Festive December & German songs

It’s hard to believe that it’s December already! And yet here we are…Soon we’ll be looking back on 2016 in which the world seems to have turned upside down in many ways. For now I’m focusing on the very busy December month.

At the beginning of the week we had our Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) celebration here, although now the kids are big, we don’t celebrate that so much anymore, some very small gifts aside. Traditionally you get a chocolate initial for Sinterklaas (I had my fave: milk chocolate with nuts) and I got my little Audrey Hepburn booklet…

sinterklaas-gifts

Now the second weekend in December is here and this weekend two college friends of ours and my husband and I (we were college sweethearts) are off to a Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkt) in Germany! We do this every year, have done so for about 20 years now, I think. The kids go to my mum’s for the weekend, our one friend’s husband has a whole weekend of daddy duty, our other friend is single so it’s quite easy for her to get away and the 4 of us are off! This afternoon we drive up to the north of the Netherlands and stay overnight in the small family cottage my parents have there. Then on Saturday we drive on to the German town of Bremen (known for the fairytale of the Bremer Stadtmusikanten, the Town Musicians of Bremen), which is a little over 2 hours away from the cottage. I’ve not been to Bremen before, the town is supposed to look something like this with the Christmas market:

bremenbremen2

We don’t really buy much at these markets, it’s all about doing this together as friends and having fun. My husband, as the only man, gets picked on by three ladies and somehow seems to enjoy it!

Part of the fun is listening to Christmas cd’s in the car and a few years ago I introduced a cd with older German pop songs into the mix as well. My husband’s German is alright, our friends’ German is far from great, so to get them into a German mood we listen to German pop songs that have nothing to do with Christmas! Some of these are really kitsch but sooooo much fun and we sing along to them with some of them getting the top-of-our-lungs treatment! The other day my friends asked me to bring the German cd again but as it is scratched I had to make a new one. So, I spent yesterday evening updating the cd, throwing a few songs off and adding a few others before burning a new one.

The song my husband hates most on that cd (but that we ladies love yelling along to) is this one:

Last night, while burning the cd, I added another song that is more than kitschy. There’s some catchiness to it, but it’s so soppy as well! My husband was horrified when he heard but I think the girls will get a kick out of this one to yell along to as well, as will I. It’s just so overly dramatic…

I’ve also included one of the most famous German popsongs outside Germany, which I still love… I could never get used to the English version of that song, here is the original German song.

I also have the lovely, yearning ‘Über den Wolken’ on it. I tell you, this is one of the few songs on this cd that can make me cry… The one on my cd is a little more poppy, but this following version is simple, beautiful and live:

I have Herbert Grönemeyer’s Männer on the cd as well. Someone once made a Lord of the Rings fanvideo set to that song, which I think is brilliant. The lyrics fit the images so well!

I also have Nina Hagen on that cd with a song I love…

And BAP, singing in Kölsch (dialect spoken around the city of Cologne). I don’t understand every word, but most of it and the message is clear. They sing about hatred against foreigners and compare it to the “Kristallnacht” (The Night of Broken Glass) in 1938 when Nazi’s burned down Jewish synagogues and businesses, trashed windows and burned books. The song, although made in the early 80s, still feels extremely topical today!

And Falco is on it too. I think ‘Rock me Amadeus’ was an international hit for him. I have that on the cd but also the very controversial Jeanny about a girl who is abducted and killed, the song being told from the viewpoint of the killer. Very stalkerish creepy but somehow good!

There is also ‘Da da da’ which is basically about nothing – fun youth nostalgia for me!

I have some  space-themed songs, like ‘Sternenhimmel’ or ‘Major Tom’ or ‘Codo (Düse im Sauseschritt)’ on the cd. This last song is about about love trumping hate and my one brother used to be very good at imitating that deep voice saying “Ich bin her Hass!” (I am hatred). 🙂

And another song I really love is called “Scheiße”, which is also on it…

I can’t end a Christmas post on ‘Scheiße’ now, can I? Better end with a message of peace, that alas, the world still doesn’t seem to embrace. So here is Nicole’s “Ein bisschen Frieden”, which is also on my cd. She won the Eurovision songcontest with that song in 1981 when I was 11, the first year I was living in Germany. This is another song my husband only tolerates but for me it’s nostalgia. 🙂 During the Eurovision competition she sang in German but after she won she performed the song again and she did so in 4 languages: German, English, French and Dutch. Here is that multi-lingual version…

There are more songs on the cd, 21 in total and we have fun listening (and singing along) to all of them. Yes, I know, these songs are not very Christmassy but they are perfect for preparing for a day in Germany! I’m already looking forward to our car ride to Germany tomorrow!

