Who was/is Tom Kannmacher ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more


Tom Kannmacher

Folk musician and songwriter in one person

For the 'Folk-Magazin' Tom Kannmacher proved both as a soloist and as a duo with Jürgen Schöntges that "German folk doesn't have to be the same as romanticism and songwriting, not the same as beer-steep politicization or flat idiocy". Born in 1949 in Säckingen, Germany, Kannmacher played a homemade guitar at the age of sixteen after having learned to play the recorder and violin. As a teenager his first musical love belonged to folk blues. This changed when he attended a folk festival in 1971, where he heard old instruments - he was particularly impressed by the hurdy-gurdy playing of the Frenchman René Zosso - and discovered the folk song tradition of his own culture in the Stuttgart Stadtbücherei. He began to sing traditional songs as well as his own lyrics, accompanying himself on the hurdy-gurdy. "When I first appeared in public in 1971", Kannmacher recalled a few years later in the aforementioned 'Folk Magazine', "the audience laughed like in a circus at the clown, but immediately ... a small circle formed ... which was about to hear lyres ..., to search for them or, like me, to build them". Kannmacher wanted to develop a new type of song based on the folk song. He describes this process on the cover of his first LP, released in 1974: "Instead of singing past the decisive detail in English, I sing my old music in German. I have tried to develop for myself the 'Folk Movement' on a small scale based on old German songs of occidental musical instruments and the lively singing techniques of Ireland, France and - a little bit - Belgium. I didn't completely forget the blues and the best time of pop music (1965-1969). Why should I if I'm still interested?"

Kannmacher wrote the title song of his LP 'Wacka Wacka Boing and Boom Boom Bang' under the impression of some rock concerts in the Swabian province, for which he had played as 'supporting band' in 1971 and 1972. "I set a minimalist contrast to the material battle of the rock bands with my western guitar, the still completely unknown hurdy-gurdy, the dulcimer and the banjo. We folkleute believed in the power of the constant drip, but the battle became peaceful cooperation. "Rock and unplugged penetrated and fertilized each other."

In 1974 Tom Kannmacher met the Mainz teacher, translator and spoon virtuoso Jürgen Schöntges - together they became "one of the first German folk duos to convince through instrumental diversity and a valuable selection of traditional songs" ('Folk-Lexikon'). The title Die Geige, released as a single only, originates from this time. "A definitely autobiographical song, for me the most important song of my own, which is always before my eyes and ears in my daily work as a music school teacher. It was even used by pedagogy professors as a study object for students to demonstrate the essential elements of pedagogy. I still like to play the violin in the form of Irish fiddle and Hardanger fiddle, but even today's classical violin lessons wouldn't entice me away from folk styles."

Tom Kannmacher no longer writes his own lyrics today. The Irish bagpipes, the Uilleann Pipes, have replaced the lyre. And since the early eighties he has been working full-time as a teacher for concert guitar, Irish traditional instruments and Irish folk bands at the Music School of the Federal City of Bonn.


Extract from
Various - songwriter in Germany
Vol.1, For whom we sing (3-CD)

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