Joanna Gemma Auguri (DE)

Paris was the the destination of dreams! The tiny Polski Fiat had crossed the border and left the country of its manufacturing, carrying the five-year-old Joanna Gemma Auguri and her family. Poland was under martial law. General Jaruzelski had taken over power, and tried to crush down the freedom movement led by Solidarnosc. Thousands were arrested, the country was on the verge of a civil war, and the risk of a Russian invasion was high. So, the family had decided to escape. The journey ended in the German town of Göttingen, where Joanna was confronted with being a stranger and the loss of home.
At the age of sixteen she left home and moved to Hannover and Hamburg. “These where crazy times” says Joanna “I was trying to lose myself in excessive nightlife and barely saw daylight”. With some help Joanna managed to dig herself out of that hole. She moved to Berlin and went to acting school. “I can sing the songs of Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weil in my sleep” emphasizes Joanna “They have kept me going”. Instead of becoming an actress though, she lost her heart to music and started writing songs.

2008 Joanna Gemma Auguri was invited to play a strange event in London. It was called “The Saddest Music in the World”. The event was a contest. A large number of artists played one song each. After the end the performances the audience had to vote, which of the songs was the saddest. Joanna liked the concept so much, that she took the event to Berlin, where she promoted it on a regular basis in the “Rote Salon” a beautiful venue in Berlins infamous theatre “Volksbühne”. Besides, she played in bands, toured al lot and worked as program director for the legendary “Bar 25” a buzzing techno hangout and creative universe for the Berlin scene.

With the start of the pandemic Joanna decided, that it was time to focus on her own music. With an accordion, a zither and her unique voice she recorded “11”, her first album. She self-produced everything and started her own label “Lavender Music”. The album came out in 2021 and laid the foundation for everything that was about to materialize. “I became a booker, a producer, a label manager and played my music” Joanna describes the amount of dedication, that went into the project. Her next goal was to record an album, that would focus on the diversification of sounds and instruments. HIRAETH was born. The Welsh word describes a blend of homesickness, nostalgia and longing. A pull on the heart that conveys a distinct feeling of missing something irretrievably lost. A feeling that accompanied Joanna for all her live, and that she wanted to express in the compositions. After a year of writing songs, planning the album and the search for a producer Joanna decided to work with Ingo Krauss. He had run the Conny Plank Studio for over a decade, before opening Candy Bomber Studios in the closed down Tempelhof airport in the heart of Berlin. Quickly he gave Joanna the confidence to leave away the producer and bring the musicians into his studio to finalize the compositions. With drums, double bass, slide guitar, organs, synths, different horns, cello and a choir the recordings took place in summer 2023. “The work on HIRAETH really opened a universe for me” says Joanna. “Despite the many musicians and instruments, that where recorded, we managed to keep the fragility of the songs alive”.

HIRAETH is a dream of the unconscious, it is solace, a place where the unsaid finds a form. Music to give space to all the emotions that lie dormant within us. The songs tell of the vulnerable side of being human, the fears and dreams that may not be realisable and the place that we may never reach. There is perhaps immeasurable power and inspiration in all these longings. And when the world comes to an end, this is the perfect, bittersweet soundtrack for it.
I rather have the feeling that I came round a little more with every piece I wrote. More like shedding a layer or old skin each time. It’s no longer about being something or someone you’re not, but about getting closer and closer to your true essence.  Joanna says.
One of the songs of the album features British actress and musician Keely Forsyth.

Hiraeth will be released June 28th, 2024 on Duchess Box Records from Berlin.

Date City Venue Country
30/06/24 LÄRZ FUSION Festival Germany
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Label: Duchess Box Records

Available: Generally Available

Territories: Europe-Uk