HIBERNO GOETHE: GERMAN IRISH CONVERSATIONS
This Podcast dives into the many colours of arts, language and life across cultures. St. Pauli fan and former Düsseldorfer Ciarán Murray and his guests explore the connecting moments of German and Irish life. What do musicians, dancers, artists, writers pick up from either culture? How are they inspired and enriched by the other? For all listeners who like to go and think beyond borders.
Episode 10 Hiberno Goethe: Mia Gallagher
This episode features Dublin writer and performer Mia Gallagher. Graduating at the time of recession in the late 1980s Mia is of a generation that was still emigrating and Dublin city a much more mono cultural place to live than we know it today. Having German roots allowed Mia to be in a position to observe and process life through another lens which fed into her creativity as an artist.
We hear about the journey of Mia’s paternal Oma/Grandmother, Liese Gerhard, who moved to Kilkenny in the 1930s to teach gymnastics at a girls school and a couple of years later marrying her husband. Mia also tells the story of Liese voting during the Nazi era and later living a social life in Waterford. The house in which Liese grew up at the seatown Warnemünde remained a place to return to for the family holding fond memories for Mia.
Mia tells us about her time as an au-pair in Freiburg and talks about speaking German with Germans who are too quick to use English, and ending up in a kind of ‘language stand-off’, with both parties determined to continue in their non-native language. We hear about a fondness for the Irish language despite her teacher, former minister Moira Geoghgan Quinn, calling her dunce at school.acting. Performing and failing helped Mia in her writing, to understand characters inside out, the layers of consciousness and unconsciousness.
Mia reads the title story Shift of her short story collection, an excerpt of her second novel Beautiful pictures of the lost homeland and an excerpt of Altes Land by German author Dörte Hansen.
The White Ribbon (film)
Deutschland 83/86/89 (TV series)
Altes Land by Dörte Hansen (book)
Die Wand by Marlen Haushofer (book)
Es Geht Uns gut by Arno Geiger (book)
Furcht und Elend des Dritten Reiches by Bertholt Brecht (play)
Die Mutter by Bertholt Brecht (play)
Die Toten Hosen (band – who I actually saw in Mainz in 1985!)
Jan’s passion for poetry extends to listening to poetry in other languages as well as translating the work of some artists that have written in English. Writing is a very curious back and forth that involves critical thinking along with free wheeling; a joyful game of playing with language and a slow process of editing. Cutting away line after line; a poem can be left with only three lines that carry much more than the thirty lines written ahead. Everything is possible, you can expose your soul or use poetry as a means of a great masquerade.
Jan recites the poem The owl, Part one by Matthew Sweany, one of the artists whose work Jan has translated, debating words and meaning over food and wine in Berlin Kreuzberg.
We hear Jan Wagner reciting also his own poetry: Teebeutel and Essay on soap.
Recommendations by Jan Wagner:
Matthew Sweeney „Shadow of the Owl“, Bloodaxe 2021
Hugo Hamilton „The Island of Talking"
A recording of a Wallis Bird concert: https://bit.ly/347g8Y5
We hear about Abi Mottowoche, the last week in school in which students dress up each day with a different theme from Genderswap to Pyjama Party, marking the last days in school life in a novel way before sitting the final exams. Being a native speaker doesn’t always mean you get top marks in English at school, and sometimes it can make teachers nervous.
Having played for Germany and Ireland is not the end goal for Emily who looks to progress further in her football career. Good luck Emily!
Siobhán and Ciarán talk about different harps, influences and eras bringing the listeners to a variety of historic and cultural places from Ormond Castle at Carrick on Suir to Kilkenny castle and the Highlands in Scotland; Jury’s Irish Cabaret in Dublin and the Chamber Festival in Ernen in the Swiss Alps.
To understand the harp there is a need to understand the medieval world, the Gaelic Chieftains, how they lived, what was important to them.
Siobhán refers to the losing of harp music, after the Flight of the Earls, as a cultural genocide as it was a deliberate ploy of wiping out the language and culture by the Tudors who had A compartmentalised mindset - extremely civilised in their own renaissance world but when dealing with anybody that they consider does not belong in that world then they are the savages and eliminated.
