As we all know, dramatic times call for unusual measures: the German/English-language single ‘Ladies & Gentlemen’ sees Germany’s star writer and singer for kids music Detlev Jöckercollaborate with Münster-based hard rock band Mad Max and students from a North Rhine-Westphalian music school. With more than 1,300 songs released and over 17 million records/songbooks sold, Detlev Jöcker is one of the most successful and widely sung German-language artists. The musician, who has garnered multiple gold and platinum awards, has been committed to environmental as well as humanitarian and solidarity projects for decades. Jöcker: “‘Ladies & Gentlemen’ is an emotional description of our times with the exponential rise in man-made problems. At the same time it’s an appeal to humanity for solidarity, asking people to get up and take a stand against that negative trend with optimism, courage and hope. In addition, the fact that the song is bilingual also reflects the global dimension of the current situation which concerns not only Covid-19 but also the environment and the refugee crisis.”
Jürgen Breforth, Mad Max composer/guitarist, also stresses the song’s relevance: “It’s practically predestined for a collaboration between Detlev and our band,” he says. “Even while I was composing ‘Ladies & Gentlemen’ on the guitar, I saw the whole thing in my inner eye: melody, verse, chorus, German/English lyric, plus Detlev and a kid’s choir to transport and symbolise the central message. Because it takes all generations together, old and young, to solve the problems of our times. To take a stance we decided, together with our record company SPV, to launch ‘Ladies & Gentlemen’ today, earlier than originally scheduled. We want to reassure people now, we want to stand together – as the song’s lyric says – now.”
The song sees Detlev Jöcker continue his decades-long work as a global ambassador for charitable, social and socially relevant projects. Among the German musician’s most remarkable achievements, inspired by his commitment to a peaceful coexistence of religions and cultures in the Middle East and initiated by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres, was Jöcker’s recording ‘Alle Kinder dieser Erde’ (All the children of this Earth) in German, Hebrew and Arabic in Israel together with pop vocalist Liel Kolet and Israeli and Palestinian children and musicians. Back in the 1990s, the musician from Münster travelled countries such as England, Scotland, Latvia, Estonia and Finland on behalf of the Goethe Institute as an official ‘Ambassador of German Children’s Songs’ to make the German language and culture accessible to children in those countries. In addition, he was invited to Rome for an audience with Pope Francis for his long standing work as an author of Christian music. Jöcker was also involved in the international Climate Action Project and brought together more than four hundred students in front of Münster’s city hall for a climate flash mob and the environmental song ‘Alle wollen leben’ (Everybody wants to live).
‘Ladies & Gentlemen’ is the first joint venture by Jöcker and Mad Max, which also features an unusual musical approach: “You’d expect a major ballad in view of such an emotional message, but that’s precisely what we didn’t want,” explains Breforth. “Inspired by bands such as Def Leppard, we wanted a powerful song that really gets down to business.” In line with this, there’s an atmospheric video clip, shot under the direction of Sebastian Stumpe (AffenAufRuhr) at a music school in the small town of Havixbeck near Münster, the students featured wearing T-shirts painted with messages relating to the global situation. Breforth: “You can see very clearly in the video what these kids have to say.”