& guest Moe Jaksch: bass (5,8,9), harp (13), keyboards, drum programming, electric guitar, tambourine, chorus, claps, Oona Boeken: Harp (7:12) Mrs. Schmitt: Violin (6:11) Clarissa Gebauer: choral singing (4,9,11)
LÜÜL is the singer/songwriter, guitarist and musician Lutz Graf-Ulbrich from Berlin who published more than 40 albums in more than 40 years. He was the guitarist of the German psychedelic bands Agitation Free and Ash Ra Tempel.
For several years he accompanied the legendary diseuse Nico of Velvet Underground - on stage as a musician as well as a lover.
After excursions into German new wave pop ("Morgens in der U-Bahn"), solo albums, Rock theatre Reineke Fuchs (rock theatre Reynard the Fox) and movie soundtracks he has returned to the roots of native acoustic music: polka, reggae, klezmer music, cajun. He is founding member of the 17 Hippies. His CD "Damenbesuch" was awarded "Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik" (the German Grammy). In 2006 his biography "Lutz Ulbrich: Lüül - ein Musikerleben" was published.
Since 1995 he travels around the world, from one stage to another, playing banjo with the 17 Hippies, but he always finds time for his own songs. Then he tells tales from his life, in his typical manner: dry, amusing, tender.
With just a touch of new wave, polka, ballads, a dash of rock'n'roll. It is lively handmade music that has a charme and persuasive power and - if you are predisposed - might leave you addicted. Added to this - LÜÜLs voice, hoarse and blue and yet in love with life.
His live programme focuses on his CD "Tourkoller" (MIG 00562; to be released Oktober 7, 2011) including 13 new songs, own material as well as musical versions of Erich Mühsam, Klabund and Fredy Sieg. His high-quality backing band consists of musicians of the 17 Hippies. It is unimaginable that there might be a time when LÜÜL is not part of their core.
"We do not want to miss neither a sentence nor a syllable, neither during his songs nor in between, when in passing Lüül throws things to know at us about Klabund und Kästner. Then and again small tears drop on our collars, our foot cannot stand still, we would like to get lost in this night that has started so wonderfully. Lüül plays music for people that ride in a wave swinger when they are blue and will never stay alone when they caught a happy day. The world needs many Lüüls." (Die Welt, German daily)
30 years of Lüül. 9 solo albums. This is number 9. When you travel as a musician, you always come across things that really touch you: places you never forget and stories you love to tell others. This has influenced my life, especially when I excessively toured many different continents as a banjo player with the 17 Hippies. Even though you are undoubtedly privileged as a band it's little wonder that you can have a fit when you're on tour. This CD not only conveys my personal impressions, but the political activist Erich Mühsam (1878-1934) as well as the poet Klabund (1890-1928) and last but not least actor and singer Fredy Sieg (1878-1962) from Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin take part in it, too. So, here are the songs in detail:
Tourkoller (To have a Fit on Tour)
In 2009, I had been on tour for 150 days! I toured China, the US, Africa, Europe, and Germany - most of the time with the 17 Hippies. I've actually been on tour with many different bands since I'm 19 years old. This song flows from my experience.
Weiter, weiter, unermüdlich (Forward, keep on going indefatigably) (Lyrics by Erich Mühsam)
Originally, I set these words to music for a show about Erich Mühsam in the 1980s which was performed by the Rock theatre Reineke Fuchs. But at that time I didn't sing. I think this song goes wonderfully with the album as it is about being in search and being restless.
Kein Song (No Song)
Some fragments of this song date back from lonely times in my studio flat in Berlin Moabit where I lived in the 1970s. It was only 30 square metres in size! The guy who had lived there previously had killed himself and the tenant who moved in after me jumped out of the window. In 2002, I also went through a very sad time of loneliness. This song combines both of these unhappy phases. But it wasn't until last year that the music leaped into my mind while I was staying at my sister's summer residence. Please note the first-generation Mini Pops rhythm machine, which I just love to play!
Dein Fenster (Your Window)
In 1979, I was backing musician for former Velvet Underground singer Nico. I stayed at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. John Cale had invited Nico to sing at a charity concert for a radio station at Carnegie Hall. At that time Nico was looking for a new record producer - David Bowie was her favourite. She accepted the invitation. When the day she was to perform finally arrived, Nico was hungover. And as she wasn't going to get paid for this gig, she didn't feel like it anymore. So it was me who had to go and see John in order to cancel the gig. And guess who was sitting backstage? David Bowie! This story about blowing a chance inspired me to write this song which I originally composed on the piano but then translated to the guitar. Kruisko's accordeon represents Nico's harmonium.
