Talking Germany“- presenter Peter Craven talks to Rolf Zuckowski about singing, social welfare and swimming.
Every Kindergarten child in Germany is familiar with his music. Rolf Zuckowski has written more than 600 songs for children and sold some 15 million CDs in a musical career spanning more than 30 years. Some of the songs have become modern classics - for example a hit sung at pretty much every child's birthday party in German-speaking countries - "Wie schön, dass Du geboren bist", or "How nice that you were born". Zuckowski began his working life as a songwriter and producer for chansonniers and pop singers like Nana Mouskouri and Juliane Werding. But having three children of his own inspired the man from Hamburg to write songs for children in the 1970s. Twice winner of the Echo music prize, the 62-year-old's most recent accolade was the Echo Honorary Award for his life's work in the year 2008.
An appearance on a popular television show made "Rolf und seine Freunde" or "Rolf and His Friends" suddenly famous across Germany in 1982.
Almost 30 years and more than 50 albums later Rolf Zuckowski can look back on an extraordinary career. He is Germany's most famous composer of music for children. Everyone is familiar with his songs, some of which have attained the classic status.
Rolf Zuckowski was born in Hamburg. His father was a sailor, his mother a hairdresser. He was one of four siblings. The family often sung together.
He celebrated his first musical success with his band "The Beathovens". Hamburg was a beat music stronghold in the 1960s. Although he did record an album with the band, Zuckowski then opted to study business administration and went to work for a music publisher.
Rolf Zuckowski is a family man. Now 62, he and his wife Monika have raised three children. They inspired him to start writing songs, in particular his eldest daughter Anushka. He composed his first pieces for her.
But Rolf Zuckowski also sang WITH children right from the outset. This is still the case and is one of the reasons for his great success. The songwriter takes children seriously, and doesn't talk down to them. The father of three is now a grandfather of two. A new experience that promises to supply him with fresh material for new songs. And not just for children - for adults too.