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REBEKKA

Prog Folk • Germany


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Rebekka biography
REBEKKA belongs to the German symphonic prog rock tradition with bands as ELOY, NOVALIS, and GROBSCHNITT. This little band made a name in the progressive rock scene with an impressive, colourful album which can be qualified as a cross between folk rock and symphonic rock. The exploration in acoustic, folk music, their enthusiasm for melodic, sometimes dreaming soundscapes can be in part familiar for HOELDERLIN's fans. Next to rising synthesisers and melodic electric guitar lines, their characterised folk / symphonic rock features delicious soprano vocals (sung by the female vocalist Marion Weldert), dancing flute parts, acoustic percussions, classical guitar sections. Everything from acoustic / electric is included with cleverness to make a fascinating musical dialogue. To advance the band RENAISSANCE as an obvious influence is off course legitimate but REBEKKA is a manifestation of many prog rock subgenres. A forgotten band that only published one standard, classical album in their whole career.

: : : Philippe Blache, FRANCE : : :

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REBEKKA discography


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REBEKKA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 34 ratings
Phoenix
1982
2.60 | 7 ratings
Labyrinth
1984

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REBEKKA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Phoenix by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Phoenix
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

5 stars This German band from the eighties is a real gem for lovers of melodic, symphonic prog in the vein of RENAISSANCE. And this time the comparison is not just the obvious cliche that is so common with prog bands featuring a female vocalist. There's an elegant classical touch in the music especially in keyboards, and Marion Weldert is a wonderful singer, not very far in sound from Annie Haslam. Folk influences are not very direct, it all comes in a certain innocence and open-mindedness. Other good comparisons are less famous, such as German CAROL OF HARVEST whose eponymous album preceded this by four years. I read that Rebekka was founded already in 1977, it seems strange that it got so long to get to an album. But surely those years add to the maturity in playing and composition.

The longish songs flow smoothly like CAMEL, there are gorgeous guitar solos and flute parts. Perfect balance between instrumental richness and vocal approach. I don't know how the band was received at the time, the horrible early eighties, but who cares?! Just think of Renaissance for example, what kind of poor pop they were doing at this time. This group didn't try in the least bit to sound contemporary; the music falls into the classic symphonic prog that flourished many years earlier. Maybe also YES in their most harmonic and delicate style could be mentioned. This is music that just wraps me gently inside its beauty. I can't find any notable faults. Even the production is very good. I think I'll be bold enough to give the full rating to break the four-star consencus of preceding praises here. Believe me, if you enjoy melodic symphonic prog à la Renaissance and Camel, you'll be charmed by this one!

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 Phoenix by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Phoenix
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Rebekka was founded in 1977 as a result of the collaboration of guitarist/flutist Hubert Schneider and bassist Joachim Zscheile,both coming from the small village of Bauhofen,who had been playing music together since 1971,mostly in a Blues Rock vein.Both wanted to get into some more serious forms of rock music,so they were joined by Classical-educated keyboardist Peter Laubmeier, Hubert's brother Martin on saxes, Martin's wife Marion Weldert on vocals and drummer Christoph Imler.They begun performing live in 1980,earning money to record their debut,which was finally recorded in 1982 entitled ''Phoenix''.Originally pressed in 1000 copies,the album was distributed by the obscure Heute label,some 500 copies were later pressed due to its relatively good success.

Quite old-fashioned for the standards of the time,''Phoenix'' mixes the Progressive Rock aesthetics with light Folk,Psych and more evident Classical influences, reminding bands like WURTEMBERG, fellow natives EDEN, RENAISSANCE or CAROL OF HARVEST.The musicianship is calm and dreamy with plenty of acoustic textures,Classical piano-driven interludes, melodic trembling electric guitars and also filled with numerous soft interplays.Some more depth is added with the occasional use of flutes and saxophones,while analog keyboards are also present like the moog synthesizer and mellotron.The voice of Marion Weldert is bright and clear with an ethereal vibe and the lyrics are sung both in German and English.All tracks have a certain harmonic richness with long instrumental parts and a definite symphonicism.However ''Phoenix'' lacks in a couple of really stand-out tracks,thus being a step further compared to RENAISSANCE's inspiration, CAROL OF HARVEST's unmet magic or even EDEN's deep atmospheres.

The Musea re-issue feature the 12-min. ''Lotos'' as a bonus track,a composition cut from the original LP due to the limited capacity of the vinyl edition.This one is far from the band's symphonic side,being a long Acid/Psych/Folk instrumental with an Eastern-Music orientation,featuring strong sax work and sitars blended with trippy synths,acoustic guitars and piano in a really obscure musical journey.

A good addition if you like light Symphonic Rock with minor Folk influences and plenty of acoustic passages and almost a must-have if you are a dedicated fan of the aforementioned groups.Recommended.

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 Labyrinth by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.60 | 7 ratings

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Labyrinth
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars I don't know much about this band, but it seems likely that guitarist Martin Schneider- Weldert had some sort of relationship with band singer Marion Weldert. The fact he's gone on this, the band's second and final album, probably means something happened to that relationship. Maybe not, and don't quote me but it makes sense.

