POP-Kultur is back – live and diverse!


After two scaled-back years, the festival can finally welcome back artists and audiences from around the world from 24th-26th August. With its numerous commissioned works, DJ sets, talk formats, readings, films and concerts, the eighth edition of Pop-Kultur will take place in the usual venues at the Kulturbrauerei.

Katja Lucker, the festival director of Pop-Kultur and managing director of Musicboard Berlin, is very much looking forward to the upcoming edition:

“Pop-Kultur thrives on encounters. Although 2020 and 2021 have shown that Pop-Kultur can work great magic online, with its live events and the Nachwuchs programme, Pop-Kultur is most at home where people can listen, dance and talk together in the same venue.”

Expect moving performances from the likes of Arooj Aftab, who just won a Grammy for Best Global Music Performance. Aftab is the first Pakistani artist to receive the award, her music spanning Sufi, jazz and beyond. The global political situation is affecting Pop-Kultur acts, too, such as Ukrainian rapper alyona alyona, who made her German debut at the festival in 2019. alyona alyona has been helping out in a pharmacy near Kiev since the start of the war, organising aid supplies via Instagram. When it comes to criticising the system, Christin Nichols (formerly Prada Meinhoff) and Isolation Berlin are top-notch. Uffie from the USA proves that women can survive the toxic, sexist pop throwaway culture of the nineties or even emerge from it with a fabulous comeback in 2022.

The Makers behind the POP-Kultur Festival

Specific proposals for new ways of living together come from Hyd aka Hayden Dunham: in their work combining art, music and video, they refer to “queer ecosystems of care”. Meanwhile, Graf Fidi, a true “incluencer”(Deutschlandfunk Radio), can also be found at the Kulturbrauerei. In his smart songs, he touches on his own disability along with plenty of other topics he’s passionate about, all with plenty of wordplay.

Diverse, political & avant-garde

The fact that live music and activism from all over the world can once again happen at Pop-Kultur is something we can’t take for granted. This is especially true for the presence of artists from the African continent on site. “Many people had no access to vaccinations at all. Just seven percent of the African population are fully vaccinated and have been able to perform in other parts of the world. It is enormously important to me that we can experience some of these great acts again in Berlin in 2022,” emphasises Pamela Owusu-Brenyah, who is creating the festival programme along with Yeşim Duman and Christian Morin. Among these acts is M.anifest, who “brings together elements of highlife with hip-hop and current Afrobeats” and KABEAUSHÉ from Kenya, who will deliver a glamorous show somewhere between Prince and Tyler, the Creator. There are also promising newcomers from the diaspora, for example, the Ethiopian-Egyptian musician Alewya, who was born in Saudi Arabia and lives in London. Combining trap instrumentals, dub and drum ‘n’ bass with Afrobeats, she will be performing for the first time in Germany at Pop-Kultur.

Dlina Volny by Ivan Smolyar

Once again this year, commissioned works are giving musicians the opportunity to transform an artistic vision into a special live experience for the festival goers. Anika will transform the Kesselhaus into a space for voices that would otherwise not be heard. Both musically and visually, Güner Künier will be exploring identities that span different cultures. The musical avant-gardist Jovanka v. Wilsdorf and the cellist Bison Rouge are daring to experiment with generating emotions with artificial intelligence. These are just a few examples of the 15 stage experiences developed especially for Pop-Kultur.

New Talents & Extending Plattforms

After two years of Zoom conferences, the newcomers of »Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs« can finally meet in person again. Parallel to the live programme, 250 young talents from around the world will take part in workshops and have direct exchanges with artists from the line-up as well as players from business, politics and the music industry. Lisa Herzog, who is in charge of the Nachwuchs programme, is pleased that the band LEOPARD, alumni of the programme, will play on the live stage this year: “The Nachwuchs programme is primarily about creating a space for long-term networking and, in the best case, sparking interdisciplinary exchange, mutual support and cooperation that will last far beyond the festival itself.”

As an unofficial prelude leading up to the festival, »Pop-Kultur lokal« is a platform for independent organisers and their events. The jury consisting of Nalan (musician), Danielle Rahal (Weeeirdos), Michael Aniser (Off-Kultur), Dominique Schweizer (Amiont), Anton Teichmann (Off-Kultur) and Lisa Herzog (Pop-Kultur) has selected the projects Ecoutes au vert, Intersection Sounds, Un:seen – A New Us and Rohpuls.

The Artists…

Concerts, commissioned works, readings by: Aksak Maboul / Alewya / alyona alyona / Amewu / Amilli / Anna B Savage / Anika presents »Lost Voices« (commissioned work) / Anthony Hüseyin / Arooj Aftab / BĘÃTFÓØT feat. Kunty Klub (commissioned work) / Cartel Madras / CATNAPP / Christin Nichols / Dlina Volny / Donia Touglo / Drangsal (reading) / eat-girls / Edward Hunt / Fehler Kuti / FOKN Bois / Fuffifufzich / Gianni Mae / Girlwoman / Grace Cummings / Graf Fidi / Güner Künier (commissioned work) / Hyd / Isolation Berlin / Jovanka von Wilsdorf & Bison Rouge »Found in Translation« (commissioned work) / KABEAUSHÉ / Kælan Mikla / LEOPARD / Liz / Lotic / M.anifest / Nuha Ruby Ra / Oklou / Scúru Fitchádu / Taffee / Tama Gucci / Thala / Theodora / Uffie / Verifiziert / Wa22ermann

About Pop-Kultur

Talks, films and more live acts to be revealed Pop-Kultur is funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe of the State of Berlin with funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the programme »Strengthening Innovation Potential in Culture II (INP II).« Commissioned Works & Pop-Kultur International are funded by Initiative Musik gemeinnützige Projektgesellschaft mbH with project funds from the Federal Government Commissioner

Text by Marie Ketzscher & Ines Weißbach via Pop-Kultur Press