.

European pop star to visit Aston on cultural exchange

Andreas Spechtl

10 April 2015

An acclaimed Austrian pop star will give a free concert and lead a series of expert seminars at Aston University as part of a prominent cultural exchange programme.  

Andreas Spechtl, the lead singer of Ja, Panik, one of Germany’s most successful indie bands, will be the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Songwriter in Residence at Aston between 20-29 April. 

He will play a full set of some of the band’s biggest hits during a free one-off solo performance in one of Birmingham’s most modish cafes, 6/8 Kafé, on 22 April. The talented lyricist will also take part in a number of classes at Aston, allowing students in the German department to engage and interact with a leading and well-respected musician. 

As part of the exchange, he will direct a workshop on Austrian pop culture and discuss current political events in Germany and how they have influenced his work. 

All three members of Ja, Panik hail from the Burgenland region of Austria but have lived in Berlin for several years now. The band’s last two records, DMD KIU LIDT and Libertaria, received widespread praise far beyond the traditional confines of the alternative music press. Andreas’s poetic lyrics, which often mix German, English and other languages together, were singled out for particular praise. 

To German speakers, Andreas is seen as both a witty cultural commentator and an emotive, expressive vocalist. His onstage demeanour, vocals and lyrical preoccupations have seen him compared to Radiohead lead singer, Thom Yorke, and Manchester icon, Morrissey. 

Aston University’s Dr Uwe Schütte, who helped organise the visit, said: “I am a huge fan of Ja, Panik but I’ve never been able to catch them play live before. I’m very excited, therefore, to see Andreas perform a solo gig in Birmingham at such an intimate venue. I have no doubt it will be really great. 

“Our students in the German department will certainly benefit from interacting with a leading light of contemporary German pop culture. As his songs make clear, Andreas is someone with strong views about society and politics and it will be fascinating to hear him discuss them further.” 

The German section at Aston has a long-standing tradition of inviting major German language writers to spend time at the University, in cooperation with the DAAD. The DAAD programme gives UK universities funding and support to make these visits happen. In recognition of Andreas’s high profile, the Goethe Institut has also contributed financially to his stay. 

Andreas Spechtl will play at 6/8 Kafé, Temple Row, Birmingham, on 22 April at 7.30pm. Admission is free to all. 

-Ends-  

For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or j.garbett@aston.ac.uk