Ute Lemper Honors Sacred 'Last Musik' Before Revealing Her '9 Secrets'

By Philip Trapp on Apr 04, 2016 08:46 PM EDT

German singer Ute Lemper will deliver a doubleheader of original performances this spring in New York City. The cabaret star's new project, Last Musik: Songs for Eternity, debuts this week at the Center for Jewish History; her collaboration with bestselling author Paulo Coelho, The 9 Secrets, unfolds at Symphony Space next month.

Songs for Eternity is the vocalist's recent effort with Italian musicologist, Francesco Lotoro. The cycle is a solemn catalogue of songs written in concentration camps during World War II, methodically compiled by Lotoro. Its premiere performance, Wednesday's concert will serve as a benefit for the investigation and research of further works.

The undertaking is a passion project for both artists. Lemper is a longtime performer of the works of Kurt Weill, a leading German-Jewish composer who resided in the country during the German Reich. As the singer told Jonathan Frank, she has long sympathized with the historical Jewish plight in Europe, hoping to use her music as a vehicle for education and understanding:

"I took this to be a mission for my life -- to bring this information to a different generation of Germans. Because my generation -- I was born in 1963 -- we, obviously grew up with a good education about what happened under Hitler, but not on a personal level of grief. It was treated as 'history' and even though it was close history, it was just something that wasn't spoken about too deeply."

As we previously reported, The 9 Secrets is Lemper's musical medition on life from the view of Paulo Coehlo's 2012 book, Manuscript Found in Accra. Described as an "inspirational journey through both the Middle Eastern and Western landscapes of music and song," Lemper elaborated on her desire to depict the material in song upon reading the mystical text:

"Paulo's book 'Accra' is a gift to the world and if I can enhance it only a little bit with this 3rd dimension of musical context and personally heartfelt compassion, I am eternally grateful."

Last Musik: Songs for Eternity is a benefit fundraiser at the Center for Jewish History on Wednesday, April 6 at 6:00 p.m. The 9 Secrets concert takes place at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space on Friday, May 13 at 8:00 p.m.

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TagsUte Lemper, Paulo Coelho, The 9 Secrets, Francesco Lotoro, Last Musik, Kurt Weill

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