Sirens of Berlin
Various Artists
by Johanna J. Bodde

Various Artists   "SIRENS OF BERLIN"
(Bluebird Cafe Berlin Records)

The Bluebird Cafe Berlin celebrated its 7th birthday in February 2004. For that occasion "Women In Concert" was organised twice. It was successful in all aspects, so a CD has been recorded: "Sirens Of Berlin", 17 tracks with unknown (only two names I've heard before) but talented ladies. They all live in Berlin, some have been born there, others come from elsewhere in Germany, or from France, Norway, Switzerland or America of course.  Isn't that boring, a whole CD with female singer-songwriters who sing their own song? No, certainly not. One of the reasons is that high quality came in the first place, no wrong notes anywhere. Then there's the wide variety in styles: folk, worldmusic, jazz, country, soul, blues, pop, rock. Some ladies sing with (their own) acoustic guitar, others are backed by a band or one extra musician. The language is English most of the time, but there's also German, Norwegian and French. You can find more information about the ladies in the neat, well-made digipack with bios and pictures.
Who are the best? That's hard to tell, there are only two not fitting artists inbetween. Mckinley Black (normally she uses only her first name) is the best known of the pack, her song "It's Never Too Late" is really beautiful. Kerstin Blodig performs a Norwegian traditional, on which Ian Melrose plays the flute, very special! Nadja Petrick sings her bluesy countrysong as a mix of Janis Joplin and Marianne Faithful.  Chanson "Libellule" by Berangere Palix sounds experienced, Gay Frazier (with Stephan Gatti on dobro) gives away her Southern Californian roots, the arrangement of songs by Ladies First (mouthharp) and C.C. Adams (rainmaker and bodhran) attracts attention. Last track's CARO is a hit as well!
This CD is a must for lovers of singer-songwriter music, but also for everyone who wants to try "something else". And why isn't there a Blue Bird Cafe in the other major European cities?
Written by Johanna J. Bodde, translated by Yvonne Böhm. Dutch original of this review previously published on Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands.