I was lucky enough to spend the second year of my Master’s studying “Global Studies” at Leipzig Uni. At the time, as a New Zealander in Europe for the first time, pretty much anywhere with historical buildings qualified as exciting.
But it wasn’t the quaint central square or the historical significance of the city that charmed me. It was its quiet and unassuming liveliness – that irrepressible vibe of a thriving student body in a simple place without many frills.
My flat in Plagwitz was a dream. Directly next to Volkspark Kleinzschocher. I could literally ride my bike through green parks all the way to the library in the city centre… or disappear off the other way to Cospudener See.
In fact, I will always be grateful to Leipzig for being the city that taught me how to ride a bike.
It’s a bit embarrassing to mention, but in very hilly Wellington, New Zealand, it’s not a given to ride a bicycle. I hadn’t ridden one in 15 years. I’ll never forget the first time I wobbled down the footpath… with a look of impeding doom on my face.
It felt so outrageously rebellious to not be wearing a helmet! Three months later, as I zoomed through Clara Zetkin Park, I even dared to let go of the handlebars completely.
This may seem like the smallest of achievements, but for me that’s somehow what Leipzig was about. Achieving newfound self-definition and freedom within humble parameters.
My only regret, if any, was that I saw more of the uni library than anything else in the city. Perhaps that’s why the bike ride to and fro was so exhilarating?! A Master thesis will do that to you.
Once I finished up studying, I decided to completely dedicate myself to playing music, always my true passion. After a move to Berlin, two albums, and hundreds of concerts all over Europe later, it’s great to be back.
I’d never have guessed back then, that six years later I’d be returning to beloved Leipzig – guitar in hand – for a show at Horns Erben.
Come join my amazing band and me for a night of original jazzy folk-funk on Friday, 31 March. If you’re looking for a stylistic reference, imagine something between Ani Di Franco, Fiona Apple and Sophie Hunger. If you don’t know who they are… get googling. And while you’re at it, you can check out my music.
My drummer, bass player, pianist and I have a gorgeous show planned for you all and a new single too. The song is called “Tui Sings Blue.” It’s being released online today, so you can get a sneak peek.
The Tui is an indigenous bird from New Zealand with two sets of vocal chords. It can either sing with its natural voice or mimic the sounds it hears around it. Somehow it’s torn between worlds, and yet always able to fit in.
It’s a bit like that with touring. I can always appreciate the new and interesting – but there’s something about coming home. And there’s something about a home away from home! Leipzig, my uni home, ich freu mich sehr!
By Teresa Bergman
Teresa Bergman Quartett
Featured photo © Tim Rochels