DIE TRAKTOR - Arne und die Strümpfe
Die Traktor is a German punk rock band that usually plays a kind of music that lies somewhere between Die Ärzte and NoFX. The band has been around since 1997, and the current line-up has musicians with an age gap of over twenty years. Initially they were called Fishheads and had English lyrics, but when they changed to Die Traktor in 2001, they also switched to German lyrics. So far they have released two longplayers, four EPs and two singles. Their last album Helden from 2013 can currently be downloaded for a pay-what-you-want donation on their Bandcamp page.
As all the musicians are meanwhile also parents, they decided to do something different for once. Arne und die Strümpfe is an audio play in which the four musicians have the lead roles, but the spoken parts have been done by profession narrator Linus Koenig, who usually acts in plays. His very calm voice reminds of the narrator of German children’s TV series Die Sending mit der Maus.
I don’t want to dig too deeply into the story, apart from revealing that there is a mean witch, a nice granny, a very bearded dwarf, a rather daft forest ranger and lots of extras. The story which is aimed at all children aged 3 to 103 plays mostly in a magic forest. I can tell that the concept works well with children, as I have seen with my own nine-year-old daughter.
The twenty-five tracks consist of twelve story parts and thirteen actual songs. The latter are mostly classic German children’s songs that the band thinks important to maintain in the current canon of culture. Ancient material like Hänschen Klein and Alle meine Entchen are present, just as more recent songs like Meine Oma fährt im Hühnerstall Motorrad and Drei Chinesen mit dem Kontrabass. Don’t expect the harmless versions that we learned in kindergarten. Instead these classics have been punked up, played with distorted guitars and at a much faster pace. As two of the musicians are from Brazil and the Czech Republic, there are also two songs from these countries, and towards the end, there is an appeal towards international understanding, which is especially important in these current times.
Every sold copy of the CD means a donation of 1€ for the DKMS (Deutschen Knochenmarkspenderdatei - German Bone Marrow Donor File). But apart from supporting a non-profit organisation, the music and story on Arne und die Strümpfe are also quite entertaining, provided you have children in your home. Because it is every parent’s dream to hear their son or daughter sing: Alle meine Entchen... Oi! Oi! Oi!