• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
In addition to lederhosen and Octoberfest, Bavaria is also known for “Blasmusi,” or brass “oompah-pah” music. Still broadcast live on Bavarian public TV, “Musikantenstadl” includes a mostly elderly audience clapping and doing a lot of schunkeln, a kind of rhythmical swaying in unison. Most young and urban Germans see this tradition as more than faintly ridiculous.
But things may be changing with the arrival of LaBrassBanda, a five-member brass band from Chiemgau in Upper Bavaria that aims to bring Bavarian brass to the club scene and eventually to international audiences. LaBrassBanda adds youthful energy to tuba, trumpet, and trombone rhythms with drums and a bass guitar.
“Traditional German brass music is slow, it’s boring, it’s not virtuoso at all,” says Helmut Neumann, head of Asphalt Records in Berlin. “But ... LaBrassBanda ... they have the power. Because they are ... rootsy, rough, really crude, and exciting.”
In January, LaBrassBanda played to an enthusiastic and hipster audience of a thousand in an alternative club in Berlin. After touring Germany, LaBrassBanda is scheduled for a number of gigs in England.
“I think people will see that we are not copying anyone,” says bass player Oliver “Olli” Wrage. “We’re ourselves. We’re original.”