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“I was never a punk”

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Eleven years after “Volksbeat”, what is the genesis of your new record, “Unity”?

I decided to manage my creativity with patience. I’ve been piling up songs and demos in a corner for years. Like those sounds where my son Otis, then 5 or 6 years old, grabbed my microphone and shouted “Everyday is dinner time”. It took me a while to finish “Unity” the way I wanted it.

We discover with astonishment that you mix reggae, blues, dub, jungle…

It is, however, what I listen to every day. I now make music to strengthen the unity of humanity. There are so many hateful, greedy and aggressive people in this world that we need to change things. This album is a prayer for all the people whose hearts have closed.

So Nina Hagen is no longer a punk?

I have never been! I was a kind of guardian mother for punk. After leaving East Germany in 1976, I was invited to visit London. I became best friends with Ari Up, the punk singer from The Slits. I was 23, an old hippie, and I became the eldest in this girl group. I have always opted for mixing genres, like singing African reggae in opera. This musical stew already existed on my first album, “Nina Hagen Band”, in 1978.

Do you listen to classical music?

I love it. She is a part of me. Just like the theatre. When I was 11, I visited the Berliner Ensemble theatre, I begged for money and

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