h-sf, the TV channel of Halle (Germany) talked with Freddie K., singer-songwriter from Berlin. Her first solo CD COINNEAL presents an all-round musician with pieces ranging from gospel over old Irish music to pop. Freddie composed and arranged all the songs by herself.

Freddie, your name is Friederike Kuhnt, as a singer you call yourself Freddie K. or COINNEAL. Why do you make this difference?

Freddie K.: COINNEAL is the name of my musical project. After my band STAIRS and the gospel choir I conducted, I didn't play in a set formation anymore. To make it easier I called the following changing ensembles COINNEAL. This is Irish-Gaelic and means candle. During my high school time in Atlanta/Georgia everybody used to call me Freddie. Friederike is quite hard to pronounce for Americans. And my last name has a little weird translation in English.

 You sing, you play the Celtic harp and the piano. Which one is your favourite? 

Freddie K.: Well, I also play some other instruments like church organ, hurdy-gurdy, tin whistle, recorder, bagpipes, bodhrán and if needed even the bass guitar. Nevertheless the harp is my favourite.

 Your voice alone is an instrument that could not only make pop-singers envious. Why so many other instruments besides that?

Freddie K.: I grew up with music. Almost every member of my family plays an instrument. I studied piano at the music school till advanced level, later I was educated as a church organ player at the Music Academy of Rheinsberg in Germany. And finally I tought myself to play the Celtic harp.

 Do you play all the musical instruments on your CDs?

Freddie K.: No, not all of them. But, it's hard to find good musicians. And unfortunately, many excellent musicians remind me of Uncle Dagobert.

 You mean the dollars signs in their eyes?

Freddie K.: Yes. Of course, I do also want to earn some money with my music, but I need to feel comfortable with my partners on stage or in the studio. Music is very intimate. In my first band STAIRS, I had an extraordinary drummer, who had about 30 years of experience. After our first concert he told me, he had gotten goosebumps for the first time in his life while playing music. I told him this happended to me all the time.

 Inspite of your voice and your musical diversity, you have not started a professional career as a musician. Why?

Freddie K.: There are so many things on this planet that are interesting to me. And I wouldn't want to accept all the nasty backyards of showbiz only for the money. That's why I did Celtic and Scandinavian Studies at College instead of signing my first record deal. Ireland and the history of the northern peoples have always inspired me. Since it is hard to find a good job with this qualification, I changed to medical school. I will have my final exams and take a doctor's degree in 2008.

 Does your academic education make it hard for you to accept the level of the mainstream music business?

Freddie K.: It simply makes me angry when somebody else wants to tell me how to  make music and how to act on stage.

 Because of that you have once almost canceled a concert?

Freddie K.: That was with my band STAIRS, when I was 16. I actually wanted to discuss the programme with the promoter. But he simply didn't listen and told me, I should put on some make-up. I simply turned around and started to pack my instruments. The others had a hard time convincing me to stay.

 What do you feel when you watch a TV show like "Germany - Looking For the   Superstar"?

Freddie K.: I must admit that I don`t have a TV. But I think, it is good to have such casting shows in Germany now as well. This separates people who say "I want to be a superstar" from those who want to be a musician.

 Medical school, Celtic harp, red hair to the hip - do you see yourself as a German Loreena McKennitt?

Freddie K.: Of course there are parallels. We share our interest for history, our musical genre. By the way, I usually play one or the other of Loreena's songs during my concerts. Moreover, people often think I am Irish. At the University of Bonn one of my fellow students from Ireland asked me, where I learned to speak German so well. And during a stay in Galway a bus full of Japanese tourists took pictures of me, thinking I was a real Irish girl.

 Did you play concerts in the United States yet? 

Freddie K.: Yes, in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina...

T here were less concerts with you in the last time, how come?

Freddie K.: I think college time is the best time to have children. I've got two little girls - cheeky, strong and red-haired. And I record some CDs. There is a collection of papers full of ideas in my cupboard.


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Freddie, was machst Du hier in Dresden?