Cécile Verny & Johannes Maikranz

Cécile Verny, the French singer with African roots, together with the guitarist Johannes Maikranz, surprise with their new project: celebrating German songs from Hildegard Knef to Zarah Leander to Schubert – unexpected and touching at the same time.

The multi-faceted and sensual singer takes on carefully selected songs of the German language. With Johannes Maikranz she has a sensitive and strong partner at her side. Clearly, two virtuosi of their respective fields meet here: the award-winning Maikranz is one of the most exciting young German jazz guitarists and composers. The European jazz scene is impossible to imagine without her Verny’s voice, who grew up on the Ivory Coast and performs on international stages for the last 30 years.

Almost playfully, the two add more facets to jazz with this project. Maikranz’s game brings some classic German songs to a modern, fresh look, while Verny’s phrasing takes away all the kitsch of the pop songs and develops an unexpected vulnerability.

Music and poetry are almost organically interwoven in the interpretations of Verny and Maikranz. The two musicians, who are based in jazz, give the works of the selected German composers and songwriters – always respectfully – a new direction and let the listener discover what a well-tuned German language can be in the best case: direct and immediate, but also full of longing and joie de vivre.

Cécile Verny has been living in Germany for more than 30 years and feels comfortable in this country. With the very personal selection of old hits and German songs, she thanks her new home and celebrates a successful piece of Europe together with Johannes Maikranz.

“I like the German language, even if I do not speak it perfectly. I wanted to show how beautiful the lyrics can be if you do not get scared of the words “Schlager” or “Liedgut”. For me, a dirndl is just as beautiful as an African boubou. The world is at a crossroad: nothing is the way it was, and new models and ways must come. As a foreigner you can feel so comfortable here that you culturally absorb a lot and enjoy the music. And here comes my “jazz past” forward: I make something of my own out of it. I may bring something new to the songs that many Germans know and may never have perceived like this.” Cécile Verny