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World Music CD Reviews Europe

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By TOM PRYOR
Published January 25, 2006

TRAVELLIN’ COMPANION 3: A MUSICAL JOURNEY TO GERMANY
WeltWunder

If your idea of German music doesn’t extend beyond brass bands in lederhosen, jaded Berlin cabaret singers or Heino, then this record may be a rude awakening for you. From Germany’s wonderfully quirky WeltWunder label comes this equally eclectic snapshot of contemporary German roots music. Reflecting modern Germany’s increasing diversity, the collection is full of the expected klezmer, waltzes and polkas, as well as all sorts of pan-ethnic crankery, including a tango from BandoionFreunde Essen. But what really makes this release such a pleasure are such tracks as “Ganz leicht” by Element of Crime and “Gelb zwo drei” by 17 Hippies. These two Berlin-based bands, the former a grassroots anarcho-folk-punk outfit and the other a slicker commercial rock concern, both manage to mine their hometown’s Brechtian heritage while easily assimilating all the foreign sounds that have come to town since then. Overall, this is one of the most eye-opening collections to come out of Germany in a long time.