For Christmas 1968, my
younger sister got a benefit-sampler-recording with german hits of the
year. There have been also some more selective titles by Alexandra and
Hildegard Knef. But then there was this track with the title
"Göttingen" sung by a french lady with the name "Barbara". We were
moved by the lyrics, her voice and her style to articulate german language.
She came to us like a friendly ambassador, singing of roses, and
singing in our language. Only this track of the LP we've been
listening again and again with shiny eyes. The words have been
important, but Barbara reached us with the beauty in her expression.
The weekly money was short and so I was
looking for LPs in second-hand-stores. One day I was so surprised to
see an LP of our Barbara "Barbara singt Barbara - for the first time
in german language", the only time ever I saw copy of this recording.
I brought it home like a very special treasure. And I discovered my
new favourite chansons. There was the melancholy in "Die Einsamkeit"
(La Solitude) and the sence of humor in "Paris im August" (Paris 15
août), but always this special feeling in the music. In the lyrics I
saw the disposition to overcome the described tragedies or finding a
way to arrange oneself with it.. On the back-cover there was a
fascinating picture of her, and also a text by the german jounalist Georg Stefan Troller,
someway funny, but mysterious, but with sympathy.
(It should take a long time for me to find out, that this was only
the introduction to a much longer text -
read more ...
- also much later I should get to know, that Barbara had recorded this
album in 1967 here in my hometown Hamburg.)
From now on this LP was my very personal piece of consolation.
At school I visited
the scientific branch and had to learn Latin as second foreign
language. But my sister learned French and with the time Barbaras
records ("L'aigle noir"," La fleur d'amour"," Amours incestueuses")
came into our house. I've tried to translate the lyrics using the
dictionary, well, I understood a little, there was more an impression,
a feeling of understanding. But I had my love for Barbara already and
she remained being my familiar ambassador.
When the CD-Player
replaced the vinyl-record player, my first CDs were "Première Partie"
and "Deuxième Partie" - compilations of live-recordings. Barbara had a
special position in my listening habits. There were phases again and
again, when I listened to Barbara for days or weeks exclusively. These
phases were established now over the years and were celebrated again
and again in particular moments. Then I'm mostly on a retreat from the
outer world and close by myself. In these periods own feelings are
scrutinized, maybe there has something to change, when I want to be
alone for while, just by myself. I am very emotional and vulnerable in
these phases. All this goes for a while and finds its conclusion, when
I'm prepared to take my place again outside there in the jungle of
Since 1990, I got involved in ACT UP
(Aids Coalition To Unleash power), a world-wide movement,
fighting against the discrimination of people living with HIV and
Aids. On December 1st, the World-Aids-Day, I was watching a special
evening program for this day on arte-TV, which was introduced by
Barbaras chanson "Sid'amour à mort", in which she describes the
disease as an attack on love. I was overwhelmed: here again a
meeting with Barbara. It was the first time for me having the chance
to hear this chanson. Only much later I should find out, that Barbara
was also involved in the fight against the Aids-crisis. She donated
the profits of "Sid'amour à mort" to ACT UP Paris.
The internet was not
accessible for everybody at that time and I didn't have any on-line
connection. So, I had only few information about Barbara until then.
But I was looking for her CDs wherever I was. The Châtelet-CDs of 1987
I found in 1992 in two different stores in New York as in each case as
single copy from Barbara's repertoire. And here in Hamburg when I was
just passing a bookshop to buy a newspaper on my way, I found a nice
postcard of Barbara by chance. With the time I was able to find the
latest CDs in selected stores here in Hamburg: the 13-CD-Box of 1992,
the Mogador-Concert of 1990 and finally the recording at Châtelet of
Then there came this
sad day in November 1997 when I read the feuillton of "Hamburger
Abendblatt", our local newspaper, a note entitled "Barbara became
silent". I was shocked, didn't want to believe the information. I was
watching the television news on cable channel TV5, I didn't understand
much, but the gloomily bordered picture and the words, as far as I
understood, confirmed the sad message. On November 27, receptions of
the mourning community were shown on the graveyard at Bagneux. Gerard
Depardieu and Annie Girardot were interviewed. I was so far away, with
my mourning alone.
Meanwhile, I had a personal homepage at GeoCities and so I wrote a
short "Hommage à Barbara" on a special page in January 1998. It didn't
last long and to my surprise I received numerous e-mails of Barbara
fans from allover the world. There were growing friendships and
I became aware of further web-sites about Barbara. And now I
experienced more and more about Barbara by watching documentary films
on arte-TV. But I had understood her already well for so long,
whenever the more by the music and the feeling.
So, I was encouraged to develop my Hommage furtheron. I would
like to go on to take part in holding Barbara's work and
commemorations in honors - for her old and in the meantime also many
Barbara has accompanied me and my feelings with her wonderful chansons
over so many years, and I'm grateful for this forever. And so I say: