Blog : Allgemein

Just Deserts

Craving for some more Desert Blues from Mali? Don’t miss Amanar’s concert (featuring guest rapper Master Soumy and DJ Dony Brasco) at JK’s on Schleusenufer, taking place on Saturday, September 24.
Based in Kidal in the extreme Northeast of Mali, the heart of Azawad, Amanar plays a contemporary version of the classic Tuareg guitar. Often referred to as the “desert blues” sound, Amanar is at the forefront of the modern avant-garde interpretation.

Moving from the wistful nostalgia of their predecessors, their fast interpretation of desert blues draws from a menagerie of influences. Their guitars are mixed with percussion and flute, with an introduction of drum kits, electric piano, and elements of rap. Yet above all, it is a sound that remains rooted in Kidal. As other local favorites Tinariwen and Terakaft have moved on to international careers, Amanar have emerged as a favorite of the Tuareg youth, sought after in local marriages, political campaigns, and soirees.

Under the leadership of Ahmed Ag Kaedi, the group Amanar is a collective that receives and trains willing youth, reflecting an idea at the core and history of Tuareg guitar as a vehicle to transmit ideas. Ahmed’s lyrics have evolved from the ancient calls of rebellion to the need for education in the Tuareg community, critiques of the corruption amongst the elite, and calls for the construction of a large united Mali — all ideas that Kaedi calls “the real rebellion.”

Touring throughout Africa, the group performed at Festival au Desert in 2010, earning the Prix de la Revelation, earning them a European debut at the Presenze d’Africa Festival in Florence, Italy. Their first album, “Alghafiat”, a local production recorded in Kidal, was released internationally in 2010 and their songs have been featured on various compilations and broadcasts.

And don’t miss „Mali Blues“ if it shows round your place: it’s a fascinating documentary on the problems facing Mali’s young artists in an atmosphere of rising intolerance against musicians in their own country, featuring Amanar’s Ahmed Ag Kaedi.


A change is as good as a rest. Between two of their usual dates on Schleusenufer, the Omniversal Mothership will be landing on the premises of the BLO Studios in Lichtenberg on Friday, September 16, as part of the „Lange Nacht der Bilder“. Heaven knows what Omnilicious delights they have in store for us…

BLO, Brother, BLO





Spike Jones & The City Slickers‘ prophecy will finally come true on Thursday, August 11: watch the Donau 115 Café turn green when it will be occupied by a giant Frog (surrepticiously taking the human form of Fabiana Striffler, Declan Forde and James Banner to entice us mortals) and the amphibian combo will regale the multitudes with works by Olivier Messiaen, Béla Bartók and a few home-brewed compositions. Anyone who enjoyed Fabiana’s recent gig with Greg Cohen in the same locale (when Declan joined the duo and pumped up the volume at the pianola for a rousing encore) knows what to expect. Festivities start at 20:30, and the location is, rather surprisingly, at No 115 in the Donaustrasse. This is where you read it first.




Gunter Hampel 2

Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music!

We are proud to announce a further instalment of Gunter Hampel’s yearly birthday celebrations with The Omniversal Orchestra, taking place on August 31, 2016, within the glamorous locale known as J.K.’s, at the end of Schleusenufer.

Lucky are those who have heard the complete discography of one of the most prolific musicians of the last few decades. In 1969, he formed Birth Records to release „The 8th of July 1969,“ an album of his compositions performed by a group that included Anthony Braxton, Jeanne Lee, Steve McCall, Willem Breuker, and Arjen Gorter. Since then, Birth has released more than 50 albums of Hampel’s work in a variety of configurations, including the Gunter Hampel Jazz Quintet, Heartplants quintet, World Community Orchestra, Free Jazz Trio, and New York Orchestra.


Gunter Hampel 3


Hampel was an early starter, taking piano lessons from the age of four. By the time he was 16, he could also play recorder, accordion, clarinet, saxophone, and vibes. He was first exposed to jazz when American troops occupying his hometown of Göttingen at the end of World War II listened to jazz on the Armed Forces Network and Willis Conover’s Voice of America shows, his earliest influence being Louis Armstrong, but also taking in European classical and folk music with open ears. He started playing all styles of jazz, from Dixieland to bebop, with his own bands, and also composed material for them. After studying architecture while continuing to play music on the side, he started playing jazz professionally in 1958, and six years later formed the Heartplants quintet, which included Alex von Schlippenbach and Manfred Schoof, whose self-titled album was Hampel’s first recording, released on Saba Records: it was even rated five stars in Down Beat magazine! Hampel began touring Europe and elsewhere for festivals. He started a long personal and musical partnership with vocalist Jeanne Lee in 1967. In the late 60s, he recorded for the Wergo and ESP labels and played with Steve McCall, Pharoah Saunders and Sonny Sharrock. His apartment in downtown New York saw such prestigious names as Archie Shepp, Ed Blackwell, Frank Wright, Enrico Rava, Jaco Pastorius, David Murray, Sam Rivers…and Jimi Hendrix drop by for rehearsals.

Since then, Gunter Hampel has continued to delight audiences and collectors alike with his never-ending stream of concerts and record releases on his Birth label, playing with musicians as diverse as Bill Frisell, Joachim Kühn, Albert Mangelsdorff, Perry Robinson, Sunny Murray and Andrea Centazzo. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch the man in action with his trio, dancers and the blastiferous Omniversal Earkestra on the 31st!

And to wet your appetite: there is a DVD of last year’s Omni-Hampel feast available on Birth. Just go forth to Gunter’s website.

Gunter Hampel 4


download (1)


They’re at it again! The Far East Trio will be shaking your lobes in the Art Deco confines of The Bröhan Museum

on Thursday, July 21 at 21:00 … and entry is free! Miss it at your own peril!

Bröhan Museum,
Schloßstrasse 1a

More Info from the Bröhan Website



Are you a sucker for piano trios? Does the Duke rock your Juke? Is Fats where it’s at? Then deport yourself to Cafe Tasso in Friedrichshain where Omni-bass supremo „Symphony Sid“ Werner will pluck his strings with his mates from the Far East Trio, Declan Forde and Aidan Lowe, on some tunes by Edward Kennedy Ellington and Thomas „Fats“ Waller, done their (very idiosyncratic) way.

The date’s Tuesday, July 5 at 8 o’clock sharp.

Cafe Tasso,
Frankfurter Allee 11

Far East Trio-1


THINGS AIN’T WHAT THEY USED TO BE (They’re Getting Better)


Johnny Frigo may sound like the name of a French pioneer of Electronic Cold Wave, but he was actually a highly appreciated American jazz violinist (and sometime bassist) who had played with musicians and singers as diverse as Tommy Dorsey, Helen Merrill, Martin Denny, Della Reese, Ken Nordine, Anita O’Day, Monty Alexander, John & Bucky Pizzarelli, The Chi-Lites, Kurt Elling, Mahalia Jackson and Curtis Mayfield. Fabiana Striffler will be paying tribute to him in the company of Zola Mennenöh and Greg Cohen (Does he need introducing? He’s supplied unforgettable basslines for John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson and countless others). Donau115 in Neukölln is the place to be on Saturday, June 18, at 20:30, so get there early if you don’t want to get stuck inside the refrigerator because there’s no other space left…

Facebook Link

Frigo 5


What a way to start the season! The Omni-Space Cadets wowed a well-charged audience big-time last Monday for their first Summer gig at J.K.’s. The lucky attendees were treated to the premiere of a new work in the band’s repertoire by Malian songstress Oumou Sangaré, „Dugu Kamalemba“. Meanwhile, in the perfect acoustics of Jonny’s Love Shack, Mood N’Dugu cracked more of his inimitable jokes: you could cut the atmosphere with a rusty bread knife.

Don’t think twice: J.K. is your next destination. Be seeing ya!


The President of the Omni-Fan Club was there, of course
(Artwork by Jan Zrzavý)

J. K.
Covering the waterfront at the dark end of Schleusenufer
Berlin Kreuzberg


Another show you shouldn’t miss if you want to cleanse your soul with the powerful detergent of Omni-Music. There will be a Tribute Concert for the late Kathrin Lemke taking place at Villa Neukölln on Tuesday, June 14th (starting at 20:00), featuring one of her best-known bands Heliocentric Counterblast (with Omniversalists Philipp Bernard and Johannes Schleiermacher in the line-up), plus Les Femmes Futürres (their spelling). Be there or B ■ !

Villa Neukölln

Hermannstrasse 233

12049 Berlin

YouTube Link


Unfortunately, The Omniversals‘ Big Blow-Out with jazz legend Gunter Hampel, originally programmed for May 23, has been postponed to a later date. We’ll keep you informed about further developments on this page.

“You cannot learn Gunter’s music at any school, real life is his teacher“
                                                                                               – Anthony Braxton
The legendary jazz composer, bandleader, vibraphonist, bass clarinetist, flutist, baritone saxophonist Gunter Hampel is one of the most influential musicians, composers and pioneers of the world wide jazz evolution. He is the major investigator of the European jazz movement since 1958, and when he moved to New York in 1969, the album „The 8th of July 1969″ with Gunter Hampel – Anthony Braxton – Jeanne Lee – Willem Breuker – Steve McCall formed a new jazz era as a timeless new model for future jazz to come and still stands out today as a new way of improvising even beyond free jazz.