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German Music:

Die Prinzen

Music style: Pop
Band members: Wolfgang Lenk (tenor), Sebastian Krumbiegel (tenor), Tobias Kunzel (baritone), Jens Sembdner (bass), Henri Schmidt (baritone), Ali Zieme (drums), Mathias Dietrich (bass guitar)
Name means: "The Princes"

The seven members of Die Prinzen grew up in East Germany. Most of them spent time singing in the renowned Leipzig or Dresden choirs and most spent at least some time studying music at the Leipziger Musikhochschule. They gained experience playing in various bands: Wolfgang and Sebastian founded the band Phoenix in 1981, Tobias played in Puma and became drummer for the band Amor und die Kids, a group that attained cult status in East Germany. Wolfgang, Sebastian, and Jens put on their first concert as Die Herzbuben in 1986. By 1988 they had abandoned their instruments and were singing a cappella. This integration of the sacral choral tradition into their music is what would later set the band apart from other pop bands. They were joined by Henri in 1989, and together they began attracting attention in East Germany, particularly for their song "Ich bin der schönste Junge aus der DDR."

After the Berlin Wall fell, Tobias and Ali joined the a cappella group. Perhaps it was their good luck that there was confusion over the band's name -- there was already a folk music duo named Wildecker Herzbuben. So in 1990 they changed their name to Die Prinzen. Success was soon to follow. Their first single "Gabi und Klaus" was released the following year and was an instant hit. Their first album Das Leben ist grausam appeared less than 6 months later. They picked up the 1992 ECHO award for best German band. After touring with rock icon Udo Lindenberg, the band went on their own live tour to promote their second LP Küssen verboten, and in 1993 put out their third album Alles nur geklaut. Mathias joined the group as bass player for their third album tour in 1994.

Their first four albums were all Top 10 LPs, each one more successful than the last. These early successes were a result of their collaboration with producer Anete Humpe (the older sister of Inge Humpe of 2raumwohnung). The band's characteristic a cappella sound dominates these albums. With succeeding albums, they have experimented with guitar-rock and incorporated instrumental techno into their music. Their lyrics have also became more aggressive and critical. While the following albums were embraced by loyal fans, they were not quite as well received as their prior LPs. The band took some time off from performing together in the late 1990s, and a few band members pursued outside projects.

Despite rumors that the band was going to dissolve, Die Prinzen returned to the charts with the 2001 hit single "Deutschland", in which they satirically ridicule their homeland, and the 2002 single "Olli Kahn," which wittily honors the star goalie of the German national soccer team. A new LP Hardchor appeared in 2004. Characteristic of their playful approach to their music, the album's title is a play on words: it sounds much like the English phrase "hard core" but Chor in German means chorus and is a reference to their a cappella style of music. With gold records in the double digits and at least 6 platinum albums, Die Prinzen are easily one of Germany's most successful pop bands.

Die Prinzen CDs

Hardchor (2004) | 2 CDs | LISTEN
1.Zu dir - Zu mir? | 2.Unspektakulär | 3.Glücklich | 4.Bevor | 5.Wir woll'n doch alle nur das Eine | 6.Sterne | 7.Wenn du weinst | 8.Locker bleiben | 9.Ich bring Dich ganz gross raus | 10.Ich mag Frauen | 11.Shampoo & Conditioner | 12.Guru | 13.Unsicherheit macht sich breit | 14.Revolution | 15.Demonstrieren geh'n
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Monarchie in Germany (2003) | LISTEN
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D (2001) || LISTEN
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Ja, ja, wenn Weihnachten ist (2000)
This is the band's unique a cappella Christmas CD with both traditional and original songs.
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So viel Spaß für wenig Geld (1999) || LISTEN
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Ganz oben: Hits 1991-1997 (1997) || LISTEN
1.Ganz Oben | 2.Gabi und Klaus | 3.Millionär | 4.Mann im Mond | 5.Mein Fahrrad | 6.Küssen verboten | 7.Bombe | 8.In der Nacht ist der Mensch nicht gern alleine | 9.Vergammelte Speisen | 10.Sandmännchen | 11.Alles nur geklaut | 12.Schlottersteinhymne | 13.Überall | 14.Abgehau'n | 15.Was soll ich ihr schenken? | 16.(Du mußt ein) Schwein sein | 17.Alles mit'm Mund IV | 18.Audi Victoria | 19.Der letzte Schrei | 20.Junimond

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Schweine (1995) || LISTEN
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Alles Mit'm Mund (1995) | LISTEN
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Alles nur geklaut (1993) || LISTEN
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Küssen verboten (1992) |
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Das Leben ist grausam (1991) || LISTEN
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Interesting Facts About Die Prinzen
• The band's original name was "Die Herzbuben" ("The Heart Rascals").

• Drummer Ali and bass player Mathias remained in the background for several years after joining the band. Although they were consistently an integral part of the band's live shows, the didn't officially become band members until 2000.

• The green frog that often appears on their album covers is a reference to the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale "The Frog Prince."

Die Prinzen Weblinks

Die Prinzen [German] - Official webpage

BACK to INDEX of Contemporary German Music Artists


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