The purpose of this WEB site, first of all, is
to provide an English translation of the booklets
enclosed with the two compact discs published by FLUTE & VOICE,
including photographs, graphic art, song lyrics and comments about the recordings.
picture for full-sized view (229 kB).
Cover of record album and compact disc
Flute & Voice: Imaginations of Light / Hallo Rabbit
(Artwork: Hans Reffert)
picture for full-sized view (67 kB).
Inside cover photograph of record album:
Reffert on the left, Brandeis on the right
(Photograph: Willi Hölzel)
Hans Brandeis together with Hans Reffert, one of the best guitar players in the Mannheim/Heidelberg area, founded their duo Flute & Voice in spring 1970. The same year they recorded their first record album Imaginations of Light which nowadays has become a rare collectors item (traded for 200-400 dollars). In 1973 they recorded a second album, Hallo Rabbit which was not published then, because it was not commercial, i.e. profitable enough for the major record companies at that time. Hans Brandeis moved to Berlin in 1974 and Flute & Voice stopped playing in 1975.
Last year, finally, a small independent record company in Berlin showed interest in re-publishing the recordings of Flute & Voice. As a result, a CD was released in November 1995 containing both record albums, Imaginations of Light and Hallo Rabbit. This publication resulted in a renewal of the co-operation of Flute & Voice. They started to rehearse again and recorded another CD, Drachenlieder (Dragon Songs), which was published in December 1996.
Click on picture for full-sized view (157 kB).
Cover of compact disc
Flute & Voice: Drachenlieder
(Artwork: Hans Reffert)
Click on picture for full-sized view (107 kB).
Inlay of compact disc
(Artwork: Hans Reffert)
The music of Flute & Voice itself is hard to describe: its neither rock nor jazz nor folk nor Indian nor classical but shows influences from all these musical traditions.
picture for full-sized view (44 kB).
Flute & Voice performing at the 13th German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt 1972
the general standard of central Europe, this is most remarkable, Volker Kriegel commented as the jury listened to beautiful and very swinging guitar duets from a record album. Later on, it turned out that the performers were two young musicians from a small village in the Palatinate who perform under the name Flute & Voice. ... They favor a very introverted and transparent music that fuses elements of jazz, Indian music, pop and folk music. ... This specific, often paralysing intellectualism which is an important premise for the interpretation of western music seems to remain in the background in the music of Flute & Voice. The listener feels reminded of a meditative process. Without emotion which is carried over from the musicians to the listeners, there will be no communication. Or, one may quote Ravi Shankar: The player feels, the listener too!
Jazz-Podium in April
The often used
and popular categories cannot be applied in classifying the sound products of Hans Reffert and Hans Brandeis. ... Their fusion of various influences lead to very specific forms of musical expression that have drawn the attention of music experts for quite some time. ... Music lovers will hardly be able to ignore their musical style which may be symptomatic for future developments.
|Click on picture for full-sized view (40
Hans Reffert at the 13th German
picture for full-sized view (38 kB).
... and painting in 1993
If there is anything like a Mannheim rock legend, this honorary title is due to guitar-player Hans Reffert. For more than 25 years he has been shaping musical pop culture in the so-called City of Squares. He played together with international celebrities of popular music, he inspired music experts with his highly original style, but he never gained a wider recognition... the newspaper Mannheimer Morgen wrote in a long feature article (January 9-10, 1993).
Born in 1946 in Ludwigshafen on the Rhine, Reffert has been playing guitar and banjo since he was 12 years old. He took his first guitar lessons with German guitar virtuoso Siegfried Schwab. After finishing school, he became a professional musician and joined the Adventures with whom he toured around Germany and played in U.S. army clubs. The GIs there wanted to listen to a mixture of soul, rhythmnblues and beat music and they expected the performance to be first class. Soon, in 1966, the Adventures were given a chance to go on a tour through Germany together with soul singers Percy Sledge and Rufus Thomas.
After the Adventures separated, Hans Reffert, for mere reasons of survival, hired himself out as a studio musician for Germanys super stars Peter Alexander, Freddy Quinn and the Flippers, later on, he also played during two television shows of Caterina Valente. Soon after, he enrolled at the Musikhochschule Mannheim (Conservatory of Music) to study transverse flute. He also started to teach guitar at the Music School Pöhlert in Mannheim where he joined the Renaissance-Ensemble Pöhlert playing cromorne, a Renaissance wind instrument. At that time, together with Hans Brandeis, he founded the duo Flute & Voice, later on the RocknRoll Art Ensemble and the band Zauberfinger with which he published three record albums. For six years he played with Guru Guru, the band of one of the forefathers of German rock music, Mani Neumeier. Another three record albums were the output of this co-operation. Subsequently, he joined a group from the Mannheim area, Sanfte Liebe (Soft Love) which had won the German Federal Rock Award, and brought out another two record albums.
With all these bands, collages of musical styles were typical for the performances of Hans Reffert, ... from the jingling rockabilly sound of the 50s and the clinking slide guitar of Delta blues up to the psychedelic distortion effects of Jimi Hendrix ... Rattling guitar noises clashed with percussive funk rhythms, there was a thrilling contrast between expressive blues harmonies and a cool song-speech, a beer tent waltz transformed into a weird persiflage, tango rhythms staggered through the queer fields of free jazz ... (Georg Spindler in Mannheimer Morgen, January 9-10, 1993.)
In 1993, Reffert wrote the music for the television play Zwölf Arten, den Wahnsinn zu besiegen (Twelve Ways to Overcome Madness) about the insane Swiss poet Adolf Wölfli, and in 1994 the music for the teleplay Fritz lebt (Fritz Lives). He also wrote stage music for the Mannheim childrens theatre, Schnawwl, published solo record albums, co-operated in projects of other artists like Adax Dörsam, the guitar player of German singer Pe Werner, and, and, and ... And there is still another talent of Reffert which should not be kept secret: he is a gifted painter of fantastic-realistic pictures which he has displayed in the past at many exhibitions. (Some of his graphic art is also shown on this WEB site, e.g. some ink drawings as shown in the booklet of Flute & Voice´s compact disc Drachenlieder.)
Although Hans Reffert himself is a virtuoso musician, he believes that rock music, first of all, has something to do with emotions: Once, I heard John Lee Hooker play. There were three really hot guitar players with him, and they all played impressively perfect. But Hooker only once clutched the neck of his guitar, and it sounded like a dying dinosaur. In comparison to that, the other guys merely produced handicraft.
|Click on picture for full-sized view (25
Hans Brandeis in summer 1970 ...
picture for full-sized view (40 kB).
... and in 1996
was born in 1949 in Ludwigshafen on Rhine. His father, aside from working as a professional chemical engineer, composed contemporary music which was strongly influenced by Paul Hindemith. He also awakened in his son a sense for what is musically extraordinary. When Hans Brandeis was just ten years old, his singing talent became obvious when he sang solo parts during services at the local parish. Then followed a long period without much interest in music. Only when Brandeis turned sixteen did songs of the Beatles attract him so much that his interest was revived overnight and, like in an eruptive process, burst open. Day and night he listened to the pop music of that time, especially to Mersey beat and rhythmnblues, later on to soul and blues rock. While playing in a number of college bands he learned how to play the guitar by himself. Nothing unusual. Its only remarkable that these kinds of music had no major influence on his ways of thinking and feeling musically. What fascinated him in the long run, however, were three things: the sounds of human voices, the rich variety of electric guitar sounds and the nasally singing sound of the sitar, a large Indian instrument with 18 strings.
After finishing high school (Gymnasium) in 1968, Brandeis started his university studies, first biology, then psychology, and he also took lessons in classical singing (tenor) with Kammersängerin Erna Seremi at the conservatory of Mannheim. Around that time he bought a sitar from an Indian student in Heidelberg which he learned to play by himself. When he was looking for advice regarding his broken sitar, he met Hans Reffert with whom he played together most intensively between 1970 and 1973. After Brandeis had travelled around in Germany for the most part of the year 1973, on his search for some new inspiration, he finally ended up in Berlin. In April 1974, he enrolled at the Free University to study ethnomusicology, and he completed his Master of Arts in 1981.
With Flute & Voice, two extreme individualists had come together for the purpose of artistic co-operation. Berlin, however, was a different kind of place, a metropolis that still forces many individualists into self-centered isolation. In Berlin, Brandeis found it most difficult, therefore, to find partners for musical activities in the spirit of Flute & Voice. He changed to playing jazz rock music in several casual bands. Under the pseudonym Cyril Claud, he also co-operated with Peter Baumann of Tangerine Dream on a studio production of disco music. Occasionally, he was asked to join recording sessions as a studio guitarist. As a sideline, he devoted much of his time to guitar construction and built his own electric guitar with a very unusual design which he also used for a number of recordings. But, first of all, he studied Asian music and, since 1976, he has carried out seven research trips to the Philippines during which he documented and tape-recorded more than 110 hours of traditional music of the southern Philippine mountain tribes. Today, Hans Brandeis lives and works as a free-lance ethnomusicologist in Berlin and publishes the results of his research in articles, books and compact discs.
