The society “321-2021: 1700 Years of Jewish Life in Germany” promotes the production of songs to highlight Jewish life in Germany and engage the broader community. The goal is to make more Jewish voices heard and to advance the diversity of perspectives in German society. “To us, music is a mediator to help us reach many people and open up Jewish life for them,” says the society’s executive managing director Andrei Kovacs. He especially would like to reach young people. “I hope that, for young people, it will be normal someday to be both Jewish and German or to have German-Jewish friends.”
Shantel – Kids of the Diaspora
His music combines elements of Klezmer and Balkan beats. When the television channel Das Erste broadcast the opening ceremony of “1700 Years of Jewish Life in Germany” on 21 February, the audience was treated to a new song by Frankfurt musician Shantel. Born Stefan Hantel, Shantel was asked by our society to compose a piece for the Year of Celebration. “Kids of the Diaspora”, a track featuring an international group of artists, combines elements of Jewish and Southeast European musical traditions with the message: Cultures flow together, merge, and something new arises. Shantel, who traces his roots to Bukovina in modern-day Ukraine, states that he is the first German musician to produce a music video in Israel; he has been performing in Israel regularly since the 1990s.
ODBLU – Each Day
“Each Day” is the result of a cooperation between the society “321-2021: 1700 Jahre jüdisches Leben in Deutschland e.V.” and the musical artist known as ODBLU. The song came about through intense discussions between Andrei Kovacs, the society’s executive managing director, and singer/songwriter Oliver Wimmer aka ODBLU on the topic of 1700 years of Jewish life. As a result of their exchange, Andrei Kovacs gave the artist maximum musical and lyrical freedom to explore the topic. The result is a catchy pop song with contemplative lyrics that involve the singer asking himself how he would have acted at the beginning of the 20th century in the face of rising antisemitism that ended in the greatest crime in the history of humankind, the Shoah. Would he have acted upon the courage of his own convictions or simply followed the crowd? And how about today?
Ben Salomo – Deduschka
After the attempted mass murder of Jews on 9 October 2019 in Halle/Saale where two people lost their lives, Jews all over Germany were repeatedly asked how they were faring today. In “Deduschka” (English: grandfather), Ben Salomo gives one response among many from the Jewish community. In the song, which was released on the anniversary of the attack, the artist raps about the loss of trust and the dilemma of being home where one no longer feels safe: “Deduschka, you trusted them, but your trust was taken from me. And despite everything, I am home here, have been for seventeen hundred years, can you believe it?” At the same time, he speaks of the hope that his own grandchildren might be free of these fears and worries: “And if my own grandkids ask me one day, Sabale (grandpa), how was it in the days of your childhood? Then I hope to tell them, they no need no longer worry!”