantle prejudices and resentment, and to contribute to an understanding between new and long-term residents of Saxony, Germany and Europe.
On the basis of the close collaboration with musicians from many different cultures, and the experiences gathered over the last two years with intercultural, music education work with children and young adults, the band went on a tour to the country of one of its musicians and visited a large number of schools and education institutions in Burkina Faso in 2018. Together with Ezékiel Wendtoin, the singer in the band and the winner of the Special Africa Prize in the 2015 Song Contest, the band is now planning to build a school in Ouagadougou.
Cassandra Steen first came to prominence as a duet partner of German band “Freundeskreis” and as the matchless lead singer of “Glashaus”, since becoming involved in countless acclaimed collaborations with top-class national and international acts. With her award-winning album “Darum leben wir”, including the mega hit “Stadt (feat. Adel Tawil)”, she finally broke through as a solo artist in 2009.
Major nominations, such as for the World Music Award, the MTV Europe Music Award, the Comet and 1Live Krone, since followed. Cassandra Steen ultimately received the ECHO award for “best national artist” for her 2011 album “Mir so nah”. Five-times gold award-winning single “Unter die Haut” came out two years later with Tim Bendzko. More than ten years on, Cassandra Steen released an entirely new album with her band Glashaus entitled “Kraft” in 2017, followed up by sold-out tours across Germany. The third extension of the tour concluded in February 2019.
Ees, whose real name is Eric Sell, is a Namibian musician and music producer of German descent. In his songs, which he dubs "NAM Flava music", he mixes elements from Kwaito, Afro pop, reggae and hip hop. In order to increase the popularity of modern Namibian music in German-speaking countries, Ees moved to Cologne in 2004 after a stopover in Cape Town.
On the African continent, Ees's music has already won several highly prestigious awards: for example, he won the "Listeners' Choice Award" at the MTV Africa Music Awards in 2009 and, together with Mandoza, the "Channel O Africa Music Video Award" in 2012 – which is one of the most coveted musical awards in Africa – for the song Ayoba.
In Germany, two songs from EES provided accompanying soundtracks for the Football World Cup in 2010: “Again ’n Again”, the official World Cup song for BILD Online and “Hands Up”, the official World Cup song for radio broadcaster WDR 2. With the Yes-Ja! band, EES was also the winner of “X Factor” 2018 in Germany.
“We need more people with disabilities to be visible in the public eye and sharing the limelight. A diverse and open society can only grow when diversity is publicly present.” Graf Fidi is committed to this goal – as a rapper, social worker and discussion moderator on various different platforms dealing with the topic of inclusion.
Born with a walking disability and six fingers, the rapper and inclusion ambassador has mastered his job and his passion – music. His motto: “I can do this left-handed!” He proves that you can set any goals you want, despite physical disabilities.
Fidi is actively engaged in fighting discrimination and in the promotion of inclusion and barrier-free accessibility. Although he regards himself as a spokesman for disabled people and actively lives the goal of inclusion on and off the stage, his musical repertoire is very diverse and not focussed solely on his disability. His music projects cheerfulness and he is always ready to verbally make fun of himself. Because: “It's normal to be different!”
Since her outstanding success in “The Voice of Germany” in 2015, a lot has happened in Jamie-Lee’s life. She appeared in front of 200 million TV viewers for the Eurovision Song Contest, her first album, “Berlin”, was launched and she was then nominated for the German ECHO music prize in the “Pop National Artist” category.
The singer from Hanover doesn’t take herself too seriously and enjoys the limelight. However, as Jamie-Lee says, she has another side: “I am an emotional person. I might look cheeky or loud, but I’m a very thoughtful person.” This is also reflected in her mystical hit song “Ghost”, which has been played constantly on the radio, and which has already gathered 20 million clicks on YouTube.
Jamie-Lee worked for the Toggo channel and recorded “Spirit”, the German title song for the Disney series. This version is more successful than the US original, with nearly 8 million clicks. Based on this experience, she has started to enjoy singing in German. Currently, Jamie-Lee is working on new songs in German in the studio. She writes her own texts and the music, and can express herself and her entire personality in this way.
Jamie-Lee is a vegan and staunch animal rights activist.
Jess has been a well-known personality in Germany for the last 10-15 years, as her large fan base shows. Since 2010, she has presented the youth programme KiKA LIVE together with Ben, and can be seen on the ARD and ZDF children’s channel from Monday to Thursday. Currently she also moderates the Tigerentenclub (KiKA, ARD). She also presents various live events for the Goethe Institut, the Zeit Foundation, the Courage youth festival and the VW partner school festival. Jess speaks fluent English and Spanish.
She loves dancing so much that for a time, she even was an active member of her own dance troupe.
Johanna Klum is one of the most likeable faces on juvenile television. She made her name as presenter of the award-winning ProSieben show “Elton vs. Simon”. She presented the “Bundesvision Song Contest” (ProSieben) alongside Stefan Raab. She also presented “SuperKids” (SAT.1) and dance show “Got to Dance” (ProSieben), the latter awarded the German Television Award. She has been the presenter of ZDF/KIKA production “Dein Song” since 2010.