Siobhán and Ciarán highlight that the Cruitire, the harper, was the third most important person on the Gaelic court after the King and the filler, the poet- not a judge or politician! Harpists had land, wealth, a carrier for their instrument and didn't have to do anything except their art form.
This episode features two pieces of music played the harp and here is a list of some of the references made by Siobhán:
Buy Siobhán's new CD here, some tracks of which Ciarán played on the podcast:
More information about the early Irish harp:
Videos of concerts, talks and workshops featuring early Irish harp:
If anyone wants to learn the early Irish harp:
Hear Siobhán’s different historical harps and musical collaborations here:
Siobhán’s summer festival here (ONLINE in 2021):
They chat about Gerard not being a natural Germano-phile, but perhaps still with an early appreciation for Kraftwerk, as general left-field entity, but he does understand Germany as having a central role in the development of contemporary arts in the 20th Century. They wonder at the fact that visual art enjoys a more prominent place in Germany than in Ireland and the various socio-political reasons behind that, and Dokumenta in Kassel as a celebration of the importance of art in Germany, where even the taxi drivers want to talk about art.
Gerard is currently working with students from the Städelschule in the Goethe-Institute Irland’s Return Gallery for the 60th anniversary celebrations, so look out for that.
Celebration of Joseph Beuys - Post-War Germany’s most important artist.
A current exhibition at the Stadelmuseum devoted to Max Beckmann - one of Germany’s most important Weimar artists. Beckmann taught at the school before being dismissed by the Nazi’s. Here’s a painting from the museum collection he really likes.
And for some German food recommendation have a look the Münster food Market: Wochenmarkt Münster: Der Film
Dokumenta is an exhibition of contemporary art which takes place every five years in Kassel.
Gerard’s work is currently on view at the Kerlin Gallery.
Feeling European and with the apron strings ripped from Ireland as the UK exits the EU, Donnchadh sees a lot of opportunities for stronger ties between Ireland and Germany ‘We gave them Christianity, we might as well give them more butter.’
· Stefan Zweig: Sternstunden der Menschheit („Decisive Moments in History“) – Admittedly Zweig is Austrian, but this book was ever present on my grandparents’ shelf.
· Album: Die Mathematik der Anna Depenbusch (best song: “Tim liebt Tina”). In fact, anything by Anna Depenbusch. She exemplifies the German overlooked ability to be both playful and profound with the German language.
· Claudia Rusch: Meine Freie Deutsche Jugend; engaging and often funny memoir of growing up in East Germany.
· The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Rudolf Erich Raspe); Erich Kästner did a great retelling of these tall tales.
· Heinrich Böll: Irish Journal/Irisches Tagebuch – the book is more about Germany than Ireland, and still informs how many Germans see Ireland. Some Irish people find his representations of Ireland as problematic, but I think exemplifies a naïve fascination with Ireland that exists even today.
· Hugo Hamilton: The Speckled People. The conflict of identity for people of my parentage has never been matched in prose as in Hamilton’s poignant (and triggering!) memoir.
· Walter Kempowski: Alles umsonst/All for Nothing; Günther Grass: Im Krebsgang/Crabwalk; Svenja O’Donnell: Inge’s War. All dealing with the expulsion of Germans from east of the river Oder at the end of World War 2 in very different ways. The latter is relatively new and on my list for this year.
Ulrike reads a section by Heinrich Boell, the post WWII author whose work started the vibe about Ireland in Germany.
He talks about great dancers, choreographers and musicians and the influence they had on his life.
John remembers his first time in Germany in the early 1980s and being amazed by the importance that is afforded to culture in Germany; the beautiful dance spaces, wonderful theatres, opera houses, and bookshops.
Ciarán and John talk about the challenges and joy of becoming a dancer and later on a Heldentenor. They chat about German films, books, food, and the different landscapes in the German countryside. John recites a part of Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio in which Fidelio rescues her husband Florestan from a prison. Having a close alignment to the German language, John describes it as both spiritual and rich as well as dark in some of its more menacing sounds.
