Note: This post is going to make generalizations and will likely anger some dear friends.
Karneval music in Germany.
It’s pretty bad.
It’s really bad.
I mean, I think… I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it the past couple weeks as Karneval repeatedly pounded down my mind’s door, loosened my psychic defenses and embedded itself deep in my brain.
Carnival in Brazil has those samba lines. Trinidad & Tobago rolls to soca and calypso. New Orleans’ Mardi Gras has some great stuff.
But Karneval music around Cologne… hrrrmmm
There’s a strange structure to the whole deal, I mean Karneval in general.
Frequently depicted as lacking a sense of humor or a lightness of being, people here seem to engage in Karneval as a way to collectively demonstrate that they, like everyone else in the world, can pass out in their own vomit, make out with strangers and grind with others in furry suits.
People enjoy it – and I enjoyed taking part last year and this year (Part I, Part II) – but it feels like there is a bit of a self-awareness that comes with the partying. A sort of, ‘look at what I’m wearing, I do this because I’m not taking myself seriously’ kind of deal.
My new hypothesis around Karneval music is that the music was purposely created to be bad. So bad, in fact, that to truly enjoy it one has to suspend all judgement, as if to prove your dedication to debauchery, and submit to the sing-songy, straight-forward rhythm and rock yourself through to the furthest limits of inebriation.
It should be noted that at some point Karnevalsmusik, like the music of Los Tigres del Norte, quickly becomes associated with good times and happy memories. While this does not necessarily make it good, it does imbue the music with a special nostalgia that leaves everything golden and fantastic.
Sitting around a table or in a crowd on the streets singing and swinging with old friends, new friends and folks yet to meet prompts a smile and an appreciation of all things good. The music starts the motor, but the goodwill and beer bring you home.
On that note, please find a sampling of Karneval musics below.