Concert Reviews

The Canadian Train to Reeperbahn


As part of their pre-Reeperbahn festivities, CIMA organized a special train that travelled from Berlin to Hamburg. The three train cars, especially reserved for the Canadian and international festival delegates invited onboard, were each Canadian-ified, with paper flags, and Canada 150 trinkets scattered throughout. Onboard, delegates mingled and caught up with old friends, while a variety of artists, both Canadian and from the BIMM Berlin campus, travelled throughout the train cars to perform. Though space was tight, balancing while carrying an instrument (or camera!) sometimes proved challenging on the bumpy cars, and intercom announcements seemed perfectly timed to interfere with the music, both spirits, and talent were high.


Sarah MacDougall

Though Sarah originally hails from Sweden, she now calls the Yukon her home. Her warm voice and acoustic guitar weaves together dense stories – my personal favourite being “I Want To See the Light”, a tune about a serial killer who was targeting victims in her old Swedish hometown. Though a dark subject matter, her tone speaks of hope, and one can’t help but feel invigorated by the tune.


La Bronze

Nadia Essadiqi, frontwoman of Quebec’s La Bronze, sang and rapped an impassioned Francophone set whilst standing atop one of our train car’s seats. Though I imagine this is likely against the Deutch Bahn regulations, our conductor, didn’t seem to mind in the slightest and was just as thrilled as the rest of us with their captivating performance. La Bronze finished their short set with an Arabic rendition of Stromae’s Formidable.


Teresa Bergman

The moment Kiwi Teresa Bergman stepped on ‘stage’ with her pink printed maxi dress and wide smile, the train decided it was the opportune moment to engage in multiple sharp turns and a monologue length announcement. Despite the fancy footwork and increased volume required, Teresa laughed it off, her playfulness evident in both the tunes she penned, the cover of ‘Billie Jean’ she reinterpreted, and the overall manner with which she engaged the music.


Gaby Sforza

Gaby is gifted with a velvety voice that you don’t anticipate, and yet once it’s out it draws you in entirely. His set, consisting of both covers and some originals perfectly showcased his pipes, as well as a set of songwriting skills that are equally of note.


Port Cities

As the train pulled into the Hamburg Hauptbahnhopf station, Nova Sotian trio, Port Cities weaved together clever harmonies and guitar stylings to bookend our voyage. They were the only act of the afternoon that chose to perform entirely acoustic, and as their sounds reverberated and filled the small train car space one couldn’t help but feel enraptured.

Thanks to CIMA for inviting us onboard the Reeperbahn Festival Train!

About author

Katrina is a writer and photographer at Live in Limbo. You can follow her musical adventures at @thekatalysts.