I came across this rather fine German band the other day, purely by accident, as so often is the case on the Internet. In this case a very happy accident.
This is a full size dance band who go under the name Palast Orchester, specialise in recreating the music and sound of the 1920’s and 30’s, as represented by German music of that tumultuous period, and which is being remarkably successful all over the world – Nostalgia anyone?
Before discussing them to any degree, I thought it best to offer you a typical example of their work to whet your appetite somewhat, so here goes with their version of this Weimar classic.
By the way, in spite of its appearance, this video does work OK, just click on the red arrow and off it will go.
This video gives you pretty well all the elements of this bunch of German musicians (well, except for the violinist, who is an Italian). In passing I would mention that for some reason whilst the band is essentially made up of men there is always the one woman in the band, the violinist, the current one (in this video) being Cecilia Crisafulli.
The leader, and moving force in this band is the singer, Max Raabe (real name is Matthias Otto), who got the band together while he and the other original members of the band were students at the Berlin University of the Arts in 1985, and who (as befits an impoverished student) got the orchestral scores together by scouring the flea markets of Berlin. Apparently they practiced away in private for the better part of a year, and then got their first gig at a local dance hall, as a sort of fill in in the lobby. They were such a success there that they were snapped up by an agent and off they went….
As I said, they specialise in dance music of the 1920s and 1930s, mainly German music, but they do not ignore the rich pickings of the American dance band world of that period either, and Max Raabe also composes music for them to play.
Or as you can see here, they also venture into French music of the period too.. Here you see them attacking J’Attendrai.
Such panache eh?
Max Raabe also always dresses immaculately in a full Tuxedo, and has the proper willowy way of talking and standing of that period – though I also have to admit to a slight feeling of being able to also see him dressed in the smart black uniform of an SS man…. I suspect it is those half closed eyes that do it, but there is something…..
In spite of the appearance of him being in charge, as far as I can discover, it is actually a very egalitarian outfit, and all the musicians have a say in what happens, which if true, is assuredly miles away from the normal dance band situation!
And now, here is a silly song for you… Mein kleiner gruener Kaktus (My small green cactus) played to a very cheerful audience sitting in the rain for some reason..
And to end this small selection of music from this extremely professional and enjoyable dance band, we have one of their German dance hall numbers…Ich brech die Herzen der stolzesten Frauen….
So there you have it, an amazing and enjoyable German dance band, who rather like the Temperance Seven are busy recreating the music of the high point of dance band music, and doing it damn well too!!
I hope you have enjoyed this small selection of their music and will feel moved to look further into their music.