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Music

Udo Lindenberg: 'As entertainers, we have to take a political stand'

As the German rock star Udo Lindenberg turns 70, DW met him during a rehearsal for his upcoming tour, which kicks off on May 20. He discussed Germany's values - and how he perceives himself.

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Udo Lindenberg interview

Udo Lindenberg on Germany

Germany has a really good constitution. The dignity of each refugee child is very important. And so is the dignity of every human being who lives here. We need to be sensitive, no matter where the person comes from, what color they are, what religion, what their political views and so on. I think Germany is a beautiful and tolerant nation. We have a few problem zones right now, a few people whose heads are a bit fogged up, who might also feel they're not being listened to.

Udo Lindenberg on DW's television

When I turn on the TV and watch Deutsche Welle's coverage of what's happening all over the world, all the disasters, then I feel we really can't be just be happy go lucky entertainers. We have to entertain, but also take a political stand.

Udo Lindenberg on East and West Germany

East Germany was intolerable. That damn wall, it had to go. I knew we had lots of fans there, people who loved our music. So of course I wanted to meet them. You know what it's like when you have friends and you can't see them. That's an intolerable situation. There was also someone I loved in East Berlin. I was always going over, and then at night I had to go back with these idiotic passes, day visas and that shit. And since then I've sung a lot of songs for and about the people in former East Germany. I always wanted to stage some great events there.

Udo Lindenberg on his current success

I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, and I have to pinch myself to make sure it's all really true. I've been in this industry for 100 years, and I still love it. It's a great joy, a huge kick.

Udo Lindenberg on his voice

I have been blessed with so much talent, to sing, and to reach people. I never studied, never studied voice, never had a single singing lesson. Nothing. It was always just for the fun of it. So it sounds authentic: people think: He is one of us, from the street. He is not a star, some distant star. He's from the street. He can't sing but he dares to go on stage. You have to get the job done. So I'll do the job, and happily. I'm so happy it's worked out.

Udo Lindenberg about himself

He is a streetcat, he is a stray cat. He is a flexible man. He does a lot of things. He sings, he dances, he paints, he's the most popular guy in Germany with a hat on - a trademark kind of guy. People honor that he has a big heart, big emotions. And he touches them. You know. By the way he sings.

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