As an actress, Sharon Brauner has certainly made her contribution to the moving pictures in very different genres, but it is with song that her heart lies, in particular Yiddish music.
Is this a return to her roots or a new start?
“Neither, nor”, Sharon Brauner replied. “I was exposed to the language and music when I was a child. My father spoke Yiddish when he was playing cards with friends. To me it sounded a little like German, but different. It was like a secret language.” And therefore exciting. By comparison, the songs came across as very traditional, “to put it another way, they didn’t exactly sound sexy. And then I heard the Barry Sisters - who made Swing adaptations of Yiddish songs - and all of a sudden they sounded really sexy."
“We had the idea of wrapping these songs in the flags of many countries Jews have emigrated to. And it was important to us to come up with something unostentatious, as far away from Klezmer as possible.” Classics like “Bei mir bist du sheyn” are promptly relocated to the Copacabana, waltzes are played with an Electro beat and Tangos become an early morning flirt in a night club. Then she journeys eastwards with “Tumbalalaika”, however not in a folklore style, while the ballads on her album sound more like pop than what is usually associated with Yiddish music.
Or with Jewish culture – a subject that is inevitably always a political one in Germany. “It’s not something I feel compelled to do”, Sharon Brauner explains, "I've never identified that strongly with Jewish tradition. Or with religion or Jewish associations.
My roots lie more in the multicultural Berlin and I am as familiar with street kids as I am with some weird figures from Berlin's cultural scene." Things were different in her family, “of course I learned a great deal from my parents - who survived the Holocaust - about history. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at that.”
However, her Yiddish songs deal with "the joy of living and warmth they convey. I am more interested in culture before 1933 and prefer to leave the years between 1933 and 1945 out, musically speaking. Of course I am aware that it is a culture that no longer exists, which is very sad to my mind.” And Sharon Brauner brings this culture back to us without misty-eyed nostalgia and in a sound that is far removed from the old-fashioned culture of retro, instead coming at us with a sexy swagger.
“Sharon Brauner sings and tells us about being Jewish in a clever and witty manner, as if no problems existed…her show in Berlin breaks down the audience’s reserves…glamorous and undaunted, flirtatious and sexy…and yet strangely never trivial…a woman who combines fun and earnest and laughs, even tears, effortlessly. She has that certain something. Sexy."
“A fantastic singer…her voice is in a class of its own…tender, vulnerable,…and yet so full of vitality, joyous – and always authentic. The Berlin singer Sharon Brauner gives the Yiddish songs a fixed place in her heart…What Sharon Braun sings sounds like Slavic dances, the deep Orient, black Soul and white Jazz. Yiddish folk music? Far more world music…Brauner’s voice is predestined to sing Yiddish songs that revolve around love, life and an ever-present longing for something without a name. Sharon Brauner is so skilled at getting this across that she never loses her swing despite her sometimes fragile voice.”
(Aargauer Zeitung, at the Boswiler Summer Festival of Classic)
“She enchants the audience with her voice, her songs and her aura…”
“...The heavy applause demands encores...an entertaining evening with great music and full of a joy for life …”
“When Sharon Brauner sings, there is magic in the air.”
(Berliner Kurier, Irina Schlecker)
“With a charming naturalness, she sings and talks her way through a highly entertaining repertoire on the stage at the Bar, bringing out her Jewish roots, her weakness for American entertainment and her love of a good song.
…The show grooves, swings and is great fun to watch. A highly recommendable evening out that will make you feel good. Worth seeing.”
(Berliner Morgenpost – 22.7.2011)
“Brauner lends a power to the Yiddish folk songs she performs that is reminiscent of the Blues. And she moves on stage with an energy usually reserved for rock concerts and names like Janis Joplin or Gianna Nanini pop into one's head. It is more than a perfect show. ... the sweat on her face and body after every number say it all and the enthusiasm the singer emanates is infectious....In this way, the audience is also given a lesson in easy-going Jewish normality.
...If you love or want to get to know authentic popular Jewish music, you no longer have to look to the Barry Sisters or Sophie Tucker albums from way back then, as you have Sharon Brauner in the here and now.“
(Jüdische Allgemeine – Michael Wuliger, 07.7.2011)
“...witty...self-mocking, positioned musically between Blues, Soul, Jazz and Swing, all of which are performed and experienced with feeling…Sharon Brauner’s intonation sounds sad and loving but never sentimental or lamenting.”
(Neues Deutschland – Volkmar Draeger, 19.7.2011)
“She has Berlin’s most erotic voice.”
“Sharon Brauner is a woman with the charisma of a world star.”
“Brauner shows passion, verve and great charisma, singing about love and pain with a powerful voice full of expression, and of memories of good days and bad, and the fact that every day in life contains hidden moments of joy that should be kept and celebrated. And it is exactly that joyousness and lightness that reaches out to the listener and makes the evening an unforgettable experience. The messages embodied in the songs touch the audience in this evening of concert with its many intimate musical moments, as does the voice of this Berlin vocalist who not only interprets Yiddish music but also lives it on stage with every fibre of her body.”
(Pforzheimer Zeitung – Ralf Recklies. 30. 6. 2009)