Rammstein Music: The German Challenge in the Philippines

I never heard of Rammstein, not until I met Michael Herzenstiel, a German national married to a Filipina who desired to celebrate his 60th birthday in a unique way. He wanted to tap local talents to interpret Rammstein music in dance form over and above the Filipino dances he wanted featured on the first night and modern dances using Filipino and international pop rock music on the second night highlighting Rammstein music. We were to perform in two consecutive nights at the Marcosa’s Cottage Resort at Moalboal, Cebu which he ran with his wife Marsing. I found it to be one of the more challenging projects I have encountered.

The first time I heard Rammstein music my energy went haywire. Don’t get me wrong. I am no newbie to heavy metal. I have had my head-banging, band-jamming, wild-party-days in my young adult life. In fact, I liked using rock music as materials for various performances in the past. However, I had shifted gears along the way and preferred the more sedate kind of music especially that I have gone into doing daily yoga exercises and meditation

My Heart Burns - depicting characters that come in dreams

The Challenge

I needed time to attune myself to heavy metal rock music again listening to lyrics I could not even understand as they were in the German language. I had to take a breather before I went about listening to the six other Rammstein materials we were suppose to interpret. Michael gave me the English translation of the songs which I scanned before listening to every other song. I noticed the lyrics were very poetic and though I could not fully understand the meaning of each, in one sitting, I felt the songs seemed dark, tragic and heavy. They spoke much of the pain and horror in life as a result of socio-political issues, socio-psychological issues and the “misuse” of modern science. You can just imagine therefore, how tired my spirit was after listening to all the Rammstein sounds, even with breakers in between.

I went researching more about this band from East Germany and found out how popular the group was in the rock scene. Interestingly enough they named their band from the location of a German tragedy where 80 people were hurt and killed as the result of a crash during an American Air Force flight show, adding an "m" in the name. The literal translation of "ram stein" is a battering ram made of stone. Knowing more about the band gave me a different perspective of their music.

The Lesson

I was getting the “feel” of things and during one of our project meetings; Michael was kind enough to share his concept of how the songs could be interpreted. I could sense his passion over the songs and saw a side of him that made me appreciate the depth of his being while at the same time adding dimension to Rammstein and their cause. The meetings allowed me to see things in a more positive light which I believed contributed to the final outcome of the interpretation.

  • you can never generalize rock music as bad per se
  • no matter how “heavy metal sounding” Rammstein music can be, it can actually grow on you
  • a tragic, violent, eerie message in rock songs can be tempered by creativity
  • a song in foreign language can use simple dance movements to depict its meaning and make it more understandable to the local audience
  • rock music can have a different flavor when interpreted in a different way
  • facing the challenge of interpreting foreign rock music can be a growing experience
  • Rammstein music goes beyond singing about love, hate, tragedy, anger, violence and sex in its most extreme form – they make you think

Mother- the dance expressing the pain of a cloned man who never felt a mother's touch

The Performance

Michael and his other German friends, who came all the way from their respective cities in Europe, were there at the celebration. Were we tense? Of course! Who wouldn’t? There we were a bunch of Cebuano artists anxiously waiting for the time when we had to perform our version of Rammstein music in dance form before a group of Rammstein fans. We didn’t know if they would like it or abhor it. We weren’t sure if we could meet their expectations or not. All we knew was that we would give it our best.

We had four sets of performance that night with Rammstein being our last set. Our energy level rose as we heard some applause during some performances and after each dance. They seemed courteous enough to acknowledge our effort but were they satisfied? The answer came after the curtain call and the spectacular fireworks display. The foreign guests actually gave us a standing ovation. I was not sure if it was a courtesy act or not. Amidst the noise of fireworks and the spontaneous dancing going on I motioned the performers to go and say thank you to Michael asking Michelle (Ripplemaker) to lead the group. It was only when I saw how Michael hugged Michelle that I knew we passed their standards.

I was on my way to join the group when Michael’s good friend met me and told me he never expected Rammstein to be done in the manner we did. He congratulated me with a warm hug and shook my hand with vigorous appreciation. I finally found my way to the group and Michelle directed Michael’s attention to where I was and a big excited hug full of congratulations and thanks followed suit with lines that went ”I knew you were the right person to handle Rammstein” or something to that effect. With the client and guests being happy we were more than happy. .

Don't Die Before I Do - The Half Man Half Woman Act

The Gratitude

Allow me to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Michael for believing in the Filipino’s talent and skills by providing venue for the performing artists to hone their craft in this project. It is not too often that foreigners dare to tap the local talents in special projects. It is therefore amazing to find one who would invest on local talents. Thank you for the chance and the challenge. It has all encouraged us to become better at what we do. We also appreciate the generous gesture of Michael by uploading his video coverage of our Rammstein performances in Youtube. The videos help this hub come alive and I am very grateful.

