Folk legend Joan Baez last tour Queen of protest songs comes to Cologne

COLOGNE · She has spoken to generations through her song and now the folk queen will be making her last big tour. Joan Baez comes to Germany at the end of March and will perform in Cologne on August 3.

Her bright soprano was the voice of the American protest movement. Peace marches, Woodstock, mass demonstrations against the Vietnam War, even while in prison, Joan Baez sang in hope of world peace. Meanwhile, the long, black hair is white and short. But she remains political. As for her voice, says the "Queen of Folk", it is not what it used to be.

The high notes no longer effortlessly roll over her lips as they once did. "It's so hard to sing," she tells Rolling Stone. Still, she has recorded a new album. "Whistle Down The Wind" will probably be her last, she says. What’s surprising is that despite these honest words: Baez's voice doesn’t sound weak on the album by any means. Deeper, perhaps, but powerful. Goose bumps. Joan Baez has lost none of her intensity even at the age of 77.

The pure-sounding soprano of yesteryear, says the folk queen, isn’t there anymore. "My voice is more raspy," she says. More at ease with herself, but also a little worn, marked by everything she has experienced. "And that comes out in the voice."

Of the ten songs from her new studio album, the first in ten years, she has not written any herself. They are covers by Tom Waits ("Whistle Down The Wind") and Zoe Mulford. She heard "The President Sang Amazing Grace" on the radio while driving. "It just happened, and it was not my intention that the songs would be mine," says the American from New York's Staten Island.

Her music is dominated by a melodic folk guitar. And just this haunting, gentle, but at the same time slightly raspy voice. "I'm the last leaf on the tree," Baez sings. In fact, there are not many of her kind anymore. Not many who make politics with music - and have influenced an entire generation, like Baez and her longtime friend, Nobel laureate Bob Dylan.

Both were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Baez only last year. She has proven that volume is not the only way to be loud, it was said. And the same style and quality of music is reached with her new, and possibly last, album. It is a moving retrospective of her life as a musician and activist. She doesn’t see herself going into the studio again. Her tour in spring and summer is expected to be the last big one. From March 25th she will be in Germany.

Joan Baez will perform at Cologne's Roncalliplatz on August 3 at 8 pm. Tickets are available in Bonn ticket shops of GA: Orig. text: Theresa Münch Translation: Carol Kloeppel

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