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John's Impressions: A final taping & "Alternative rap"

Thursday, November 01, 2007 - 10:09 AM

It would've been nice to have recorded this week's shows in the order they were to be broadcast, but given people's schedules, that was never going to happen. So our last day in Berlin saw us recording -- strangely enough -- the opening segment of our Soundcheck On Site: Berlin series, as well as its actual conclusion.

Musician Alec Empire and journalist Birgit HerdlitschkeOur segment asking whether Berlin is really as hot as everyone seems to think elicited two replies - Absolutely Yes, and Yeah I Think So. Given the almost unnatural amount of hype surrounding this city and the recent descent of some of Hollywood's biggest stars to Berlin, we expected our journalist and our well-traveled DJ to suggest that maybe the scene had already peaked, but it does seem like there is something in the air here. (And it ain't the sun.) Above Right: Musician Alec Empire and journalist Birgit Herdlitschke with John Schaefer.

The segment was recorded in a bar/restaurant, which gave us a nice sense of ambiance, but the bartender in charge today was not the one who had okayed the recording last week, and he was quite miffed at losing his biggest table at lunchtime to a bunch of people who, though drinking, were not ordering much food and instead were jabbering in English. But it was nothing an enormous tip (even by American standards) couldn't fix.

Later in the day, after a good Turkish dinner, Gisele (who must've been the Activities Director on a cruise ship in a previous life) decides we should go to a club, which would be fine if we knew who was playing where. But she only has a few names and addresses of clubs, one of which is in the general vicinity. Turns out to be a lengthy walk, and the troops are complaining mightily, but Gisele will not be dissuaded and eventually, we find ourselves descending to the basement of a restaurant where a dozen people have gathered to hear Rudio play 'alternative rap.' Rudio and his sidekick appear in goofy clown/pirate/SpongeBob SquarePants regalia, and kick of what in fact turns out to be an inventive set of fun if disposable songs in a kind of rap/punk mix. We stay for the whole set, and I might've wanted to stay longer but it's getting late, and frankly, the beer is disappointing. So it's back on Berlin's superb subways for a final time to get back to the hotel. -- John Schaefer

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Comments [1]

Jeff Rosenberg

Dear Soundcheck,
Many thanks for a very personal and informative set of sketches about the fantastic city of Berlin.

Did you forget to mention that Berlin has its very own NPR member station? NPR FM Berlin is at 104,1 on the FM dial and broadcasts a wide assortment of programming from the US public radio mix.

I hope you'll contact me about possibly airing some of your Berlin-based work for the Berlin audience.

All the best,
Jeff Rosenberg
NPR Worldwide
Washington

Nov. 01 2007 10:24 AM

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