Friday night, 29 April, at Werk 2 was dedicated to Ukraine and its people. A committed group of individuals from Leipzig’s cultural scene teamed up to form “Leipzig for Ukraine (LE4UA)”. It is an initiative seeking to raise funds to support the people of Ukraine with a live music charity concert. The musical line-up of the evening was exceptionally diverse: from hip-hop to rock, to German pop-ballads and Eastern European Klezmer. All in all, an exceptional evening of live music for a good cause.
A diverse line-up
Leipzig local, Sidique, started off the evening with superb hip-hop beats. The musician and actor normally performs with his funk and hip-hop band, Schwarzkaffee. But for this event, Sidique took to the stage solo. Part of his set consisted of unreleased songs. One, in particular, he wrote to encourage his teenage daughter. With his highly political lyrics, Sidique set the mood for a great evening.
The second act for the night was The Hungover. They describe their music as “A musical fall down a flight of stairs with a voice like chocolate melted in an ashtray. Lyrics that lash like the tongue of a whip.” Frontman and singer, Matthew Hendershot, impressed with his unique, raspy voice, and the whole band teemed with rock ’n roll energy. Paul Preisendörfer, the drummer, also charmingly hosted the evening, announcing raffle winners in between the live acts.
Sebastian Krumbiegel takes the stage.
Third in the line-up was none other than Sebastian Krumbiegel, member of the famous German group, Die Prinzen. Krumbiegel performed solo as well. His songs were handpicked for the evening, selections that spoke to our current political climate, locally as well as globally. “Die Demokratie ist weiblich”, “Die Welt ist unbezahlbar” and “Mein rechter, rechter Platz” were just three of the songs that Krumbiegel played during his set. Solidarity with Ukraine stood at the center of his performance as well as a strong wish for peace. When the audience asked for an encore, Krumbiegel played two more songs, paying homage to his idols, Udo Lindenberg and Rio Reiser.
The atmosphere at the concert was complex. How could we celebrate and dance knowing that the people this concert was dedicated to were struggling in a war zone?
Here’s where the last live act of the evening proved indispensable. The Batiar Gang is a Balkan-Klezmer band from Leipzig. They like to spice up their music with elements of trancehall or cumbia. In addition, they have traveled to Ukraine, and know the country’s people and their music. “Batiar” is a term used for a certain sub-culture of people living in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. It refers to a financially challenged, but honest, funny, and generous city person with exquisite manners and style. Some call the Batiary Lviv’s old-time hipsters.
Thus, the last performance of the evening became a celebration of Ukrainian music and culture. This really got the crowd dancing. Although their lead singer wasn’t available for the evening, the gang delivered pure joie de vivre. For their last song, the band left the stage and joined the audience on the floor.
More than just a live music concert
The evening offered more than just live music. There were two DJs – Intruder Green and Danse Danza – who played before and after the bands. Since the evening’s goal, besides enjoying local artists’ live music, was to raise funds to support the Ukrainian people, the organizers invited several initiatives. ILGA-Europe, Kontaktstelle Wohnen Leipzig, Refugee Law Clinic Leipzig, and Ärzte der Welt. There was a raffle with prizes ranging from records or books by the artists, to locally brewed alcohol and vouchers for Krystallpalast Varieté. All profits will be donated to the above-mentioned initiatives. Even if, or perhaps especially if, you weren’t able to join the concert, please support these indispensable initiatives.
Info and donations: info@LeipzigforUkraine.de
Leipzig for Ukraine is supported by: