Saturday, November 18, 2023



A German-German Krautrock Fairy Tale

The year is 1975.
In the slipstream of the X. Weltfestspiele of the GDR 1973 in East Berlin, a group of beat and rock enthusiasts, consisting of members of the FDJ youth organization "Tanz- und Unterhaltungsmusik" (Dance and Light Music) and people from the environment of the GDR music magazine "Melodie & Rhytmus" (Melody & Rhythm), succeeded in convincing leading functionaries of the Committee for Entertainment Arts of the Ministry of Culture of the GDR of the idea of inviting West German rock musicians to the GDR for a joint music project.
The official (or maybe pretended) goal of the project was to create "a new socialist soundtrack for the new decade."

Under the slogan "offensive through cooperation," the project could also be made palatable to the cadres of the various cultural institutions. The GDR leadership and its cultural functionaries hoped that the ambitious project would enhance their image and add a touch of internationality.

The aim was to "promote the friendly legacy of youth dance music of both German states" and, at the same time, to polish up the restrictive image regarding the handling of youth music culture in the GDR.

In the spring of 1975, the time had come: in the course of the "FDJ Werkstattwochen '75“, several minibuses with twenty-three musicians from the West German Krautrock scene on board crossed the GDR border fortifications toward the East.

The forward-looking project, christened "Deutschlandtreffen 75 - East meets West," began enthusiastically.

But the joy did not last long.

The West German musician colleagues had not only brought their instruments in their luggage, but also "unsocialist" ideas, a rather loose view of morals and authority, as well as a not inconsiderable amount of suspicious herbs.

Therefore, the relationship between the state institutions and the German-German bands quickly cooled down to Baltic Sea temperatures. In the fall of the same year, the long-haired guests were clandestinely disposed of back across the inner-German border.

So what remained of the short summer of herbaceous international understanding?

A few blurred black-and-white photos, a few newspaper clippings, and a tape with a dozen pieces of music - which was soon buried in the archives of the State Security.


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