Elliott Sharp
Concert in Dachau.
Liner Notes Intakt CD 149


I was quite surprised when I found out from Steffen about the booking in Dachau as this is one of those place-names that have become synonymous with human atrocity. Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) sang it perfectly in his «Dachau Blues.» As the Jewish son of a Holocaust survivor, performing in Dachau was especially resonant. Amplifying those feelings, I first imagined the name of the venue, «Teufelhart,» to be some ironic comment on the innateness of evil in humans. On tour with V-Effect in 1983, we passed by the concentration camp on our way to Regensburg by van. It was late in the afternoon on a cold rainy day and the grayness of the light blended with the grayness of the camp buildings to create an iconic image of bleakness.

For this concert, Axel from the Jazzclub Dachau picked me up in Munich and we drove to the village where we sat outside the cafe and enjoyed the sunshine, pastry and good espresso. He filled me in on some of the history of the village: before Hitler, it had long been known as an artistic community, a center for painters and musicians. It is very much that way now with galleries and restaurants. One can’t but help imagining a summer afternoon in 1941 or 1942, artists enjoying a kaffeeklatsch while nearby, the horror unfolded.

Despite the weight of the Holocaust, I’m angered in the way that contemporary Jewry acts as if they own all to themselves all of the suffering of WW2, all of the extermination, all of the death, and that it gives them license to do any brutality to the Palestinians who just happened to be living (some for thousands of years) in «their» Promised Land. For those who justify this with «God’s Covenant with Abraham,» it must be pointed out that the Covenant was for Abraham and ALL of his descendents which most certainly includes the Muslim world as they regard Abraham as their founding patriarch.

Returning to Dachau, we can’t forget that Hitler’s first victims there were the mentally ill, Communists and Socialists, homosexuals. What defines a Holocaust? Is it sheer numbers? A «capital H»? Why are there not international memorials for the vast millions of Chinese executed or dead of starvation during the Cultural Revolution? Stalin’s tens of millions? The Khmer Rouge? The Hutus and Tutsis? Darfur? How many hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens of Iraq killed as a result of the illegal and immoral American attack and occupation will it take for that absurd misadventure to be recognized as an atrocity? As my friends and I often say to each other once the discussion heats up, «let’s not get started.»

The Cafe Teufelheart is run by Mrs. Teufelheart – kindly and a lover of art and music. The club has a great kitchen and the performance space seems small but can pack in a good number of people at tables on the floorspace or up in the balcony in seats. I performed two sets which were recorded by Jan. One might call the music a live remix of my various solo programs for electro-acoustic guitar. Some of the themes are well-documented on the solo CD’s «Velocity of Hue» and «Quadrature» – others, unnamed, appear suddenly and then disappear after revealing their nature.

Elliott Sharp, NYC, 2008

Elliott Sharp on Intakt Records: all CDs

Interview mit Elliott Sharp, April 2003, New York City. Von Patrik Landolt

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