AfriBlog // Myths, Lessons and Accounts



Africappella Performance

Pommes, Brunhilde and some awesome people - Africappella arrives in Germany 2016.
- 28 April 2016

It is noteworthy to mention that this was a trip that was 2 years in planning. Our dear friend Deborah Rosanwo introduced us to Florian Städler via Twitter and it took another year to finally meet the man in 2014 during our national Blue Junxion tour.

So when we finally decided in late 2015 to bite the bullet and make the trip happen we knew preparations were going to be very tight as there was no time to muck about. Still grateful to the very friendly staff at the German embassy for getting our VISAs ready in record 48 hours!!

With only a week to go before departure, rehearsals were intense since we had no less than 8 brand new songs to perfect before we landed in Frankfurt. Nevertheless, as the Chinese put it, "there's nothing that cannot be achieved through hard-work and diligence."

Read AcappellaZone's account of the trip here.

Leaving sunny Jo’burg, 16 hours later we landed in chilly Frankfurt where we were received by Dr. Oliver Adamczyk (aka Oli) in a shirt and a light jacket - further purporting the myth that indeed Europeans are immune to cold weather. (Admittedly, soon after we were sauntering about in the cold also in much fewer layers of clothing than anticipated.)
Pommes
Two of us took a train from the Frankfurt station to Freiburg. One of the first remarkable features about Freiburg was the beauty of Freiburg relative to the other sites we had seen along the train ride - and also how beautiful the people were - we still think the women are the best looking in Germany ;)
Yet also impressive was discovering centuries old structures which had been well preserved, such as the city gates and the Freiburg Minster (church) located in the middle of the city. This was of course of particular interest to our historian in the band, Vusi Nhlapo.

However, even more beautiful are the staff at AcappellaZone - Moana, Sarah, Paul, Robert, Michel [not such an easy name to pronounce as you would assume], Werner (aka Carlo), Katja, Fee, Melanie & Tanya. What we did not realise though is that in a delightful surprise they would somewhat represent the general soul of Freiburgers - easygoing, beautiful, helpful and very friendly! Granted, most people assumed we were refugees yet treated us even more warmly when they discovered that we were rather on tour from South Africa - we will not mention the amount of complimentary Ganters we received at Erika's biergarten AND a Paul Lobbert inspired discovery… The delicious dark delicacy called ‘Brunhilde' - yup, just like in the movie Django ;)
And you can imagine the laughter after discovering that 'Pommes' means 'Chips/Fries' in German. Weird name to give to such delicious things ;)
Weird exhibitions at the Freiburg Messe
Then it was the reception of our music at the Freiburg Messe - an art festival where all the crazy ones from around the world come to exhibit their genius works of art. Now there's a mind-opener!!
Although the first performance did not go as smoothly as hoped despite our very intense preparation, the subsequent appearances managed to showcase the beauty of South Africa’s contemporary vocal jazz. Our repertoire consisted entirely of South African material (originals & classics) deliberately so as we envisaged on taking our audiences on a fantasy ride to our home country. It worked. From Freiburg, through Herdwangen [the audience here took to the stage and jived away the final song with us] to Frankfurt, the repertoire was a smash!! It achieved what we intended to do with it. The audiences thoroughly appreciated the music journey.. and we made friends - arguably the entire purpose of music, neh?

Speaking of making friends, it is easy to be of a particular perception regarding Germans, no thanks to the stereotypes we are constantly fed by the media - too rigid, cold, unwelcoming people. However, having spent a bit of time amongst them, we can boldly claim that they are some of the most wonderful and awesome beings we have ever encountered! Not to mention the friendships and indelible memories we made.
Eating Mexican dinner with our German friends
German food is a bit strange for our taste, hence we had better luck “when we helped cook Mexican supper courtesy of a beautiful person both in and out, Nancy Martinez Gutman. Now that was a dish!!” - Vusi Nhlapo.

Jabu and Josh up in the snowy mountains
“My Up moments were on our mini tour, especially when we drove through the mountains ‘Black Forest’ where the snow was thick, Man! What an exciting time as we came to experience snow for the first time for some of the band members, I am looking forward to visiting the country soon to learn more about its history and its people. - Jabulani Mthethwa.

“One of the moments i will never forget was our performance at the Schutzen, Gasthaus. Now that's a great Jazz venue for many people in Freiburg. we had a blast there also leaving a few tears in the room.. I have learned at that venue that when a German says 'vielen dank' they really mean it and more especially when they were touched by a great experience.” - Vusi Nhlapo.

Saying goodbye to Moana
We are now back home in South Africa, plotting away at our next creative music campaign for the German audiences. This story will soon continue…

**If you ever wanted blow-by-blow videos of the ENTIRE trip, get hold of Loyiso Givens - there is absolutely nothing the man did not video record. No joke ;)

- written by Megamidas

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