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Nina Hagen


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East Berlin, German Democratic Republic (1971 – present)

Catharina “Nina” Hagen (born on March 11, 1955) is a singer from former East Berlin, German Democratic Republic; now Berlin, Germany. Her musical career began when she left school at age sixteen, and went to Poland in 1971. After that, she returned to Germany and joined the cover band Fritzens Dampferband (Fritz’s Steamboat Band), together with Achim Mentzel and others. She added songs by Janis Joplin and Tina Turner to the “allowable” set lists during shows.

From 1972 to 1973, Hagen enrolled in the crash-course performance program at The Central Studio for Light Music in East Berlin. Upon graduation, she joined the band Automobil (picture), which released a well-received album in Germany, including her first hit “Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen” in 1974.

After a concert for a West German labour union in 1976 her stepfather, Wolf Biermann, was forbidden to return to the GDR. Because of their protests against it her mother, Eva-Maria Hagen and Nina were thrown out of GDR in 1977, and followed Biermann to his hometown Hamburg.

Nina subsequently met West-Berlin photographer Jim Rakete (who also produced some bands he shot the cover-photos for - like “Nena” some years later). He brought Nina together with the politically left-wing band “Lokomotive Kreuzberg” (later known as “Spliff”): thus the “Nina Hagen Band” was born.


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