Thursday, February 19, 2009

Die Prinzen: A Great German A Capella Group

A few years ago it was in the middle of the three weeks, when many observant jews do not even listen to recorded music. During that time a lot of Jewish groups sell a capella tapes, which are permitted since there is no musical instrumentation.

I developed the odd idea of looking for secular a capella music. I found some really good Beatles as well as some African groups. I even found some Yugoslav communist partisan songs that fit the bill as well as some traditional folk songs.

My search reached the level of absurdity when I found an a capella group from Germany called "Die Prinzen". Although their repertoire is completely secular and at times irreverent, they are all former choir members of the St. Thomas curch of Leipzig in the former East Germany. They compose their own songs, which often make light of problems in modern German society.

Two songs really amused me. One was "Millionaire (translation compliments of which is about a lazy guy who wants to be rich but has no motivation and just enough morals to prevent him from being totally ruthless. The other song is "Mein Hund ist Schwul" . (My Dog is Gay) in which the a dog's owner gives voice to his suspicions about his dog.

It didn't take too long for me to realise that not listening to music during the three weeks was actually meant to help a person focus emotionally and spiritually on spirit of the time, and on our sense of incompleteness since the destruction of the Temple. It eventually seemed that I was defeating the entire purpose of restrictions on music during the three weeks.

I observe restrictions on my diet that are intended to enhance my life and to prolong it. I do not refrain from eating sugar to punish myself but to function on a higher level.

When I realised this, I put away "Die Prinzen" for the duration of the Three Weeks. I did continue to listen to some a capella partisan songs that aided me in staying focused.

During the rest of the year, I try to view music as a vehicle and to ask myself where it is taking me.

In light of this anecdote, I am presenting below the two a capella songs that I found amusing, along with a translation of the "Millionaire " song.

Millionaire by Die Prinzen

Ich wär' so gerne Millionär
Dann wär mein Konto niemals leer
Ich wär' so gerne Millionär
Ich wär' so gerne Millionär

(Geld, Geld, Geld...)

Ich hab' kein Geld hab' keine Ahnung, doch ich hab 'n großes Maul
Bin weder Doktor noch Professor, aber ich bin stinkend faul
Ich habe keine reiche Freundin und keinen reichen Freund
Von viel Kohle hab' ich bisher leider nur geträumt

Was soll ich tun, was soll ich machen, bin vor Kummer schon halb krank
Hab' mir schon paar Mal überlegt: Vielleicht knackst du eine Bank
Doch das ist leider sehr gefährlich, bestimmt werd' ich gefasst
Und außerdem bin ich doch ehrlich und will nicht in den Knast

Ich wär' so gerne Millionär...

Es gibt so viele reiche Witwen, die begehr'n mich sehr
Sie sind scharf auf meinen Körper, doch den geb' ich nicht her
Ich glaub' das würd' ich nicht verkraften um keinen Preis der Welt
Deswegen werd' ich lieber Popstar und schwimm' in meinem Geld

Ich wär' so gerne Millionär...

I'd really like to be a millionaire
Then my account would never be empty
I'd really like to be a millionaire
Worth millions
I'd really like to be a millionaire

(Money, money, money...)

I have no money, have no clue, but I do have a big mouth
I'm neither a doctor nor a professor, but I'm terribly lazy
I have no rich girl friend and no rich male friend
Unfortunately, up to now I've only dreamed of having dough

What should I do, what should I try? I'm half sick with worry
A few times before I thought: Perhaps you could rob a bank
But unfortunately that's very dangerous; I'd get caught for sure
And besides I'm actually honest and I don't want to go to jail

I'd really like to be a millionaire...

There are so many rich widows who want me badly
They're hot for my body, but I won't give it to them
I don't think I could handle that for any price in the world
That's why I'd rather become a pop star and swim in my money

I'd really like to be a millionaire...

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