Saâda-Bonaire

Om Saâda-Bonaire

www.saada-bonaire.de ################ Saâda Bonaire are STEPHANIE LANGE and CLAUDIA HOSSFELD, the two German singers from of a controversial, international art music project. Fate brought the two pearls together when they met by chance in the vocal booth during a recording session for a reggae act in Bremen. Both women shared origins in the fashion industry, plus mutual aesthetics in photography, poetry and video. Their artistic interests soon spread to pop music and Stephanie and Claudia set forth on a grand voyage, accompanied by friends, studio musicians and a map of ideas culled from otherworldly places. It was no longer just about fashion and style, their declared goal this time was: intelligent, danceable pop music, combined with ethnic sounds from two different cultures (Caribbean & Arabian) and lyrics that primarily deal with woman/woman relationships. Their friend from, Bremen DJ Ralph "Von" Richthoven, was added as the third invisible member of Saâda Bonaire. Richthoven not only worked as a resident DJ for the nationally known club "Römer" in Bremen, but also as a music journalist for the Cologne trendsetting music magazine "SPEX" and at the same time acted as manager and studio producer for various bands in northern Germany. At the same time he was fulltime employed by the Bremen state government to support the cultural associations of local migrant workers. Richthoven was the perfect catalyst to realize Steffi and Claudia's ideas. Richthoven had ties to every recording studio in Bremen and knew a variety of musicians (both German and immigrant) who were happy to step into the studio and experiment with Ralph and the two girls. Saâda Bonaire was primarily a pure art project. Therefore no concrete band line-up was never created. A different group of musician's was called up for the recording of each new music title. This strategy ensured that Saâda Bonaire could maintain creative control of the project and remain independent from these (usually extremely experienced) musicians. Naturally band drama did ensue, however it was always cut short when the next line-up came in for recording a new song. Live gigs with a band were never considered. It was much cooler at that time to constantly create new maxi singles and music videos. Anyone who was even a little familiar with producing music in a recording studio would have slapped their hands over their head, called the elaborate project technically impossible and buried the idea immediately. Instead, Saâda Bonaire spent weeks with more than 20 different musicians in various studios, whose rent alone cost a small fortune (EMI footed the bill, with a vengeance…) The musicians came from various and sometimes conflicting musical backgrounds (Punk, Jazz, Ethno, Disco, Krautrock). Most spoke little or no English and finding a common thread of communication between French, German, Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic was challenging. Just follow the groove… The song ideas brought to the studio were fairly open and the musicians were encouraged to improvised freely. At some point each song tended stylistically towards a completely different genre. Saâda Bonaire's team had collected musical ideas for four complete LPs and tried to integrate these very different influences into four or later eight different songs. You can hear Funk, Disco, Reggae, New Wave, Spoken Word, Punk, Jazz, Afro-Percussion and very confusing oriental sounds. And all this at the same time. Ralph's idea of having the snare drum and bass on top of the mix was not yet possible with studio technology (advancements in computers would make this style of mixing the norm in mainstream electronic music years later). It was an autumn weekend in '83, when Steffi, Claudia and Ralph, entered a professional recording studio in Bremen for the first time. They were accompanied by an almost unmanageable stream of studio musicians and a multitude of contrasting musical ingredients. With a solid number of recordings in hand, the project was finally invited by EMI to the famous „Soundstudio N" of "Kraftwerk" in Cologne. British reggae producer Dennis Bovell was invited as well. Through Bovell's wizardry and dub stardust, the stylistically chaotic tracks were structured and made accessible to normal mortal ears. Meanwhile on the visual side, Steffi and Claudia broke aesthetic ground with by copying the make-up techniques of the Woddabe tribe in Niger, buying black chador capes from Iranian dressmakers, adding in expensive Italian high heels and British original nylons, replicating the winding technique of their turbans from the Tuaregs in Western Sahara, and even clearly referencing their BDSM idol Bettie Mae Page in photos (which were banned by EMI) in addition to having the band name written in Arabic by a Sunni calligrapher, they deliberately DID NOT tell the older Moroccan gentlemen what the English lyrics of Saâda Bonaire were about…..