Merkel picks German punk singer Hagen for last serenade-VIDEO

Merkel picks German punk singer Hagen for last serenade-VIDEO
# 03 December 2021 03:47 (UTC +04:00)

Angela Merkel will not leave office as chancellor of Germany until next week, but on Thursday evening a military ceremony was held in her honour, and with her choice of music.

At the event, Mrs Merkel urged the audience to "always see the world through the eyes of others".

The ceremonial tattoo, or Grosser Zapfenstreich, is now a tradition for departing political figures.

And after her 16 years as leader, the ceremony comes with a marching band and torchlight procession.

But what set German tongues wagging was the music she chose.

Mrs Merkel is a passionate music lover, but in her words "mostly classical music", and she's a regular visitor to the Bayreuth Festival, which showcases the work of composer Richard Wagner.

So it came of something of a surprise to find German punk singer Nina Hagen was one of her three musical choices.

The other two pieces were fairly standard - a popular song by Hildegard Knef called For Me It Should Rain Red Roses and an 18th-Century hymn. She is, after all, a Lutheran pastor's daughter.

But Hagen's 1974 East German hit is very much not. You Forgot The Colour Film - Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen - is about a boyfriend called Michael who takes her on holiday and takes a black-and-white film for the camera.

"Now no-one will believe us, how beautiful it was here, haha, haha," she sings, in an apparent reference to the colourless old communist East Germany.

Both women are in their mid-sixties but otherwise have little in common. They even clashed during a TV talk show about drugs in 1992. Hagen did achieve broad success both in Germany and abroad, performing in English for the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test in 1980, with her typically squeaky-operatic brand of punk.

But the choice has broadly impressed Germans, who see it as evidence of Angela Merkel's understated sense of humour. Almost every other East German is thought to know the lyrics off by heart, says the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

The musical choices of some of her predecessors were also unusual.

Gerhard Schröder, who led Germany before her, chose Frank Sinatra's My Way in November 2005. And former Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière picked the perceptively entitled 1980s Europop hit Life Is Life in 2014.

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