Some people say that the 60s and 70s were a terribly boring and deadly dull time. In Germany, at that time, concerts by pop celebrities were staged only once a year if at all. Radio programs of pop music were broadcasted for only one hour each day, at best. There were hardly any opportunities for German musicians to perform aside from the clubs of the American GIs. Today, whoever wants to live an unconventional life style will just rely on one of countless ready-for-use models of being different. At that time, however, life was still handmade, and the really exciting movies only could be seen in ones own fantasy.
When the two of us, Hans Brandeis and Hans Reffert, met for the first time in autumn 1969, it happened out of a common interest for the Indian sitar. In the beginning, we tried to form an experimental group, together with other musicians. We did not succeed the musical ideas and personal developments were just too different.
Then, in April 1970, there was this memorable weekend when we locked ourselves for three days inside Hans Refferts room crammed with comics and things for painting for a musical retreat. While we were experimenting from early in the morning until late at night, we developed the concept for our first record album.
On May 20, 1970, we had our first public performance at a disco in the city of Frankenthal in front of five listeners. Until our last appearance at Fillmore club in Berlin on September 20, 1975, we played quite a number of interesting concerts, e. g. at the 13th German Jazz Festival 1972 in Frankfurt and at other festivals, at prisons in the cities of Mannheim and Wiesbaden, during vernisages, in theaters, discos and youth clubs, live in regional radio and television programs quite a variety of different occasions.
Illustration by Hans Reffert
We were on a continuous search for something new. This guy is cool, hes got it... or That one is uncool... were the two main criteria for us to distinguish two categories of musicians: the inventive, artistic creators of new sounds and the success-oriented plagiators of commercial mainstream music. Rarely did we accept other musicians as birds of the same feather, like e.g. the Scottish Incredible String Band or the American Oregon Ensemble sometimes, but mostly never.
It was our goal that all our musical compositions should differ from each other as much as possible. Therefore, we adopted elements and ideas from most diverse music traditions and styles at that time, just like today, an attitude completely opposed to commercial interests.
For special stage performances and recording sessions, musicians from very different lines joined us: soul and jazz saxophone player Thomas Böhmer, the Indian tabla player Bal Kulkarni who also had played with the Beatles sometime, Ron Martin, the black percussion player from the States, cellist and drummer Clemens Schuster and violin player Dorle Ferber, to name just a few.
Our approach to music as well as the content of our song lyrics of that time clearly reflected the zeitgeist of the late 1960s: a growing awareness for the social aspects of music and the responsibilities of musicians, hippie values, mind-expansion... Regarding the music, however, we consistently fell between all stools: the jazzers would say that our music was rock, the rockers would regard it as jazz; the folk people considered it as avantgarde music, the avantgarde musicians, however, stated that now this is really nothing but pure light music, and for the musical entertainers, finally, it was a noble (but lost) art for many a one, our music was just too complicated, for others just too naive... Our concept, therefore, was more a kind of anti-concept: not wanting to move from one point to another, but to expand from one point into all directions.
The compact discs of Flute & Voice, up to now, have only been distributed in Germany and Japan. And even there they will be hard to find in record shops. Therefore, if you wish to order copies of the compact discs, please send me (Hans Brandeis) an e-mail to
or send a letter or fax to the following address:
The compact discs of Flute & Voice can now also be ordered through the internet.
In Germany, you can order Flute & Voice: Imaginations of Light / Hallo Rabbit by clicking here:
In the United States, you can order Flute & Voice: Drachenlieder by clicking here:
- CDnow, Inc.
Page designed and maintained by Hans Brandeis,
Copyright © 1996 by Hans Brandeis. All rights reserved. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
Created: Sunday, April 28, 1996
Updated: Sunday, December 29, 2002
Forward to the Flute
& Voice Imaginations of Light / Hallo
Forward to the Flute & Voice Drachenlieder Page
Back to the Hans Brandeis Homepage.