Updated: 15 October 2019
I was lucky enough to spend the second year of my Master’s studying āGlobal Studiesā 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 wasnāt 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 centreā¦ Ā 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.
Itās a bit embarrassing to mention, but in very hilly Wellington, New Zealand, itās not a given to ride a bicycle. I hadnāt ridden one in 15 years. Iāll never forget the first time I wobbled down the footpathā¦ 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 thatās 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 thatās 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, itās great to be back.
Iād never have guessed back then, that six years later Iād be returning to beloved Leipzig – guitar in hand – for a show at Horns Erben.
Come join me for a night of original jazzy folk-funk. If youāre looking for a stylistic reference, imagine something between Ani Di Franco, Fiona Apple and Sophie Hunger. If you donāt know who they are… get googling. And while youāre at it, you can check out my latest album.
Two years ago at Horns Erben, my band and I introduced a single very important to me, called āTui Sings Blue.ā 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 itās torn between worlds, and yet always able to fit in.
Itās a bit like that with touring. I can always appreciate the new and interesting ā but thereās something about coming home. And thereās something about a home away from home! Leipzig, my uni home, ich freu mich sehr!
By Teresa Bergman