Sunday, December 13, 2015

Colour Green: The Story Of Sibylle Baier.

For quite a few years now I have been bored with the modern music scene. It is very rare that I hear any new music these days that interests me. What I like to do is to look back to the past and find music that was overlooked at the time and is only now being discovered. People who fit into this category that I have written about previously include the likes of Karen Dalton, Anne Briggs, Vashti Bunyan, Linda Perhacs and Shelagh McDonald. You will notice that all the people I have mentioned are female singers. Maybe the reason that a lot of great female singers disappeared from sight is that they weren't so concerned about the trappings of fame and fortune as male singers or maybe in a male-dominated industry where hustle is the name of the game they just didn't get the support or couldn't be bothered to compete.

 Anyway, I recently discovered another fabulous female singer who I want to tell you about. I found her on youtube whilst looking for something else and I listened to one song which I thought was great and on the strength of that I ordered her album called Colour Green. Her name is Sibylle Baier. As soon as I put the CD in the music machine in my kitchen I knew I had stumbled across something quite wonderful. The sound of her voice is so intimate and crystal clear that you would almost think she was there in the room. Her restrained guitar playing in the background is just perfect. I immediately thought of the early Leonard Cohen albums as a comparison. Sibylle is German but to me she doesn't sound as Germanic as the only other female German singer that I am familiar with which is Nico. Sibylle's English like most German people I know is perfect. I looked on the Allmusic site to find out more about this album and words they used to describe it include calm/peaceful, dreamy, insular,light, springlike, sweet, wistful, delicate, gentle, intimate, bittersweet, earnest, melancholy, poignant and reflective. I couldn't agree more and that has saved me having to think up my own adjectives !. It is a rainy Monday afternoon as I am writing this story and listening to the album and I must say it is perfect rainy day music. I can't be bothered to discuss the whole album song by song but I have put one song below for you to listen to.

 I haven't been able to find out much biographical information about Sibylle. All I know is that she was born in Germany in 1950. As well as singing she was also an actress and was discovered by film director Wim Wenders and she had a major role in his road film Alice In The Cities. Between 1970 and 1973 she recorded some of her songs at home on a reel to reel tape recorder. She lost interest in acting and singing and gave it all up to concentrate on bringing up her children. Thirty years after she made the tapes her son Robby discovered them and made cd's for family and friends. He also gave a copy to J Mascis of the band Dinosaur Jr. He realized what great music it was and passed it on to Orange Twin Records who released the album in 2006. Since then Sibylle's reputation as one of the great singer-songwriters has steadily grown although apparently she can't understand what all the fuss is about. There is an interesting footnote to the story. In 2008 Wim Wenders who hadn't heard from her in decades was in a record shop and was astonished to find an album by Sibylle Baier. He contacted her and asked her to write a song for his film Palermo Shooting which she did. Since then though nothing else has been heard from her so I don't think she has any intention of singing again. We will have to be content with her one brilliant album which is Colour Green.


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