“Der Tagesspiegel” – Choir

In a welcoming event, choir members of the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel sang for refugee journalists from different countries around the world. Part of a special workshop, the event—which included German, Arabic and Kurdish songs—was hosted by the newspaper with the aim of introducing refugee journalists to the newspaper’s different departments.

von Hiba Obaid

The members of the Tagesspiegel choir are from many different cultures. Photo: private/ Tagesspiegel Choir

Der Tagesspiegel is a well-known and well-trusted German newspaper. Probably very few readers, however, realize that, after work, a group of Der Tagesspiegel employees meet and sing together.

Today, the newspaper’s choir boasts a large number of singers, many of whom come from different cultures and backgrounds. Australian pianist Kim Eustice leads the choir, and is responsible for choosing the program for every concert. These unique lineups usually include songs in many languages, from English to German, French, Arabic, Kurdish and others.

The idea of creating “Der Tagesspiegel choir” was born during a birthday party, at the suggestion of Dorothee Nolte, editor for “Politics and Concepts”.

A soprano, Dorothee Nolte said she was eager to bring oriental melodies to the choir after meeting Ajo Amin, a 39 year-old Syrian Kurdish Bass type singer at a party, a year ago. “We had many discussions about music,” she said. “I invited him with his friends to one of the cultural salons which I have been organizing at that time. After watching him singing in one of the Kurdish events in Berlin, I asked him if he would like to join our choir.”

After that, Kurdish and Arabic songs became a fixture in weekly rehearsals. “It is really a great thing to be able to sing with your friends,” said Nolte. “I like having this possibility to participate in special events organized by our newspaper”.

Of course, music has come to form a bond between the newspaper team and the people coming from other countries. Nolte adds, “I have learned a lot about the other cultures–and I had the opportunity to introduce our German culture too.”

Ajo Amin said the experience was an important one for him, as well. “I joined the choir because of my passion for singing,” he said. “Unfortunately, I did not have a real experience with any choir in Syria, so it is really my first experience”.

For Ajo Amin the choir’s rehearseals are a very special event: “What makes Der Tagesspiegel choir special is the love, spontaneity and friendship between all the singers. Every time we meet in the newspaper center in Berlin for the rehearsals, we sing, laugh, share our stories and news. Sometimes we meet at concerts or at the cultural salons that my friends organize by themselves. It really makes me feel at home”.

Hiba Obaid is a Palestinian Syrian writer born in 1990 Aleppo in Syria. Graduating from Arabic literature department at the university of Aleppo was a big step for her to become an Arabic language specialist. During her life in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Germany she wrote sor several magazines and newspapers in addition to revising collections of poems before publishing. She is living in Berlin since Oct. 2015. Here she is a member of the Tagesspiegel-Choir and part of WIR MACHEN DAS.