Elke Brauweiler

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Berlin - Pop / Electro ...

 It’s highly likely that you already have Elke Brauweiler somewhere amongst your CDs if you have been interested in German pop music, be it with English or German lyrics, for a number of years.
So far, one would probably have associated Elke’s voice with the band she has been a member of for several years: PAULA. With PAULA she released four successful albums, but always sang and played with various other bands and projects from time to time. First and foremost, there was Commercial Breakup who she successfully toured the clubs with, not only because of her crystal-clear voice but also the catchy pop pearls she composed.
Furthermore, Elke has accompanied Jasmin Wagner on vocals, sung a duet with Bernd Begemann, and likewise with Bosse. She has set poems by Else Lasker Schüler to music, contributed on a Hildegard Knef compilation that was released by Tapete and Viktoriapark enriched their records with Elke on the viola.
So, one wouldn’t be making assumptions, if one said that Elke Brauweiler’s mother tongue is, actually, music and that indie, electro, rock and pop are just some dialects that she picked up along the way, depending on her interests at any given point in time. The fact that she also has Francophile tendencies was already documented with PAULA and what follows now is the logical continuation of this secret but obvious passion: "Twist à Saint Tropez", an album with French lyrics of the same name.
Perhaps this is also a way of returning to possible beginning, since the very fresh electronic tunes with their very strong dose of 80’s sounds are also reminiscent of the first PAULA songs, although the new tracks such as "Laisse tomber les filles", the upcoming second single from the album, "Banana Split", "Les Champs-Elysées" and, above all, Stephanie of Monaco's "Ouragan", include even more of these elements.
Since Elke not only learnt French from a very early age, lived in Paris for a long time and has relatives in France, but has also written many songs in French in addition to her music activities in German and English, this record seemed just a question of time. The initial aim, however, was not to record her own compositions, but to give the listener an impression of what our neighbours have been doing in the world of pop for the last forty years.
The result is that France Gall, Mylene Farmer, Brigitte Bardot, Lio, Jacques Dutronc, Joe Dassin, Telex, Francoise Hardy, Vanessa Paradis, above-mentioned Stephanie von Monaco and, of course, the inevitable Serge Gainsbourg, have all become neighbours now.
Sometimes this sounds more acoustic, such as on "La maison ou j’ai grandi" or the wonderfully serene "Joe le taxi", at times like early Depeche Mode ("Allan", one of Elke’s favourite songs), but then again, on "Les cactus", almost what Sonic Youth would sound like if they could come across as a proper band, or plain like a song with a hit license: "Laisse tomber les filles".
You quickly notice that "Twist à Saint Tropez" is not a cunning rehash of old hits, but accommodates a number of more obscure songs which, despite all the reminiscence and, to top it all, have been produced with a modern sound. Though what is very sad is that one of the producers responsible for this fresh and timeless collection has meanwhile passed away and could not see the result of his work. Gregor Dietz, one half of the Duo Surf, musician, composer and producer died in May 2005 at the age of 36.
Besides Dietz, the producers of "Twist à Saint Tropez" include his friend Keen K, Benjamin Schlez, the guitarist from Paula and person responsible for "Joe le taxi" on this album, and co-founder of Paula, Berend Intelmann. Moreover, one should not fail to mention that Echo award-winner Patrik Majer himself (Rosenstolz, Wir sind Helden) did the mixing on "Les cactus" and "Laisse tomber les filles", thus perfectly rounding off the album.
So let us be glad that we can now actually touch the result of this fabulous collaboration, even though the recordings were already made a little while back. Elke’s French cover version of the old Spanish hit "Porque te vas", now called "Pourquoi tu vis", was chosen as the title song for the film "Französisch für Anfänger" (French For Beginners) which hit the cinemas in June. The latter is also the first single from the album "Twist à Saint Tropez" and fits in perfectly with her other new pop highlights.
High time to make room for more Elke Brauweiler in your music collection!

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