Recently, I woke up one morning thinking about a jumble of unrelated dreams and realities. I do not know specifically from where a focus on Germany came. I have been to Germany twice, once for a conference and the second time to participate in a theatre production. I was in Munich for over two weeks and had a number of memorable experiences. Once, as I stumbled around trying to find an out-of-the-way site, an elderly man approached me. He asked could he help me, as he saw I looked lost. I thanked him and was directed on how to find the place I was seeking.
That was years ago, well before Katrina, but I have never forgotten the situation. I had been influenced by American culture to think of Germans in terms of Hitler and as promoters of white supremacy. Fortunately, I’ve successfully worked through my issues with pre-judging individual people based on group stereotypes.
One of my most enjoyable German experiences was musical encounters with Afro-German recordings. Of that cohort of musicians, Joy Denalane is my favorite. Her father is from Soweto, South Africa, her mother is from Berlin, Germany. She is a singer who does both soul music and German music, singing in German and English. I used to get a kick out of introducing her recordings to friends.
Here is a radio broadcast, Jazz Open Stuttgart July 27, 2006, shortly after Born And Raised, her third major label release. She’s not only deep into the music, Joy also relates her life story in this concert. Enjoy.