Concert in Dachau.
Liner Notes Intakt CD 149
I was quite surprised when
I found out from Steffen about the booking in Dachau as this is one
of those place-names that have become synonymous with human atrocity.
Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) sang it perfectly in his «Dachau
Blues.» As the Jewish son of a Holocaust survivor, performing
in Dachau was especially resonant. Amplifying those feelings, I first
imagined the name of the venue, «Teufelhart,» to be some
ironic comment on the innateness of evil in humans. On tour with V-Effect
in 1983, we passed by the concentration camp on our way to Regensburg
by van. It was late in the afternoon on a cold rainy day and the grayness
of the light blended with the grayness of the camp buildings to create
an iconic image of bleakness.
For this concert, Axel from the Jazzclub Dachau picked me up in Munich
and we drove to the village where we sat outside the cafe and enjoyed
the sunshine, pastry and good espresso. He filled me in on some of the
history of the village: before Hitler, it had long been known as an
artistic community, a center for painters and musicians. It is very
much that way now with galleries and restaurants. One can’t but
help imagining a summer afternoon in 1941 or 1942, artists enjoying
a kaffeeklatsch while nearby, the horror unfolded.
Despite the weight of the Holocaust, I’m angered in the way that
contemporary Jewry acts as if they own all to themselves all of the
suffering of WW2, all of the extermination, all of the death, and that
it gives them license to do any brutality to the Palestinians who just
happened to be living (some for thousands of years) in «their»
Promised Land. For those who justify this with «God’s Covenant
with Abraham,» it must be pointed out that the Covenant was for
Abraham and ALL of his descendents which most certainly includes the
Muslim world as they regard Abraham as their founding patriarch.
Returning to Dachau, we can’t forget that Hitler’s first
victims there were the mentally ill, Communists and Socialists, homosexuals.
What defines a Holocaust? Is it sheer numbers? A «capital H»?
Why are there not international memorials for the vast millions of Chinese
executed or dead of starvation during the Cultural Revolution? Stalin’s
tens of millions? The Khmer Rouge? The Hutus and Tutsis? Darfur? How
many hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens of Iraq killed as a
result of the illegal and immoral American attack and occupation will
it take for that absurd misadventure to be recognized as an atrocity?
As my friends and I often say to each other once the discussion heats
up, «let’s not get started.»
The Cafe Teufelheart is run by Mrs. Teufelheart – kindly and a
lover of art and music. The club has a great kitchen and the performance
space seems small but can pack in a good number of people at tables
on the floorspace or up in the balcony in seats. I performed two sets
which were recorded by Jan. One might call the music a live remix of
my various solo programs for electro-acoustic guitar. Some of the themes
are well-documented on the solo CD’s «Velocity of Hue»
and «Quadrature» – others, unnamed, appear suddenly
and then disappear after revealing their nature.
Elliott Sharp, NYC, 2008