Pop-Kultur 2016 is Over! See You in 2017

The north of Berlin-Neukölln was even more wild than usual during the Pop-Kultur festival from August 31st until September 2nd. One constantly ran into old and new friends; »You’re going to see Thurston Moore? I’m on my way to see Levin Goes Lightly, let’s meet at the Abra-Show later!« Just swaying to A-WA (or doing the Halay with Selda Bağcan), and then right back into the »Body War« moshpit with Show Me The Body in the dripping hot KELLER. Or maybe a quick snack?

You and 9500 other guests attended the second Pop-Kultur festival to see more than 80 international artists in 6 locations and on 8 stages. But what does remain?

Well, Kurt Cobain’s lighter doesn’t. The central exhibit of Scott Kings partially displayed collection of pop memorabilia was unfortunately stolen on the last festival day. Please submit all information on the exhibits location to us online.

Zebra Katz (Portraitiert von Janto Djassi)
Zebra Katz (Porträtiert von Janto Djassi)

As our Art Director King wants to expand his collection, we warmly recommend the following objects to remember Pop-Kultur 2016 by: Joel Gibb’s shimmering golden suit, that he wore playing new fantastic The Hidden Cameras material in his solo set; the watery napkin, Zebra Katz used as a note for his prominent guest list in spite of all material resistance; the safety vest, Frankie Cosmos wore to change tires on the Autobahn before wearing it for her show in the packed and humid Keller. And of course the bracers Selda Bağcan, unfortunately, had to wear, because she – in her own words – had to evade one of her twenty cats while feeding them and fell.

»Yaz gazeteci yaz!« Write, your journalists, write! Bağcan sang her legendary song even twice during her show at Huxleys Neue Welt, as the first song and in the praised second encore. With this song, originally meant to make the Turkish press report on the neglected grievances in the country’s east, the great singer with the incomparable voice was representative of a program of strong-willed artists with an attitude, to whom Pop is always reflective of society as well.

Selda Bagcan (Foto: Roland Owsnitzki)
Selda Bagcan (Foto: Roland Owsnitzki)

Talking of extraordinary readings: On the stage of the Passage Kino, where Graf Fidi and Enno Park discussed Cyborgs and Disabilities and Juliana Huxtable and Fatima Al Qadiri dismantled the lyrical ex- and inclusion of national anthems in a highly interesting talk, Hendrik Otremba, known from his band Messer, exclusively read first excerpts from his upcoming debut novel. The enthralling detective thriller was accentuated with live effects by his colleague Raune. Rat-ta-ta-tat makes the motorcycle.

Skinny Girl Diet (Foto: Janto Djassi)
Skinny Girl Diet (Foto: Janto Djassi)

Next to other Pop-Kultur acts such as SassyBlack and Colin Newman – as well as further experts like Stephanie von Beauvais, Tina Adams, and Björn Beneditz, Otremba and Herbert gave one of the 42 workshops for the 250 participants of the Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs program. Supported by the Goethe-Institut, almost 500 young people from 24 countries had applied for the program: Uruguay, Colombia, India, Congo, South Africa, Argentina, Malaysia, the Philippines, Tanzania, Venezuela, Hong Kong, the USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, France, Russia, Poland, Egypt and Germany. 250 chosen talents were now able to educate themselves further, collect new inspirations and make new contacts.

Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs (Foto: Janto Djassi)
Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs (Foto: Janto Djassi)

The latter was also done by the many representatives of the scene, the music industry and culture politics who met during Pop-Kultur 2016, e.g. with James Minor, General Manager of one of the most important festivals of the world, the SXSW in Austin, Texas. And not a few agents sought contact to the team of the KELLER, where they might be seen more often in the near future.

»No other festival in Berlin offers a comparable stylistic range. The programmatic diversity is unique and I am very proud of the large proportion of great female artists, that made up a lot of highlights of the Pop-Kultur program. What other festival exhibits such a balance in its booking and asks the same kind of questions as the Pop-Kultur talk program does?«

(Katja Lucker, Head of the Pop-Kultur festival and of the Musicboard Berlin)

A lot has happened in those three days and nights. We have borrowed the closing remarks from Otremba’s upcoming debut novel, as heard in the aforementioned reading: »What was going on in this world? It orbited the sun.«

In conclusion: Thank you for being there! Thanks to all artists and lecturers, all contributors, the teams of SchwuZ, Vollgutlager, Huxleys, Heimathafen, Passage Kino, KELLER, Prachtwerk, von Young Arts Neukölln, the KinderKünsteZentrum and the Hofperle.

May you have many bright days until the next Pop-Kultur Festival.
Because we’ll return in 2017.
We’re already looking forward to it!


Let’s paint Pop-Kultur!

You should be aware of the fact that Pop-Kultur is always supporting creativity and young talent. And by that we mean talents from all different sorts of areas. Yes, that also includes colouring. This year’s programme (which you can download right HERE) will – besides great articles and information – also include illustrations by Cajsa Holgersson. Why? Because it’s awesome and we’d like to support childlike creativity. And the world could definitely need a bit colour right now anyway, don’t you agree?

You can download the illustrations directly right here, print them out, use photoshop or pencils and basically the more creative the better. Surprise us, surprise the artist as we’re definitely going to pass these ones on to them.

So, what now?

Well, post them on our Facebook wall, tweet them to us, write us an E-Mailor share your art via Instagram by also using the hashtag #popkulturberlin. You’ll get rewarded with exclusive free tickets for the entire Pop-Kultur Festival 2016 in the form of exclusive wristbands of creating something unique. So, please let’s just have some easy fun here, shall we?

What about colouring the A-Wa ladies?


Algiers drummer Matt Tong is still missing here. Maybe you’d like to add him.PK_Illus2-AlgiersFatima needs a bit more colours! PK_Illus3-FatimaALQadiri

Neon light? You could definitely use some on the Messer front man.


Make SassyBlack fabulous again!PK_Illus5-SassyblackLet Selda drench in an amount of colours she deserves!PK_Illus6-SeldaBagcan

More colour for Mr. Moore, please!PK_Illus7-ThursonMoore

You can find the Download of all illustrations right here.

Pop-Kultur is wishing you a maximum amount of fun!

From NYC to Berlin: Algiers with exclusive Pop-Kultur Playlist


We do not have an official mascot at Pop-Kultur but then there’s a band like Algiers who’s pretty close to the essential idea of our festival. The buzzing experimental rock group are not just performing brand new material exclusively at the Heimathafen Neukölln but bassist Ryan Mahan will also join us for an exciting talk prior to thei band’s performance. And the group is also hosting a workshop for our Pop-Kultur talents. The unusual seems to be the rule and that has always been the credo for Algiers. In preparation for their Berlin visit we asked drummer Matthew Tong to compile a very personal playlist for us. It’s about New York City, gentrification and well… that brings us back to Berlin, right? Please read and listen below.

“I started off thinking about what it is to live in New York City, as I am often inclined to do whenever I return from tour. There is this incredibly prescient Hal Ashby film from 1970 called “The Landlord”, which is perhaps the first film to explicitly look at issues surrounding gentrification. It’s funny, sad and it’s absolutely on the mark, so I built the playlist around Al Kooper’s “Love Theme” from said film. Gentrification is one of the myriad of apocalyptic tentacles waggling around in the world right now so there are some heavy tracks on here but I tried to balance it out with Françoise Hardy and Roxy Music.”

At Pop-Kultur 2016 Algiers will perform live on September 2 at the Heimathafen Neukölln as they present new songs. One day prior to this bassis Ryan Mahan will be joined by journalist Josh Hall to talk about horror and noise in the reproduction of colonialist silence at the Passage Kino. Tickets for both events are available at the Pop-Kultur Berlin Ticket-Shop.

Modulate with us! Final Line-Up and new discount

PK - 20percent_OffOne, Two … Oh, hello! … Just one moment … We’re almost ready … 13, 14 … 14! Only 14 days left until the start of Pop-Kultur, dear Readers

Just two more weeks to go to the next edition of Pop-Kultur, starting Wednesday, August 31st. Well, on the evening before we’ve already set up a not-so-small concert with Mogwai in the Admiralspalast (you have been informed), but that brings us directly to an everyday problem, concerning young festival enthusiasts and old hands alike: to be spoilt for choice. Exactly, whom should you go watch when and where, if there are this many concerts, talks, readings, DJ-Sets and even an exhibition?

That’s why we reinstated our movement-promoting modular system. Means: You can put together your own individual festival program to see as much as possible of Pop-Kultur, to wander through the district of Neukölln, to dance, listen – and you’re only paying for what you really want to see.

For example the magically dark Alternative Pop of Cat’s Eyes in the Heimathafen or the sunny DJ-Set of Metronomy mastermind Joe Mount in Huxley’s Neue Welt. And some of you like it more sweaty and mosh to New York’s dirtiest Punk export Show Me The Body in the Keller or become euphoric to ABRA’s hot R&B vibes in the SchwuZ. And we didn’t even talk about the Arabic singing, Israeli Pop trio A-Wa, not to mention the Turkish legend Selda Bağcan. You might notice: there’s a lot going on. But of course, some people have to leave earlier on a Wednesday night than on a Friday. We understand and have collected high-value tips by experts such as DJ Phono, Robert Stadlober or Sonja Eismann. You can find their personal program schedules under the moniker “How to Pop-Kultur”.

Curiosity will be rewarded: With three tickets you’ll get a total discount of 10%, with five tickets, it’s even 20% discount in our Ticketshop.

Thus, we couldn’t be talked out of making our festival even bigger: Simi Will brings her legendary Kiez-Bar-Talkshow to the Prachtwerk. For this unique special edition, she’ll be joined by Christian Brandes (»Schlecky Silberstein«) and Eva Löbau (»Tatort«). We’re also adding the crafted Israeli newcomer Noga Erez to the first night at the SchwuZ. The prospective Broadcast-Successors Virginia Wing are the formidable replacement for No joy who are unfortunately tied up in business. Jenni Zylka talks to Jens Balzer about Pop and beyond. Roosevelt is not only playing live but takes you to his own personal disco in a DJ-Set. And Phil Collins screens his film » Tomorrow Is Always Too Long« in the Passage Kino.

Neu dabei: Simi Will, Virginia Wing, DJ Lobotomy

A lot to take in indeed. Pop-Kultur in all its facets and pre-modulated perfectly for you. Now, it’s your turn: Modulate with us. Combine and put together your own schedule. And then we’ll see each other in two weeks.

Pop-Kultur Go – Catch ‘Em All!


»Our Parents had no Idea how big our Dreams were« – An Interview with A-Wa

Foto: Hassan Hajjaj
Photo: Hassan Hajjaj

The sisters Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim aka A-Wa have landed Israel’s first-ever No. 1 hit in Arabic language and now they not only grace Pop-Kultur with their presence but with new material. A conversation about an unusual tradition of the remix. By Thomas Vorreyer

»Music was like a game to us. Throught it we could create a world that was our own and didn’t really exist around us.« Liron Haim recollects her childhood in Shaharut. Only a single road leads up to the village lying above the Arava Valley. In the Mid 80s, Haim’s parents, nature-loving pioneers from the big cities, had co-founded the settlement in Israel’s sparse south. But their daughters should soon return to the rest of the world. »Our parents had no idea how big our dreams were.«, says Tagel Haim, Liron’s younger sister.

Together with their third and oldest sister, Tair, they form a band. It’s called A-Wa and »Habib Galbi« is their biggest hit so far. Four million clicks on YouTube, enthusiastic comments from all over the Arabic World, #1 in the Israeli single charts – thanks to a mix of traditional and contemporary music and also thanks to the Arabic lyrics. Thus far, no one had been able to do so. But the story behind this hit is as much about the segregation of peoples as it does of the segregation of the sexes.

And the tradition lives in grandma’s living room. The Haims descend from Yemenites. Yemen had been home to a large Jewish community for centuries. But even before Israel’s independence in 1948, it suffers under pogroms. The situation deteriorates during the Arab-Israeli War and almost 50,000 Jews are evacuated mostly via airplane until 1950. »Our grandmother came to Israel when she was 13 years old.«, Liron accounts. »She married our grandfather on the way. She didn’t speak Hebrew, as only men were allowed to do so in Yemen.« Grandma Haim tried to integrate as quickly as possible and hid her Arabic-Yemeni culture for years. To her grandchildren, she spoke Hebrew. But she also sang them songs from her childhood. Fortunately.

It’s common among Yemenite women to sing while doing the housework. Due to strict religious rules in Yemen, they spent most of their day separated from their husbands but in the company of other women. »Jewish women had a greater connection to Arab women than to their partners.«, Liron sums up. While the women took care of the household and the children, they sang Arabic songs and thus escaped their daily life, says Liron: »For the women, singing was the only possibility to express their feelings.« In »Habib Galbi« A-Wa sing: »Love of my heart, my eyes/ It is a riddle to me, who pitted you against me.« But the singing was often a mirror of their hopes as well. In the successful music video for the single, A-Wa try to fulfill these dreams.

The trio plays three women in the desert, doing the housework under the reign of a patriarch. Until they escape in a Jeep, wearing bright pink Galabias, the traditional dresses of the region. »The women we play in our video are not given their freedom. They just take it for themselves.«, Liron puts it.

»Pink is the greatest possible contrast to the desert and is the most feminine color we could imagine, a color of freedom and optimism.»

In pink, A-Wa create a new world.

One of the reasons A-Wa became known with songs like »Habib Galbi« is Tomer Yosef from the band Balkan Beat Box. The producer is Yemenite as well and discovered the sisters on YouTube where they had uploaded singing videos. In English, in Hebrew, and in Arabic. »Tomer said: You know, you sound great in English and Hebrew, but there always is this Yemenite echo,« Liron remembers. »Why don’t you go through with that?«

A-Wa combine the old with the new

Said and done. Together, they record 12 Yemenite and Arabic classics for the first album. The three-voiced folklore is highlighted by a band sound and a beat. The latter is oriented towards Hip Hop and Reggae, those sounds brought to the Haims by 90’s MTV. It’s a great fit. Maybe because Yemenite traditional songs are a predecessor of today’s remix culture – orally passed on and versatile, as Tagel says: »Every woman can and could add lines or remove them, that’s why there are a lot of different variants of single songs.« The Haims are confidently continuing this tradition.

In tense times, such as ours, A-Wa manages to equally appeal to Jewish Israelis and Arabs. At their first Berlin concert in the Lido in 2015, Israelis, Lebanese, Syrians sang along, Americans and Germans wildly danced with them. And in Germany, a Yemenite singer was once at the top of the charts. In 1988, the world star Ofra Haza climbed them with her song »Im Nin’alu«, which is based on an old Hebrew poem, though. »Haza opened a lot of doors.«, Tagel finds. »She made Yemenite music popular long before YouTube.« While Haza’s hit was still filed under »World Music«, today’s generation can at best laugh about such clichés.

Their debut album, long published in Israel, has only been released in Central Europe this summer. Meanwhile, A-Wa have worked on new songs, this time, self-written ones. They thereby use Arabic, English and Hebrew language and at Pop-Kultur, A-Wa will play their new songs for the first-ever time in Germany. »To connect the old to something new and authentic, that is an Israeli tradition.«, says Liron.

Their grandmother will surely be happy about it. Since their grandchildren have become successful, she suddenly speaks a lot of Arabic and remembers the times in Yemen. Her old world seems to have returned to her.

A-Wa are performing live at Pop-Kultur on September 1 at the Heimathafen Neukölln. Tickets and additional information can be found right here.

How to Pop-Kultur with … Chris Köver

Chris Köver

Pop-Kultur 2016 is approaching fast and we’re pretty sure that you already faced our module plan, right? Chris Köver did and we’re happy to share her ideas in a new edition of “How to Pop-Kultur.” The founder of Missy Magazine is also writing for WIRED Germany these days and likes to call her self part feminist/ part tech. And you can also sense that in her plan for September the 1st, so get ready to get excited with these recommendations.

On Thursday, I’ll go to see Fatima Al Qadiri’s talk. I loved to read her Global.Wav columns in DIS magazine. And when an Arab artist makes an album on police brutality in the USA, I want to hear what she has to say about it.

Thereafter, I’m totally looking forward to seeing Skinny Girl Diet. I read about them in a British Fanzine a year ago and had an immediate crush on them. Postpunk’s feminist daughters, I want more.

If I’ve got enough energy left, I’ll watch Tellavision, Fee Kuerten’s solo project. In Hamburg, I saw her rule the audience with her self-hacked machines during a concert in the Hanseplatte record shop. That really impressed me. After that, I’ll probably be happy, drunk, and tired and I’ll haul myself back home because there are going to be texts that will have to be written the next day.

Wer sich den Pop-Kultur Plan von Chris Köver selber zusammenstellen möchte, der bekommt mit dem »Wahl-Abo« einen Rabatt von 10%. Und ab 5 Tickets gibt es sogar ganze 20% Rabatt.

Favourites by The KVB: An Exclusive Pop-Kultur Playlist


The diversity of our Pop-Kultur modules is something quite important for us. Let’s just take the evening of September the 2nd at Huxleys Neue Welt. The legendary Thurston Moore is coming over with his noisy guitar rock cosmos while Zola Jesus is about to take us to her dark synthetic world prior to Mr. Moore. And right at the beginning of the night The KVB take us even further beyond the twilight.

Nicholas Wood and Kat Day are definitely a productive musical couple. Ever since they joined forces back in 2010 they recorded and published about one album per year as they present you a magical 80s-infected mixture of shoegaze, Industrial, Krautrock and Electronica. The result sounds a little like a nightmare; like a somewhat threatening but still pleasant one and we can’t wait to experience this live at Pop-Kultur 2016.

For our Spotify-Account THE KVB have compiled an exclusive playlist of favourites form the ongoing year but also songs with a special connection to Berlin. The selection is quite sinister, of course. Well, we’re not really surprised.

THE KVB perform live at September the 2nd at Huxleys Neue Welt. You can purchase tickets for the show right here. If you buy three or more modules for Pop-Kultur you can get a discount of 10 %. Just click at »Wahl-Abo« in the shop and you are good to go.


How to Pop-Kultur with … Robert Stadlober

Robert Stadlober
Foto: Christian Pitschl

A person like Robert Stadlober doesn’t needan introduction. In the past almost two decades he became a stable figure in Germany’s cultural landscape as an actor, musician and passionate person when it comes to ambitious art projects. Expect the unexpected. It’s no surprise that Mr. Stadlober enjoys the diversity of Pop-Kultur Berlin as much as we do. This is his personal schedule for the final day of the festival on Friday.

At first Jens Balzer. I usually read him in the paper every morning, which helps me through the day most of the time. I hope that, as a cherry on top, there will be a witty heckling of Tim Renner by some audience member. He did leave a lot of burnt ground. Then Heimathafen. Exploded View and Malcolm Middleton. The first I don’t know but want to urgently change that, the latter lead me through more than one drunken night, why not see him sober for once. Algiers might be to IN for me.

So, I’ll go back to the Prachtwerk to watch Joel Gibb. His Hidden Cameras used to be very IN as well, back when I had an NME subscription. And as an exception, they were right that time. Nowadays the NME is something like the 030 Magazin in Berlin used to be, only for England. But Joel Gibb still makes very good records and more importantly: he plays very good concerts. That’s a fact. Then I’ll run to the Passage Kino. Maybe Hendrik Otremba started late. If not, I’ll just get to watch the end. He’ll tell me the rest, following his enlightening reading. And after he introduced me to Richard Hell, with whom we’re going to do a little tipsy good night dancing to the music of Zebra Katz and check out the rest of the party in the SchwuZ.

Robert Stadlober remains restless. He’ll be reading “The Aesthetics of Resistance” by Peter Weiss together with colleagues within 10 days at Berlin’s HAU in the course of a festival celebrating the 100th birthday of Peter Weiss. He’s currently also working on a new play which will be premiered at Ackerstadtpalast in Berlin in early 2017.

If you want to compile the Pop-Kultur Plan of Robert Stadlober for yourself you can get 10% off via the »Wahl-Abo« .

How to Pop-Kultur with … Michel Abdollahi

Foto: Tim Bruening
Photo: Tim Bruening

Performance artist, painter, journalist – Michel Abdollahi is many things but mostly a person full of surprises. His humorous and investigative reports clearly help to support the intercultural feeling in Germany. He’s putting his finger in the wounds of right-wring parties and fights those forces with irony. Since Pop-Kultur is packed with diversity in terms of the origins of our artists and their musical variety it makes total sense to have Michel Abdollahi on board for a new edition of “How To Pop-Kultur” right here.

Well, at first I wanted to see Phil Collins on Wednesday until I saw that it isn’t the singing frog from Genesis, but the British video artist. Now more than ever. After that, I’m going to relax with The Weather Station (I hope it will be very tender) and get drunk, to be strengthened for listening to Kathrin Weßling. I love listening to Kathrin. She is such a good storyteller. We have known each other for so long. I hope, she’ll be a little drunk too. Then sleep.

On Thursday it’s Selda Bağcan & Boom Pam, wild mix, gotta hear that. She reminds me of so many things. And I like that Anatolia and Israel meet on a musical basis. Friday is Heimathafen day. This time, with Algiers. Feels like delicate Brit-Pop, but comes from Atlanta. I hope it’s gonna rain. Then it’ll fit even better.

If you want to compile the schedule of Michel Abdollahi for yourself you can get a discount of 10% with the almighty »Wahl-Abo«.

How to Pop-Kultur with … Sonja Eismann

Foto: Alicia Kassebohm

If you need to ask yourself the important gender questions, why not doing it with a proper expert? Sonja Eismann is not just co-editor of acclaimed German Missy Magazine but also likes to deal with the representation of gender in popular culture, feminist and journalistic writing and fashion studies. The diverse line-up of Pop-Kultur 2016 is just way too perfect for her to have a closer look on it. For our newest “How to Pop-Kultur” we got Sonja Eismann selecting her favourite gigs for Thursday, September 1. These are her tips.

As someone who stays in her quarter – a Kiezbody as opposed to a Kiezhopper if you will, or is that something supposedly outing me as an uncool not-long-established Berliner, like Kreuzkölln, where I live and that’s supposedly not called that at all? It doesn’t matter – in the end, it’s the ideal. On September first, I’ll just have to hop on my bike and roll down Karl-Marx-Straße (Beware of the traffic!), and that’s where everything goes down. I would like to start with Fatima Al Qadiri’s talk in Passage Kino and do hope that she not only talks about her Hipster-Fashion-Friends such as Telfar Clemens and if Berlin is now going to participate in their glory (which the Berlin Biennale-merch seems to suggest), but also gives enlightening input on Gulf Modernism.

In Heimathafen Neukölln, I’ll then be waiting in suspense for A-Wa, just like everyone else I guess. They immediately got me with their desert chic video for „Habib Galbi“. Maybe I’ll even get to see some of ESKA, the „singing mother“. That would be awesome, and not only, because I’m a „writing mother“ myself.

Afterward, I’ll quickly check out SassyBlack, and I look forward to finding out how her afro-futuristic sound, also known as „Granola Hip Hop“, sounds in a solo DJ-set outside of the TheeSatisfaction context.

Then I’ll hurry into the Keller to see Skinny Girl Diet. I want to know how WoC-Riot-Grrrl sounds and is performed in 2016, even if not primarily sound-wise, definitely in its political aspects.

I’d like to see at least a bit of Fishbach because the french magazine Les Inrocks has proposed them to me as the hype of the hour more than once. And of course, I’ll have to check out Fatima Al Qadiri’s DJ-set.

Sona Eismann’s Pop-Kultur Plan for September the 1st

18.30h – 20h Passage Kino, Talk Fatima Al Qadiri
19h – 22h Heimathafen Neukölln, ESKA und A-Wa
22h – 1h Keller, Skinny Girl Diet
22h – 4h SchwuZ, Fishbach, Fatima Al Qadiri, DJ SassyBlack

If you want to compile the plan of Sonja Eismann for yourself you can get 10% off with the »Wahl-Abo« for Thursday.