Now we can finally say “We dared face the German challenge that is Rammstein and succeeded with simplicity and passion.”

Daisy Ba-ad

Ripplemaker's Comic Act on Rammstein Night Greeting Michael

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Comments 19 comments

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Dayzeebee! Congratulations for doing a fantastic job in directing the two day show at Moalboal,Cebu Philippines! Yes, as an artist it was gratifying to have been hugged by Michael with these words, "Michelle, it was beautiful!!!" And those words warmed my heart and the hearts of all the performers. The audience truly enjoyed the show even the staff and crew of our lights and sounds team. :)

I am also not into rock music (obviously) but the songs grew on me. And watching that segment was so heart wrenching and it was so gripping, that it brought tears to my eyes. You are so right, Rammstein music did make me think and reflect and we grew in the experience. Thank you Daisy for including me in this project. Congratulations to everyone for a job well done! :)

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Ripplemaker, congratulations too for doing a great job at being the comic act of the night! You are truly an effective performer. I'm sure our hubber friends will delight in watching you strut your stuff in this video. I can't help but giggle at your actions and timing. You and Kurt had good rapport. Hats off! Once again cheers to all:)

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hahahahaha Doing the comic act was an experience for me! Truly! If you feel down and out, you can always watch this video and laugh. :) Thanks again for believing in me.

Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

dayzeebee, this is a fascinating topic! And ripplemaker, you've got groove, girl!

Philipo profile image

Philipo 7 years ago from Nigeria

Funny. Thanks for sharing.

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

I never heard of Rammstein either, dayzeebee. What a challenge that must have been for you and the other performers. Sounds like you all enjoyed the show very much. Wish I was there to see in person. I will definitely be back to watch Ripplemaker's comic act once my computer stops being so sluggish, I can't wait to see! hehe. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Frieda: Hahahaha Thanks! I had to do 3 comic acts that night and had a lot of fun. :)

Dottie: I'm blushing I know I am. LOL Can't wait for dayzeebee to come back and read all of your comments. hehehe

VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Hey, Michelle's your comic act was fun to watch, you've got the groove and fun spirit to do comic work! LOL! And wow, the half man-half woman act was stunning! The dancer's movements were beautiful and graceful; I could see she truly was lost in the art form. The costume of the dancer and lighting of the stage created a beautiful effect, kind of haunting if I may add. Will watch both videos again later tonight.

Thanks for sharing your art and talent with us!

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Frieda, glad you found it fascinating. It was a learning experience indeed. Isn't Ripplemaker just adorable.LOL!

Philipo, thanks for enjoying the hub:)

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Dottie, the net went dead after I posted the previous reply. Just got back from a meeting. Sorry for the late response. Yes we all did enjoy the whole experience and yes we would have loved having you in the audience. Oh do come back to watch Ripplemaker's act. I assure you it will be worth the upload waiting time.LOL. Thank you for the visit and comment. God bless:)

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hello Violetsun, I could imagine you giggling with Michelle's antics. Isn't she just awesome? I know many could probably not imagine her "acting" in such a way but she is a versatile performer. The half man half woman act was actually performed by a Filipino who grew up in Germany. This allowed him to get lost in the song. Thank you for appreciating our efforts. Much love and light:)

fierycj profile image

fierycj 7 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

I am a mad, mad, fan of Rammstein, I have all their albums, nice to see a hub dedicated to them...good one, man!

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

VioletSun: Marie, the secret was just having fun and the body followed somehow! Hahahahaha I loved all the Rammstein interpretation and the song really grew on me. Thanks for being here.

Fierycj: Just had to drop by to say glad to meet a mad, mad fan of Rammstein. :)

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Fierycj, wow a visit from a mad Rammstein fan.LOL. Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. Glad you appreciated the gesture. Blessings:)

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Ripplemaker, always a joy to find you coming to revisit my hubs and interact with other hubbers. Your light and love shines constantly. Hugs:)

Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Hi Daisy! I've read this terrific hub but I'll have to come back and watch the videos. My son used to listen to Rammstein when he was younger, he loved them. I'm looking forward to seeing you and Michelle perform to their music!

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi Shirley, great to see you and interesting to find out we have a Rammstein connection.LOL. Have not really had enough time to do hub hopping. Working on the book and a big conference in the Christian community involving live video streaming between Manila and Cebu. I do hope to do more hubbing in between. Oh yes do come back and watch Michelle passionately doing her thing in a lip sync act. I'm sure it will trigger a smile and a giggle. Keep enjoying love and life. Hugs:)

Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 6 years ago from Scotland

I've followed Rammstein for a few years, brilliant band

dayzeebee profile image

dayzeebee 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi there, great to meet another Rammstein fan. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Blessings:)

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