Various Artists

hallo 22: DDR Funk & Soul von 1971-1981

Sony Music • 2022

Considering it’s the German word for »radio«, the word »Funk« is more likely to have reminded the comrades in the GDR of exactly that rather than black music  But the fact that socialist Germany was far more receptive to music and pop culture from the other side of the Berlin Wall than the other way around is quickly made clear on »hello 22:  DDR Funk & Soul from 1971-1981«.  Songs like »Aus und vorbei« by Panta Rhei or »Über Feuer« by Electra are unmistakably influenced by American funk and soul, with their compelling grooves, euphoric string arrangements and soulful vocals – albeit with German lyrics.  Felix »Dexter« Göppel, who put »hallo 22« together with the musician Max Herre, even commented: »In my opinion, the East Germans copied the soul, funk and jazz from the Americans better than the West Germans.« At the same time, peculiarities can also be identified, such as a penchant for prog rock, classical music and jazz. This sound is there to be rediscovered on »hallo 22« – 50 years after the tie-in »Hallo Nr. 1« was released in 1972 on the state label Amiga.  The lyrics may revolve around love, but the view from the other side certainly tells of other circumstances, be it the melancholic perspective on Schönhauser Allee in Berlin that Veronika Fischer threw into the song »Schönhauser« in 1977, or the ode to civil rights activist Angela Davis, whom Uve Schikora celebrates as a »symbol for tomorrow« on »Oh Angela«.  A simply mind-blowing lesson in history!