Sie war Tarzan, ich war Jane (She was Tarzan, I was Jane)
A time full of adventures I spend with "Tarzan", amongst others, we travelled to South America on board a Polish cargo ship; we chopped our path through the Columbian jungle. We either went by local bus, on horseback through the Andes or on a banana steam boat along the Pacific coast to Panama, just like Bogart and Hepburn in the movie "African Queen" accompanied by flea, spiders and other crawling little creatures.
Meine erste hieß Marianne (My first one was named Marianne)
A bittersweet tribute to several women whom I had the luck to meet and to join for a part of the journey. The resemblance with living persons is not accidental but intented. The song is also based on Insterburg's "Ich liebte ein Mädchen…"
In meiner Kemenate (In my bower)
I had just bought an i-Book to write my biography. On the internet I was looking for a special place where I could spend a couple of days in quiet. I found a castle called Stargard. Three wonderful days without a clock. To halt. It happened that the harp player Oona was in town while we recorded the album, right on time to accompany us with her beautiful sounds, what she does as well in the track "Du wanderst deinen kleinen Weg alleine" (You wander your little path alone)
Hochzeit bei Zickenschulze (The Wedding at Zickenschulze)(Lyrics and music by Fredy Sieg)
I had heard the tune a very long time ago by German singer Evelyn Künneke and totally liked it. Now was the time to record it since I am married myself for three years now. I have been so free to simplify the music of the original composer Fredy Sieg a tad.
Zwei Liebende (Two lovers)
My girlfriend at that time and me were on in Hawaii hopping from island to island. We camped at the most beautiful beaches and - although it was forbidden - next to fresh lava streams which inspired the song. My singing is being supported wonderfully by Clarissa Gebauer who is a member of the band Tschaika, one of my favorite bands from Berlin.
Nachts in Marokko (At night in Morocco)
A couple of years ago I had been to Morocco with the 17 Hippies to find ideas for new songs. Jimi Hendrix had spent some time here for the same reasons, also in the harbor town Essaouira. We lived in the picturesque hotel of Berlin actor Titus and his Moroccan wife and each day, we rehearsed in the very beautiful garden on the roof where you had a superb view over city and sea. One night there was a sudden unrest because of an escaped prisoner. He jumped from roof to roof to get admission to the apartments. Along with it this mosque crier croaked to prayer every hour…
Stiller Schmerz (Silent pain)
For several years we lived in a simple house in Dallgow-Döberitz, a bit further west of Berlin, when the relationship broke. One day I found myself at the train station, alone and without a plan. What next? I have tried to capture this emotion of complete insecurity, grief, cluelessness and void. With this recording Mrs. Schmitt of Subway to Sally, who had also played the violin for some time in the 17 Hippies, was of essential help.
Du wanderst deinen kleinen Weg alleine (You wander your little Path alone) (Lyrics by Klabund)
This poem is also known under the title "Wanderung unter den Sternen" (A Walk beneath the Stars). During the last years my best friend Blaine said good-bye - an American with whom I had a unique male bonding over decades, starting from youth and persistent to thousands of kilometers between us. My really old parents who had been married for 63 years died shortly one after another. Time to deal with death. The unfortunately forgotten poet Klabund who died young submitted a fine template to do so, which I have set to music in 1986 for a Klabund show but never recorded myself.
Hab alles gesagt (All said)
Written in Waterford, Ireland, at 3:30 o'clock a.m. We were playing at a bad and carelessly organized festival where nothing really worked. On top of that it was raining endlessly. Finally there was an additional late night gig although we were already completely exhausted. In this mood while being backstage these lines came into my head. Or as comedian Karl Valentin put it "It is all said but not by all!"
Lüül June 2011
LÜÜL On Tour
14.02.12 - 20 h Berlin - Wabe; Lüüls Live Lounge Special zum Valentinstag 23 Solos For Love 20.02.12 - 20 h Berlin - Wühlmäuse; Männerabend mit Boris Steinberg, Manfred Maurenbrecher, Denis Fischer und Lüül
Tourkoller Tour II
16.02.12 - 20 h Reutlingen - Kulturzentrum Franz K. 18.02.12 - 20 h Frankfurt - Romanfabrik 19.02.12 - 20 h Bremen - Weserterrassen 24.02.12 - 20 h Plauen - Malzhaus 25.02.12 - 20 h Berlin - tbc 08.03.12 - 20 h Cottbus - Picollo Theater