Sportfreunde Stiller will always have a special place in my heart. During my first visit to Germany in 2009, their version of Udo Jürgens’ “Ich war noch niemals in New York” was everywhere we turned in Berlin. Everywhere. The track was in constant circulation. At the time, the band had only recently released an MTV Unplugged in New York album and the track was in heavy rotation to promote it. Jürgens even guests on the track during a later live performance of the song. It was the soundtrack of our vacation and it always makes me a little sentimental.
Which brings me to this month’s featured German language music recommendation: Sportfreunde Stiller!
Romanian-German actress Alexandra Maria Lara is a familiar face both inside and outside of the German film industry. Born in Bucharest, Lara and her family fled Communist Romania in the early 1980s. The family eventually found refuge in West Germany. Today, she is a notable actress in the world of cinema. But not just in German films. You may have seen her in big Hollywood English-language films such as The Reader, the Ron Howard directed Rush, the Francis Ford Coppola directed Youth Without Youth, or the Anton Corbijn directed Control. Lara clearly is making her mark on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Lara has appeared in major German language films like Der Untergang and the recent Amazon original series You Are Wanted. Practice your German language skills with these three film and television recommendations featuring actress Alexandra Maria Lara.
Learning a foreign language like German is difficult! There are no corners that you can cut and no shortcuts you can take. It is all about putting in the hard work. But, that doesn’t mean that learning a foreign language can’t be fun. With this German language learning gift guide, you can send a message of support to someone special in your life. Or, you can treat yourself as a reward for all of the time and energy you’re spending. It’s amazing how impactful a small thing like a kind word or a thoughtful gift can be to keeping someone motivated. Here are more than a dozen great gifts for a German language learner.
With their mix of indie rock and rap, Kraftklub is one of the most popular bands on the German music scene. The quintet from Chemnitz has released three studio albums, all of which have gone to the top of the German music charts. And with good reason. The young, hip band is making music that is catchy, memorable, and always has a sense of humor. So this month, let’s practice German with the music of rockers Kraftklub!
To say that actor Moritz Bleibtreu is a busy man is an understatement. He has nearly 100 acting credits to his name during his almost 40-year career. That is pretty impressive. He has appeared in major English language films like Woman in Gold, The Fifth Estate, Speed Racer, and Steven Spielberg’s Munich. But his film credits in the German language are equally as impressive. His roles are wide-ranging, showing his abilities at his craft. So this month, let’s learn German with the films of Moritz Bleibtreu.
German singer Henning May’s voice makes his band AnnenMayKantereit almost instantly recognizable. Upon first glance, it is surprising to hear such a deep and rich tone emerge from such a young man. When May’s voice is combined with the light, memorable melodies on piano or guitar, it is easy to see why the band has found great success in the German-speaking world. (And they are not afraid to do some English language music, too. But we language learners will stick to the German tunes, right? Right!)
And it is a good thing that AnnenMayKantereit is so recognizable because their music is so popular you seem to hear it everywhere. The German group can be found on television, radio and everywhere in between.
So this month, let’s set toes tapping and learn German with the music of AnnenMayKantereit!
Austrian actor Tobias Moretti is truly a jack of all trades. He began his career as an actor on the stage but he has mastered performing on both the big and small screens (that is, cinema and television). He can portray “the bad guy” impressively, sending chills down your spine. But Moretti can also bring a smile to your face in a clever comedy. So this month, let’s learn German with the film and television roles of Tobias Moretti!
Learning German is all about practice. Whether you are driving to work in your car, out for a jog, or just cleaning around the house, listening to German podcasts is a really great way to pass the time and flex those language learning muscles in your brain. And, of course, there are podcasts for every taste and skill level. If you are looking to catch up on current events or just have a laugh, there are news and comedy podcasts. Maybe your interests lie in discovering new music? Perhaps you’re looking to be drawn into a true crime story. Looking for German podcasts for beginners? I’ve got you covered!
I have pulled together more than a dozen of the best German podcasts that German language learners will want to check out. And, as an added bonus, most if not all of these offerings I’ve listed are free German podcasts that you can enjoy without reaching for your wallet.
Although pop singer Falco died more than two decades ago, his legacy lives on in today’s Austrian pop music scene. Bands like Wanda and Bilderbuch capture the late musician’s confident swagger, not to mention they serve up incredibly memorable tunes sung in a mix of the Austrian-German dialect. Many will know Falco for the worldwide hit “Rock Me Amadeus.” But who was Falco? This month, let’s explore the pop rock music of Austrian singer Falco and practice the German language.
Whether you watch English language films or German language, longtime actor Jürgen Prochnow probably looks familiar. He has been a dictator in 1997’s Air Force One, the bad guy in 1987’s Beverly Hills Cop II, and as a duke in 1984’s Dune. But Prochnow is an accomplished and respected actor in his home country, too. He has had starring roles in important and memorable German language roles.
So this month let’s learn German with the films of actor Jürgen Prochnow (Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum, Das Boot, Der Bulle und das Mädchen)!
When you think about Germany, German humor is maybe not the first thing that springs to mind for most people. Generally, people think perhaps of fast cars or good beer. But comedy? No way. Nein danke. In fact, many would go so far as to say the Germans do not even have a sense of humor. And that is obviously not true. When it comes to comedy, I think Germany is vastly underrated and underappreciated. That is why I am highlighting thirteen German comedians to help disprove the stereotype. German humor does exist!
For someone trying to learn the language, comedy is also a great way to practice and learn about the culture, too. And just like with German-language music or films, there is something for everyone. The list includes German stand-up comedians, satirists, cabaret artists, and impressionists, among others whose German humor you can experience in the German language. Prepare to have your funny bone tickled.
For those of us who are not quite fluent in the German language, sometimes you need a good challenge. It is like a good kick in the pants, so to speak. Vienna, Austria’s Voodoo Jürgens is just that challenge.
In the days before this digital world in which we live, music fans had to decipher lyrics from liner notes. We would pour over the backs of record sleeves or the booklets inside of CDs. Today, you can generally do a simple web search to find out the text to a song.
I mention all of this because Voodoo Jürgens sings in a Viennese dialect (Wienerisch) of the German language. If you study standard German, or Hochdeutsch, Voodoo’s tunes can be a little challenging, to say the least. But with infectious melodies, confident delivery, and compelling storytelling, the challenge is completely worth it. (At least I think so!)
So this month, let’s take on that challenge and learn German with the music of Voodoo Jürgens!