Music & clubs

Canon contenders

Who deserves to be part of the cultural pantheon, the ultimate hall of fame? This month Berlin gets to experience five female musicians well on their way to making history.

Image for Canon contenders

Who deserves to be part of the cultural pantheon, the ultimate hall of fame? This month Berlin gets to experience five female musicians well on their way to making history.

As a reaction to yet another male-dominated Bildungskanon, published by German newspaper Die Zeit mid-August, Swiss-German writer Sibylle Berg and 10 other women took it upon themselves to release #diekanon; an exclusively female list of movers and shakers who have left their mark on science, politics, philosophy, literature and art. To represent groundbreaking achievements in music, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Cher, Courtney Love, Madonna, Missy Elliot, Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Yoko Ono and a few others made the cut. This fairly contemporary lineup of musicians begs the question: who might be nominated next? Let’s take a look at this month’s concert calendar to see if we can spot some up-and-coming Kanon material.

First up is Sneaks from Washington, DC. Equipped with merely a bass, a drum machine and her voice, Eva Moolchan, the woman behind the moniker, appeared on screen with her self-titled debut cassette release in 2014, boasting exquisite no-frills post-punk (another one of those male-dominated arenas). It’s a little too soon to talk canonisation here, but all signs point to a promising career. With her latest album It’s a Myth, she’ll take the stage in Berlin for the first and most definitely not the last time.

Christine and the Queens (photo) has been paying visits to the German capital for a few years now. Despite her almost decade-long career, however, she’s been slow on the album release front with her debut Chaleur humaine dating back to 2014. In between, she mostly relied on EPs bridging the gap to the second album. The 1990s G-Funk-tinged, Michael Jackson-referencing single “Girlfriend”, might be aimed at a more mainstream audience. But overall she keeps on challenging gender stereotypes throughout her new album Chris, which she’ll present to Berlin audiences at Columbiahalle this October. She must for sure be on the radar of the #diekanon jury already!

Next in line is artist and musician Jonna Lee, who caught everyone’s attention under the guise of iamamiwhoami with a 2010 PR campaign that had people thinking of either Christina Aguilera or Lady Gaga. With trap-y synthscapes and vocals reminiscent of Celine Dion on acid, she now explores new territories as Ionnalee. Her album Everyone Afraid to Be Forgotten was released in February this year. Partly thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, you can see her extravagant (and clearly expensively designed) show at Berghain.

Stage-performance wise, Laura Veirs represents the polar opposite of Ionnalee. Her folk-y country tunes, which she has been releasing on 10 albums in the course of two decades, require a more minimalist and calm backdrop. At Bi Nuu, she’ll play songs off her latest album The Lookout.

The most famous and most likely future canon contender gracing a Berlin stage this month is Cat Power. Since the release of her last album The Sun in 2012, she’s kept a low profile. Still, there are at least two reasons for Power, a.k.a. Chan Marshall, to celebrate in 2018: one is the 20th anniversary of her hallucinogenic ride of a record, Moon Pix, which she celebrated with a one-off performance at the Sydney Opera House in June. The other is her brand-new song collection Wanderer, which hits the shelves this month. On the occasion, you’ll be able to catch her live at Astra Kulturhaus.

Kometenmelodien: Sneaks Oct 14, 20:00 Kantine am Berghain, Friedrichshain | Christine and the Queens Oct 15, 20:00 Columbiahalle, Tempelhof | Ionnalee Oct 17, 20:30 Berghain, Friedrichshain | Laura Veirs Oct 26, 20:00 Bi Nuu, Kreuzberg | Cat Power Oct 28, 20:00 Astra Kulturhaus, Friedrichshain