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20 thoughts on “Festive December & German songs

  1. I wish you a wonderful weekend with lots of fun, music and laughter!
    Oh and by the way: great German music selection! *giggle*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohhhhhhh!!!!! Esther!!!!!! I totally tuned out after your description of this year’s Christmas market destination because you are going to my home town!!!! So I am mightily envious that you get to go to my beloved home town. (I am not able to go to Germany for Christmas this year.) Bremen is not particularly big, but I think it is a really nice place. Thanks to its status as a major Hanseatic city, it has always been “weltoffen” and interesting. THe Christmas market really does look like the photos. Since it is on the central square, you should also explore the “Böttcherstraße” which leads from the square down towards the river Weser (it has some interesting architecture, a gallery with the beautiful art by local painter Paula Becker-Modersohn, a “Glockenspiel” which chimes at 12 and 3pm, and a few really nice shops). Also check out the old fishermen’s quarter, the so called “Schnoor” with its tiny, cute houses. (Just 5 minutes from the square). Usually around Christmas time, they open up the “Untere Rathaushalle” for an artisan craft exhibition. You should definitely go in there, too. The sculpture of the Bremer Stadtmusikanten is just a few steps away from the entrance into the Rathaus, on a side square called “Liebfrauenkirchhof”. Also, do check out the Dom – it is quite plain, but large and impressive. And it has a crypt with the mummified remains of some unfortunate workers who fell from the steeple as it was being built, and were preserved due to the high concentration of lead in the air in the crypt.
    Is it just a day trip or are you staying overnight? I hope you have a great time there! If you have any questions – I am happy to help 🙂

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    • Aw, thanks so much for the tips! How very cool that I will be in your home town. 😊 We will only be there for the day so not sure how much we will actually get around to, but I’m certainly taking this as reference with me! I’ll be thinking of you. 😊

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      • hehe, nice. I really, really hope you will like it. The central square is what we call “Bremens gute Stube” (Bremen’s good/formal sitting room) – the renaissance town hall and the “Schütting” across from it, are reminders of the rich and successful past of this town. They are both very impressive.

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        • We really did like it! So much so that my husband and I want to return sometime when it’s a little less crowded with Christmas market stalls and people. 🙂 We absolutely adored the small Böttcherstrasse street you had mentioned (would probably have missed it if it hadn’t been for you!). We didn’t get around to the Schnoor part or go inside the Dom. Something still left to do for our next time there! In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘I’ll be back’!

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          • Oh, that’s wonderful news, Esther. So glad you enjoyed and liked Bremen. I have to admit, much of it may not be quite as pretty as the central square (heavily bombed in the war), but there is a nice vibe to the place. I am glad that I was able to point you to Böttcherstraße – it really is so worth seeing. A small lane, only, but lots of things in there. And Dom and Schnoor will still be there when/if you return. Crossing the fingers that it will be a nice summer day – which makes it look really nice… xx

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  3. Think of me while you’re on the Böttcherstr. 🙂

    My gosh, that music collection. Do your friends ever experience the temptation to throw the CD out of the car? 🙂 (just kidding, I know how certain music can become cult while among friends.)

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    • LOL! OK, I will think of you while I’m there!
      Honestly, I think my husband is the one liable to throw the rest of us out of the car! 😂 But we’re such great company while having fun with that cd, no one would ever seriously consider harrassing it. We may skip a song or two, however… 😉
      I’m on my phone now and can’t click on the YouTube link you sent, so will do so when I’m back on my laptop on Sunday.

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    • Ok, in a different view the link does work after all. I remember this song but had totally forgotten about it! Don’t think I’ve ever seen the clip before. Good driving song! Another good suggestion for a second cd, methinks. 😁
      So, this song has special meaning to you or friends of yours?

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      • It sprang to mind in context with “Ich find’ Dich Scheiße” (a song I love. I mean, who writes a song that essentially means “you suck!”?). And yeah, seemed appropriate for a road trip. I didn’t hear the NDW songs in the 80s but exSO made sure I had a good cultural literacy lesson 🙂

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        • Ich find Dich Scheiße is absolutely brilliant! My kids love it too.
          NDW was HUGE while I lived there as a teen, I have given my husband the same lesson your exSO gave you at the time, I think. 😊

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  4. Was denken Sie uber, das Lied Kraftwerk “Autobahn” hinzufugen und ihn immer wieder, im Bus, horen! Ich danke Ihnen, ich bin wieder jung in 1976 in Osnabruck und Bremen. 99 Luftballons, Uber den Volken, Da, da, da… diese Lieder vervolgen mich immer noch. 🙂

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  5. Whether he needed it or not? LOL. ExSO told me at some point after a party where I couldn’t figure out what anyone was talking about that I’d have to take a few days and listen to it all or condemn myself to feeling left out — so we did it. Worse ways to spend a few weekends, and it did make the radio more intelligible.

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  6. Allow me to recommend “Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht”- pretty sure your hubby will hate it 🙂 I love it haha! Hope you enjoyed Bremen – I had a great time there! Really pretty city and totally walkable – I’m sure the Xmas market there was gorgeous!

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  7. Ohh, full nosatlgia here! So many musical memories of childhood, and such fun!! Good to bring these out once a year, glad you enjoyed it trip,sounds perfect to me :-)))

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