“Music is the most beautiful language in the world, which everyone understands immediately. That’s why musicians feel at home everywhere the world and can tell their stories.” From “Songs and Stories in Transit” by Die Mampen.
The name Mampen derives from Berlin in the 1930s. Inspired by a cocktail mix of that time, children of mixed marriages between Jews and Christians called themselves “Mampe”. Both the media and the premiere (30/04/2019, Volksbühne am Rudolfplatz, Cologne) audience agree: “A vivacious debut that won the hearts of the multicultural audience.” - comment in the Kölnische Rundschau.
The revue is a crash course through the world history of the last century from a musical perspective. And Die Mampen - Nedim Hazar, Alessandro Palmitessa and Klaus Mages - play hard-core multicultural music: rock’n’roll and rebetiko, calypso and klezmer, swing, Algerian chaabi and Turkish schmaltz. While at it, they tell the stories of the songs and their performers. These are unbelievable but true stories, some are hilarious, some tragic. They are like Dario Fo’s Mistero Buffo monologues. While Fo tells about corrupt popes, Die Mampen narrate about star legends like the gay Turkish singer Zeki Müren or human rights activist Harry Belafonte. One of the evening’s highlights is the story of the recently deceased swing guitarist and concentration camp survivor Coco Schumann.
The music is steady multilingual; German, English, Yiddish, Turkish, Greek, Kurdish, Italian, Arabic and Spanish. But that seems to be the most ordinary thing in the world, once you immerse yourself in the world of Die Mampen. “Die Mampen mix languages, musical styles, cabaret, theatre and concert elements, stories of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Armenians (…) and slapstick. And they succeed…” (Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger)
They succeed because, as the title song of the Mampen which comes at the beginning and end of the show says: “Mum is Latina, Dad is from Nepal, a horror for the AfD (the German right-wing-party), we are everywhere now!” And frontman Nedim Hazar’s son Eko Fresh raps in the video clip of the Mampen song: “I don’t care about right-wing populism. They’re a bunch of confused, stressed-out freaks without rhythm.”
The scenes were written by Nedim Hazar and Cologne cabaret artist and writer Robert Griess. The play was directed by Heinz Kloss, award-winning actor and director of German theatre (Ruhrfestspiele, Schauspiel Essen, Bochum Prinzregent Theater, Gorki Theater Berlin, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Staatstheater Darmstadt), who has a heart for Dario Fo’s monologues.