Streaming Cafe

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Germany's Daniel Benjamin

   by Malcolm Petch
If you Google “Daniel Benjamin”, the first hit is going to be for the American Ambassador-at-large in charge of counterterrorism. That’s not who we’ve got booked at Streaming Café April 2nd.

The Daniel Benjamin we’ve got coming is actually an international artist, hailing from Stuttgart, Germany. He brings with him a history of being in a punk band at the otherwise tender age of 14, having more than 150 recorded songs under his belt, having played at least 1200 concerts in at least 15 different countries, and having the need for a harpsichord when he tours Canada this spring.

Yep, that’s right. Benjamin is looking for a harpsichord to lug around as he tours the country! To quote Michael, our booking guy, “this man is true to his art!” None of those electronic piano/harpsichord thingies for this virtuoso!

Okay, then: Daniel Benjamin is a former punker who uses authentic harpsichord in his music; I think that tells you what he’s like right off the bat. Benjamin posts a regular video blog to his website, and in the videos, his music plays under clips from his latest journeys. It’s kinda cool. When viewing the blog you’re just as likely to find Daniel and Eleni driving along in their car with music blaring from the stereo as you are to see Benjamin lying in bed with a head cold, or tuning his wife’s harpsichord.

Over this last year, Benjamin has gone through a metamorphosis in his music. He talks of rediscovering the ancient virtues of German tradition, including baroque melodies and influential art and architecture. He and his wife have changed the name of their touring show from “Daniel Benjamin” to “SEA+AIR”, a cross-language play on words with ‘sea’ sounding like the German for “she”, and ‘air’ sounding like the word for “he” (it’s “She + He”, in other words). His tour bio ends with the question: “Are you ready for harpsichords instead of keyboards, timpani instead of drums, classical guitar instead of rock axes and an organ pedal instead of a bass guitar?”

Benjamin is signed to the indie Haldern-Pop Records, a branch off of the successful cult-like Haldern-Pop Festival in northern Germany. He’ll be traveling with his wife Eleni when he comes through Streaming Café April 2 on their Sea+Air tour, and I’m sure we’ll be able to expect innovative ideas throughout the evening. 

Daniel Benjamin - "My Cloud Has Lost It's Silver Lining"

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