Portrait of German singer Nina Hagen, in concert in Brussels. She talks at length about her views on religion.
Born on 11 March 1955 in East Berlin to a family of intellectuals (her father-in-law was Wolf Biermannson, the dissident poet and singer), Nina Hagen left school at the age of 16 to join the Studio für Unterhaltungsmusik (studio of popular music), form her first band, Automobil, and record a song that has become legendary in East Berlin, Du Hast den Farbfilm Vergessen.
But it was in 1976, when her family was forced to move to West Berlin, that Nina Hagen's career took another dimension. She took trips to London, shared affinities with the rising Punk movement and released two records in quick succession, Nina Hagen Band (1978) and Unbegagen (1979) which transformed her into an icon of this new alternative and internationalist scene. African Reggae, a flamboyant song mixing English and German, demented singing of decadent opera, reggae rhythms and rock arrangements, durably stayed at the tops of hit parade charts all over Europe.
Settled in the USA, Nina tried, with mixed success, to keep pursuing this singular mix of punk, funk and opera (NunSexMarkRock in 1982, Angstlos in 1983, Street in 1991). The singer made a remarkable comeback on the front of the scene in 1999 by recording a version of Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera, followed by two albums (Big Band Explosion in 2003 and Nina Hagen & Capital Dance Orchestra in 2006), dedicated to the repertoire of jazz standards and popular German and international songs of the 1930s.