Jacaranda Ensemble     


Märkische Allgemeine 2008-09-24

Märkische Allgemeine 2008-09-24

Alpenhorns behind bars

CONCERT “Jacaranda” thrills prisoners in Brandenburg

Thomas Hoffmann experienced a real “Johnny Cash feeling” at the Brandenburg prison. The cornet and alpenhorn player made a guest performance with his ensemble Jacaranda for about 100 prisoners and other guests in the former dining hall of the prison on Monday evening – just like the great country singer at Folsom prison and San Quentin.

The hall, which is now used as a sports hall, became a music and fun arena for the five musicians and their enthusiastic guests. “As ugly as it is, the hall has great acoustics, better than in many concert halls,” were words of praise from the saxophonist Sebastian Pietsch before he and his group conjured up a Spanish sunrise on their instruments, Richard Mosthaf using circular breathing on the didgeridoo. The five soloists from the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra whisked the audience off to unexplored musical territory. Where else can you find the combination of alpenhorn, didgeridoo, saxophone, and percussion in a repertoire ranging from Chinese folk song to Southern blues?

The men in the prison clothing – turquoise polo shirts, gray T-shirts, or dark blue sweaters – were initially astonished at the unusual instruments and the even more unusual sounds. Sebastian Pietsch’s little jokes and great sound loosened up the unusual audience.

At the end, men with fear-inspiring upper arms and tattoos were clapping rhythmically and almost as ecstatically as Thomas Ringleb and Matthias Dressler were pounding everything that gonged and vibrated and was loud and liberating. “I really liked everything except for the blues,” said Markus Wiesner (26) who still has to stay at Anton-Saefkow-Allee until 2011 and is learning from his mistakes, as he says. He usually prefers punk and hip-hop. But he thought Jacaranda was just as powerful and great as his fellow inmates Otto Matthias, Mirko Walter, and Mirko Tonicke, who are teaching themselves to play guitar and drums.

Thomas Hoffmann enjoyed the performance behind bars. “”It’s something special to get to someone like that,” he says. He rejects criticism from acquaintances who ask how they could perform for criminals. “Everyone has the basic right to music.”

INFO Today “Jacaranda” will be performing for everyone: at 7:30 pm in the Brandenburger Dom. Admission free.

Caption: Jacaranda played and joked – this time behind bars and with inmates at the prison