Wolf Biermann

Der Friedensclown

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Der Friedensclown (The Peace Clown) is Wolf Biermann's one and only CD for children. As with his debut album, Chausseestraße 131, he had secretly taped the songs in his apartment shortly before he was expelled from the GDR, and the album was released in 1977 by CBS, his new record company in the West. As with some of Biermann's home-taped GDR material, the sound quality isn't quite good, and the record company never bothered to record the songs properly after he was in the West; they just released the home demos "as is."

The record is divided into a "loud side" and a "soft side." The loud side is actually a boisterous session with a couple of kids occasionally interrupting Biermann during his performance, but he doesn't mind that. To the listener who wants to get to the point of the stories, this might be a bit off-putting, but since this is a record for children, Biermann allowed them to participate in the fun, and it is actually hilarious to hear the kids making funny suggestions for the progress of the story or throwing in cheeky comments.

On the soft side, Biermann performs some traditional German children's' songs, as well as some of his own compositions. There are some enthralling moments, as in "Rätsel-Lied" (Riddle Song) which he sings together with his wife, Tine Biermann. For fans of Nina Hagen, it might be interesting to know that she sings on some tracks -- this is quite unusual material for her, from the period before she was catapulted to fame as a rock singer.

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