AWARD 2015

Laudatory speech for the laureate of the


Klaus Doldinger & Sarah Bergh Festival Award 27.Africa Festival Würzburg 2015

Klaus Doldinger & Sarah Bergh Festival Award at the 27th Africa Festival Würzburg 2015 // © Bugs Steffen

The person who will receive the first Festival Award this year can virtually be called a fixture of the Africa Festival, as she has been a part of it for a long time.

When you meet her on the festival ground she is always smiling. She embodies kindness and irresistible serenity.

You always enjoy starting a conversation with her. But you should bring along some time. Because she likes to talk, sometimes a lot. But never too much. And she has something to say because she is very educated. At the university at which she studied, she didn’t settle for one subject, but chose to do several.

This person exudes charm and energy to the same extent. Whatever she does, she does it with great commitment. The person I’m talking about is a young woman. She is a committed intermediary and mediator between the European, German and African culture. She is not afraid to express criticism, too. She is always open to new ideas and a helpful partner when it comes to realizing them.

She has been a guest on the stage, or, more precisely, the stages of the Africa Festival and feels at home there. She gives the audience an understanding of the artist in a very enthusiastic way. During the years she has been with us, she has become the face of the Africa Festival, and we hope that she will continue to stay loyal to us for a long time. This year, the first Festival Award goes to our highly esteemed, charming host Sarah Bergh.

Roman Bunka Portrait 27.Africa Festival Würzburg 2015 1

Roman Bunka // © Bugs Steffen

Now let us talk about the second laureate, someone of whom we as Würzburg residents are particularly proud. Because, although he already left Würzburg a long time ago, he is still one of us. We also still consider basketball superstar Dirk Nowitzki one of us, although he has been living in America for many years. But his career in sports just wouldn’t have been possible without Würzburg. And when it comes to our laureate it is the same.

He wasn’t born here but went to school in Würzburg. And he already rocked the stages of the city with his instrument when he was still young.  At the beginning, he preferred blue notes, and started a matching campaign with some fellow musicians. But soon this wasn’t enough for him and Würzburg had become too small. From blue notes he moved on to odd bars and several musical experiments in different bands. He travelled to other countries and continents and turned to a new instrument, which, in Germany, was only known to insiders. Africa, to be more precise Northern Africa, where this instrument is very popular, became his second home. He performed with many famous musicians and still does to this day. We are glad that he returned to his old home once again, and that this year he will demonstrate his ingenuity and virtuosity twice - at the oud and the guitar.  For his great accomplishments regarding the musical dialogue between Europe and Africa we honour „our“ Roman Bunka with the Africa festival Award.

Klaus Doldinger Live 27.Africa Festival Würzburg 2015 2

Klaus Doldinger // © Bugs Steffen

Actually I could do without a laudatory speech for our third laureate. I could simply name two or three of his most famous compositions and everyone would know who I’m talking about. Especially, if you occasionally spend your Sunday in front of the TV.

Superficially, many people may not perceive him as a musician who has a strong connection to the music of the African continent. But the musical style where he has been at home for decades would not be possible without the music of Africa. His numerous journeys for his concerts have also led him to Africa. And as he has always been receptive towards new things and curious towards extraordinary musical encounters, he has also performed with African and Brazilian musicians and still does.

Decades ago, he founded a band with which he travelled to the most diverse musical worlds without needing a passport.  And in those first days, a man who has made one of the most amazing careers in German rock music played the drums in this band.

I want to make it short and not torture you any longer. At this venue we would like to honour a man for his lifework, particularly for his virtually visionary role as a mediator between Jazz and African music, especially Brazilian and Moroccan music. Congratulations Klaus Doldinger.