Social commitment is also an important concern for Johanna. This sees her regularly involved in various projects such as the “Junge Helden” association, campaigning for organ donation.
Joyce Candido is one of the most impressive performers in a new generation of Samba and MPB singers. She was discovered by Chico Buarque over fifteen years ago and has released three high quality, very successful albums. She made her big breakthrough in 2006 with an outstanding show in Teatro Rival, which ran for several days and was directed by Bibi Ferreira.
She is a regular guest in major music TV productions in Brazil. The charismatic singer also has a major presence outside the country. In 2017, she was awarded the prize of “Musical Ambassador of the Country” at the Press Award in Japan. She has presented her albums in several extended tours in Europe and North America. At the “Over the Border Festival” in 2019, she shared the stage with the Fado singer Cuca Roseta, and gave a much praised concert. In Rio de Janeiro, she embodies the new Bossa Nova compositions and has an especially large fan community in the younger generation.
KAFVKA is a young band from Berlin-Lichtenberg who merge rap and punk with political beliefs and bold messaging. KAFVKA’s debut album ”Hände Hoch!” (Hands Up!) was released in April 2016 and immediately catapulted the band to some of Germany’s largest live act stages. Appearances on-stage have included for instance the Open Flair, Taubertal Festival and even “Rock im Park” events. The following year the band played in front of 10,000 excited spectators as a supporting act for the band Toten Hosen. Their LIVE motto can be put into a single word: Demolition!
KAFVKA’s second album “2084” came out in 2018. Many of KAFVKA’s songs appeal directly to humanity to recognise the seriousness of the time, to take responsibility and appropriate action. The track ”Alle hassen Nazis” (Everyone hates Nazis) is the most successful song in the band’s history. KAFVKA bluntly narrates on the current political situation and appeals to everyone to take responsibility for current events and act appropriately. For the band, it’s not about pointing fingers but making a point. The band’s merchandise for instance is now made exclusively from second hand or fair trade products, and singer Jonas is co-founder of the FLÜCHTLINGE WILLKOMMEN (REFUGEES WELCOME) platform, which helps refugees cohabit with existing accommodation-sharing communities.
Karyna Gomes comes from Guinea-Bissau, but her career started in the “Rejoicing Mass Choir” gospel choir in the metropolis of São Paulo. Back in her homeland, she joined the tradition-rich and revolutionary band “Super Mama Djombo”. Karyna began her solo career in 2014 with the album “Mindjer” and a second album is currently on the way. Since then, she has become one of the great voices in her country. She masterfully unites Africa, Europe and Latin America in her music and has celebrated full house concerts in Lisbon and Bissau with her amazing stage presence.
She grew up with traditional rhythms and her music has been influenced by her life on three continents - Africa, Latin America and Europe. Her songs address urgent social issues such as compulsory migration. In her second visit to Germany she opened the 4th “Over the Border Festival” in the Forum of the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn with a band created especially for this project.
With her unfettered honesty, Mathea strikes a chord with her fans: She quickly topped the Austrian singles chart with her début hit “2x”, finding her way onto all major online platforms. With oodles of self-confidence and no holding back, Mathea stays forever faithful to her experiences, forging a very real connection to her listeners through her lyrics. Combined with a voice that strikes an effortless balance between power and vulnerability, an unmistakable sound resonates with flow and attitude.
She embarks on her first tour in 2019 with all-new material.
Singer, poet, composer, multi-instrumentalist – Mu Mbana is all of these. He was born on the island of Bolama, in Guinea-Bissau. The numerously honoured musician has found a new home in Barcelona. Accompanied by his Simbi, his music transports us to a magical place. Mu's music consists of special moments and the connection between these. It combines traditional African musical culture from the third century onward, the playing of various different string instruments of West African hunters, exciting jazz improvisation and the endless musical diversity of Guinea-Bissau in a very special manner.
At this year's “Over the Border Festival”, he impressively proved that young musicians can interact musically through the power of hearing alone. In two subsequent successive workshops he introduced students at the Bonn International School (BIS) to vocal harmony in conjunction with African string instruments. For his concert in the Agora Lounge in the school, he spontaneously invited a reunion of the Cologne cult formation Dunjabele to participate in his show and also included two BIS students in his performance program.
Niko Hüls is a popular hip-hop journalist from Hamburg. A journalist since 2000, he took charge of BACKSPIN in 2009, now the oldest hip-hop magazine still going strong. He is well-respected by artists and audiences alike for his uniquely critical yet personal interviewing style. His interviews over the years span Germany’s rap scene, from Alligatoah to Sido. The Hamburg-based journalist’s cognizance of the musical spirit of the age means he knows just what music needs to shine and achieve success. He is seen at hip-hop festivals, acting as a brand ambassador for Viva con Agua, and at football matches.
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