The band has also changed labels, from Heute to Ohrwurm Records, which I also don't know much about but a quick check tells me they were issuing mostly electronica music at the time. Neither label appears to have been very big, and frankly this band doesn't make sense embedded in either label's catalog. In any case there seems to have been a very conscious shift away from progressive music between the band's first and second albums. Makes sense given the times (mid-80s).

Singer Marion Weldert is much more prominent on this record than the first, and she has also switched to singing in English rather than her native German. The music is also considerably more commercial than the first record with shorter tracks more vocally focused, simple rhythms and plenty of guitar arpeggios on songs like "Out of Sight" and "Gipsy's Campsite". Drummer Jürgen Schiaschter has also replaced Christoph Imler and his style is pure arena-rock. The guitar and drum work on songs like "Lass Mich Aus" are in more of the Neue Deutsche Welle style than the more symphonic structures on the band's debut record. There's also the obligatory rock ballad ("No More to Say"), a languid and partially acoustic folksy number ("Harvest") that does sound a bit like the original band, and a bombasticly spacious arena rock number with "Bygone Song".

The second half of the album is closer to progressive rock than the first, but honestly this is not really any more progressive or symphonic than most of the rest of the music being pushed out in the early and mid eighties. The one bright spot comes from Peter Laubmeier's piano, which is as exquisite and beautiful here as on the first record, particularly on "Gutes Nachtlied" where Weldert reverts to German for the vocal parts.

This album has never been reissued on CD as far as I know, and it isn't all that easy to find today. There's probably good reason why the new generation of progressive labels have avoided remastering and re-releasing it, mostly because it really isn't all that great of an album. The music is pretty decent, but nothing that a hundred other bands weren't already doing at the time.

I can't say as this record is worth seeking out unless you are a real fan of the band or just a curious collector with deep pockets. That said, the music is decent enough that two stars seems to be an undeserved insult, so in consideration of the relative standards of the time period in which it was recorded I'll go with three stars, but only a mild recommendation.

peace

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 Phoenix by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Phoenix
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

4 stars In an age when trends seem to change overnight and communication is instantaneous, it's a little bit charming and quaint to look back on a time (not really that long ago) when the world-wide web, cell phones, reality television and international corporate media didn't exist. Hard to believe that was the case even in 1982. What does that have to do with Rebekka and this album? Well, how else can one explain a band playing decidedly progressive symphonic rock with heavy folk and world influences on instruments that were more common in the late sixties (tamboura, marimba, tabla) - in 1982? These guys simply didn't the message that this sort of music was supposed to have been dead and buried long before.

The opening track of this album will instantly take old prog fans back to a much slower and more artistically vibrant day, circa maybe 1971 or so. These guys were throwbacks even when they first released this album nearly thirty years ago. Hard to imagine what the heck their label was thinking, but I'm glad today that they were given the chance to commit these songs to vinyl back then. It's also kind of funny that the band's debut song would be titled "Swan Song", which of course generally refers to a band's grand finale recording or performance. This is a highly acoustic tune with all the sort of tempo shifts and lazy unfolding one would normally expect on a recording several years prior.

But don't get the impression these guys were completely out-of-touch. They were certainly familiar with electricity, as evidenced by some great guitar-playing by Hubert Schneider, particularly on "Lithpas" and "Floating Dawn". His style was undoubtedly influenced by seventies progressive rock, as was the lush keyboard work of Peter Laubmeier (mostly piano). And Martin Schneider-Weldert delivers some outstanding saxophone work on "Odyssee" and the long, lazy closing epic "Lotos", which sounds to me like something the band was inspired to write after a few late-night sessions of Robbie Basho record- spinning. The finishing touch comes from the warm, vibrant voice of Marion Weldert, who delivers beautifully feminine German vocals tastefully rationed to maximize their effect throughout the mostly instrumental music.

As with many of the recordings reissued by Musea in recent years, this is truly a lost gem. The album cover is misleading, and the time of release would generally lead one to assume this was more of a neo-prog album than anything else. But after a few spins the beauty of the music begins to unfold, and repeated listening will uncover the many layers of the craft these artists put into their music. And that's the mark of true progressive music that made the seventies such a wonderful time (and continues to inspire discovery by a new generation even today). Easily four stars in my opinion, and very highly recommended to prog fans of all stripes.

peace

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 Phoenix by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Phoenix
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another of those CDs that I had bought a long time ago and for some reason I didn´t pay much atention to it. When I put it back on my CD player I was stunned by how actually good it was. And I was even more surprised when I read that it was released in 1982. Phoenix sounds so much as a product of the previous decade that I initially thouht it was recorded around 1972! Anyway, it was a bold move to have such stuff put out in the early 80´s, because it is pure classic prog, even with some 60´s traits on it, something not hip at all in 82!

