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Concert weekend: World-famous stars perform in front of Cologne Cathedral

Concert weekend : World-famous stars perform in front of Cologne Cathedral

World stars Chilly Gonzales, Albert Hammond and Paolo Conte will be performing this weekend at Roncalliplatz in Cologne. Tickets are still available for the concert series, taking place in front of the cathedral.

Can there be a more beautiful concert venue than this one right at the Cologne Cathedral? Paolo Conte, the great Italian singer/songwriter, usually goes on holiday in August, but when he saw the pictures of the location, he immediately agreed to perform. "That's the power of images," says Bonn concert promoter Ernst Ludwig Hartz. Starting this Thursday, the square between the cathedral and the Roman-Germanic Museum will be occupied for three days by world-famous stars.

After the wonderful concerts from Van Morrison, Patti Smith and Joan Baez last year, it continues this year with Chilly Gonzales on Thursday, August 1, starting at 8 pm. Albert Hammond will perform on Friday, August 2, and Paolo Conte on Saturday, August 3. There are still tickets for all of the concerts.

The setup already started on Monday and stage is now ready. Sound and light were installed and adjusted on Wednesday. A large LED wall has also been delivered especially for Chilly Gonzales. The audience can follow the fingertip skills of the artist, who grew up in Montreal.

"It never rains in Southern California"

After working in London, Paris and Berlin, Gonzales has now settled in Cologne. He is regarded as one of the most humorous entertainers in contemporary jazz. He is also often referred to as a " grandiose genius ". Over the years he has worked with such diverse artists as Feist, Jane Birkin, Iggy Pop, Charles Aznavour, Jarvis Cocker, Drake and Helge Schneider. "I'm very excited about his performance," says Hartz. Gonzales is known for his unpredictability and a constantly changing repertoire. He is accompanied in some pieces by a cellist and a drummer.

Albert Hammond is enthusiastic about the location, which he already visited in June. It was two years ago when he gave a great performance for 1,500 visitors at the Cologne Philharmonie. The Brit, who grew up in Gibraltar and now lives in California, knows how to create a good mood amongst the crowd. Hammond has not only written a lot of catchy tunes for himself, but also for countless other artists. Albert Hammond has sold over 360 million records in the course of his career, more than 30 hits have made it into the charts. He has written world hits such as "The Air That I Breathe" (Hollies), "One Moment In Time" (Whitney Houston), "When I Need You" (Leo Sayer), "I Don't Wanna Lose You" (Tina Turner). He wrote songs for Tom Jones, Joe Cocker, Celine Dion, Chris De Burgh, the Carpenters and Ace of Base. He also released countless hits under his own name, including "The Free Electric Band"," Down By The River", "It Never Rains In Southern California" and "I'm A Train". Hammond will have to "restrict" himself, Hartz says with a smile. The Brit is known for his very long concerts. But at the Cologne Cathedral it's over at 10 pm.

Conte ditched his job as a lawyer to sing

The concert on Roncalliplatz in front of the cathedral is the only one that Paolo Conte will perform in Germany this year so the interest is high. There are still a few tickets remaining. On Saturday, the 82-year-old arrives specially on a private plane. He has already performed three times in Bonn, most recently in 2006 on the Museums Mile, in Cologne he gave a highly acclaimed concert five years ago in the Philharmonie.

The man is a cool cat, with easy, laid back vocals and a fantastic jazz band to back him. He conveys nostalgia, joie de vivre, intelligent passion, love. And then there is his beautiful language, Paolo Conte could also recite Italian tax law and we would still melt to pieces. We are glad that Paolo Conte ditched his job as a lawyer in 1974 and started a world career as a songwriter. The composer, multi-instrumentalist and painter is one who uses language as an acoustic art. When Conte sings ballads, it reflects a man who has already experienced everything, without remorse, without sorrow, but with clear melancholy.

In his songs, Conte creates a nostalgic dance café atmosphere, where seductive women dance to a discreet orchestra while he carries his former loved ones in his heart. His voice is grey and leathery, coated with memories. It is the music of his generation, a time that he can romanticize without a hint of irony. But he is not a dusty librarian who keeps the modern world at a distance, just a man who simply does what he loves. He sometimes swings like Gershwin, dances to tango and throws out melodies that become quiet hymns.

Admission on all concert days is at 6:30 pm. The box office is open from 6:30 pm on all concert days.

Original text: Dylan Cem Akalin

Translation: ck