We hear about the challenges of COVID restrictions in the dance world, how dancers can no longer touch each other during performances, but mask wearing has its place in dance. For John it’s not all negative, it teaches him to look at obstacles in a different way for going forward in future
1a - Dances for Inside and Outside: my Pandemic choreography
2 - The White Piece (one of my works with Survivors of Torture
3 - It is better to, choreographed by German choreographer Thomas Lehmen for IMDT
4 - Gott, Welch dunkel hier! Aria from Beethoven’s Fidelio sung my me
5 - Dark, Netflix German series
6 - Pina Bausch - seminal German choreographer
7 - William Forsythe, Seminal US choreographer based for many years in Frankfurt/Dresden
8 - Dance On Ensemble: important Berlin based ensemble
9 - Susanne Linke - seminal German choreographer
10 - Joint Adventures - important German dance production agency based in Munich
11 - Fassbinder Foundation: Foundation for German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder
12 - Bauhaus Movement history
13 - Beethoven - article from The Guardian
14 - Wagner - Beyrouth Festival
15 - William Forsythe: One Flat Thing (excerpt filmed at Bockenheimer Depot, Frankfurt Main)
16 - William Forsythe: The Loss of Small Detail finale
17 - Pina Bausch: Sacre du Printemps extract
18 - Introduction to the work of Heiner Muller
19 - Wagner: Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, Conducted by Daniel Barenboim, Directed by Heiner Muller
20 - Wagner: Ride of the Walkures
This month Ciarán is talking with the German Ambassador Deike Potzel, who, ever since her inter-railing in Europe shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, had an interest in Irish people, history and even its language. They talk about the Irish border, the ambassador's growing up in East Berlin and the rise of the far right. We hear how stereotypes of Germans seem to be the same in Dublin, Singapore or Tehran and about the importance of confronting our past and need for open debates for cultural understanding.
They talk about the beauty of the Baltic sea, especially the car free picturesque island Hiddensee, Brittas Bay in Wicklow and many great German and Irish writers that inspire Deike, some of them enjoyed particularly with a glass of wine.
While she doesn't miss much specifically from Germany, certainly not Sülze, but maybe cherry jam, East Berlin and the DDR will always be an important part of her identity.
Hugo Hammilton: The Speckled People; Heinrich Boell: Irish Journal; Stan Nadolny: The Discovery of Slowness; Daniel Kehlmann: Measuring the world, (a wonderful book about Alexander von Humboldt, won many awards, made into a movie); Daniel Kehlmann: Tyll (translated; about Till Eulenspiegel and the 30year-war in Europe); Jenny Erpenbeck: Go, Went, Gone; Julie Zeh; Dörte Hansen: This House is mine; Ferdinand von Schirach: Terror (and many other crime stories); Bernhard Schlink: The Reader, made into a movie with Kate Winslet); Lutz Seiler: Kruso; Eugen Ruge: In times of Fading Light; Wladimir Kaminer: many, many books,; Uwe Timm: The invention of curried sausage; Peter Schneider: The Walljumper; a guy going back and forth between East and West Berlin in times of the wall)
Some classics – but from the 20th century:
Hans Fallada: Alone in Berlin, wonderful story about a couple in resistance fight to Hitler)
Siegfried Lenz: The German lesson
Christa Wolf: Kassandra (and others)
Stefan Heym: any of his books
Walter Kempowski: any of his books
Die Ärzte; Die Toten Hosen; Paul van Dyck; Seed; The Boss Hoss; Udo Lindenberg; Herbert Groenemeyer; Marius Mueller-Westernhagen; Annenmaykantereit; Nena; Silbermond; Juli; Die Fantastischen Vier; Sarah Connor; Mark Forster
Ciarán chats with mezzo soprano singer Sharon Carty. We first hear how she went from PE teacher to opera singer and about her growing up with country music, Willie Nelson and ‘Wailing’ Jennings! They chat about encountering German at school, and the grammar, the ‘Der, die, das, die’, and how her love of the language grew, especially as she began to sing opera in German. They drift into talking about performing, and the amazing frocks and making sure that you always have a spare dress. They talk about how her experience of living in Vienna and Frankfurt differs from life in Ireland, and about how opera is perceived differently in these countries. Sharon tells how some of the Lieder (the opera songs) come from poetry, sometimes very moving poems, and she reads a beautiful poem Winterabend, by Karl Gottfried von Leitner.