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Angela Merkel sings Punk at a farewell party

Angela Merkel sings Punk at a farewell party

After 16 years at the helm of Germany, Merkel will receive her usual military farewell in the Defense Ministry plaza on Thursday evening. Like her predecessors, she is allowed to request three songs that will be performed by the military marching band. And there’s definitely room for a touch of punk.

Merkel, for example, chose the punk song “Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen” (“I forgot the color film‘) by German singer Nina Hagen. And with that it takes a very different path from its predecessors Gerhard Schroeder and Helmut Kohl, who chose songs by Frank Sinatra and Beethoven, among others.

Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen was first recorded in 1974 and quickly became a huge hit on the East German charts, even before Hagen migrated to the other side of the Iron Curtain, immersed in London subcultures and most importantly West German Punk icon of the 80s.

There is speculation in Germany that the song’s choice was an unusual move by Merkel to embrace her East German heritage – something she hardly indicated during her time as chancellor.

On the other hand, others see irony at the incompetence of the many male politicians I’ve worked with over the years. In the song, Hagen complains that her boyfriend forgot to bring a color film on their vacation.

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Although the song was not censored by the state when it was released, at the time it was seen as a critique of the GDR and its miserable everyday life, where color films were a scarce commodity.

Besides the punk song, Merkel also chose “Großer Gott, wir loben Dich” (“Holy God, we praise your name‘), a famous Christian hymn from the eighteenth century. It is a nod to her upbringing as the daughter of a Protestant pastor and the religious identity of her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Ten slotte koos ze voor “Hildegard Knefs for me it should rain red roses” (“It should rain red roses for me‘) A sad song about teenage ambitions and youthful vanity.

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