The record starts exactly in that fashion with tablas and sitars, but soon the sound becomes more like Renaissance with great piano, guitar and the beautiful voice of Marion Weldert (which reminds me a lot of Annie Haslam´s). The classic Renaissance is a clear influence and often it shows through the CD, but there´s more to it, with some jazzier parts, typical german folk bits and a heavier instrumentation, like the use of the electric guitar for good, melodic and inspired solos. The band also had a soprano sax player, something not very common for the style but it works quite well in the album context. vocals are sung both in english and german. My CD has a 12 minute bonus track. Althogh I´m not a guy fond of jam sessions, this instrumental has very good moments, with little self indulgency and pointless noodling so commonly found on those pieces, showing they were really an outstanding group. It was a nice addition after all.

The album was very well produced and recorded, and the group had some very good, convincing songwriting skills. Arrangements are tasteful and the instrumentation well exectuted by all involved (the piano parts are just gorgeous!). As a debut album Phoenix is more than promising. Unfortunatly they wound not survive for long, releasing only a uncharacteristic weak followup before they broke up. A real shame. But at least they left this fantastic CD for us to enjoy.

If you´re into melodic symphonic prog in general, you should not miss this one. Renaissance fans will have a field day!

Rating: 4 stars.

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 Phoenix by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Phoenix
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars Why is this album regarded as a Prog Folk album ? OK, it boost my Prog Folk credentials and little else. Well, it is a matter of throwing a coin up in the air and see if it's head or tail. Prog Folk or Symphonic Prog. But does it matter ? In any case; this is an album where RENAISSANCE shines bright and clear. But with a nice twist.....

Copycats are not what REBEKKA is. Their blend of Prog Folk and RENAISSANCE like Symphonic Prog, ELOY like passages with a hint of fusion is highly effective. So is the addition of ELOY like passages. It also creates wonderful tunes like Swan Song, Odyssee, Imaginary Regards of an Irish Sea, Floating Dawn and the title track. The guitarist certainly knows his ELOY. The vocalist knows her ANNIE HASLAM. I know a good album when I see (hear) one and this is one of them.

The music is floating, pastorial and driven by flute, the excellent female vocals of Marion Weldert, guitars and keyboards. The bass and drums adds to the mix and creates an unique album. REBEKKA is certainly not copycats. What they have created on this album is simply superb. They have even added some Middle East/Jiddish music to the mix and that was pretty unique back in 1982. This album has everything but a killer track. It is a pity that this is their only proper album. I would love to hear more music like this.

4 stars.

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 Phoenix by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Phoenix
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Although REBEKKA did produce two albums, many believe "Phoenix" to be their sole effort, putting them in the company of a whole host of one-off German bands of the 70s and 80s. They do manage to set themselves apart in a number of ways, but chiefly in their professionalism and the degree of maturity manifest from the get-go. Moreover, the style presented herein lies on the boundary of symphonic and folk, a magical land inhabited by the very few melodious denizens a la RENAISSANCE and STRAWBS.

Having a lovely female vocalist doesn't hurt REBEKKA's comparisons to RENAISSANCE, but in "Imaginary Regards of An Irish Sun", the resemblance is striking as the final vocal line is uttered. Then again, Marion Weldert sings well in both German and English. Hubert Schneider's lead guitar adds a further dimension, sounding a bit like JOHN LEES of Barclay James Harvest, but more complex, and best heard on the scintillating "Floating Dawn". Brass and woodwinds lend a more jazzy ambiance to the already sophisticated "Swan Song" and the monumental 10+ minute title cut, in which everyone shines, and Peter Laubmeier's keys are especially atmospheric. The album finale, "Lotus", is more like a raga rock jam and hints at the group's live performances and their high degree of improvisation. It's a bit harder to assimilate, but decidedly worth the indulgence. Only "Lithpas" seems a bit weak compositionally and creatively, even if the playing is of the same high standard, particularly by Schneider.

That such a marvelous progressive album could come from a new group in 1982 seems like so much mythology, but here we have it. Highly recommended to those symph/folk/jazz fans who want to plumb the ashes of a bygone age to see what might arise.

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 Labyrinth by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.60 | 7 ratings

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Labyrinth
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars Only two years had lapsed since Rebekka's debut, "Phoenix", when "Labyrinth" was released, but their change in sound is marked, transitioning from a rather unique symphonic rock band, with jazzy and folky touches to a power pop prog band admittedly with traces of their German origins and the benefit of a good female singer. If you are familiar with Epidaurus and what happened between "Earthly Paradise" and "Endangered", then you get the idea, but Rebekka did it in a much shorter time frame. While their debut was more of a 70s album in feel, this one is firmly ensconced in its decade, with very little real progression happening within the songs, just rehashes of themes and moods. This is remarkable considering how the previous album would wander from the mellow to the intense freely and relatively convincingly.

The opener "Kein Mensch mehr da" is one of three sung in German, and it is perhaps the hardest rocking, in a manner of Eloy's Metromania which was released around the same time, but it is ultimately unconvincing, in contrast to two other uptempo tracks, "Out of Sight", which finds a nice groove and features impressive vocalizations by Marion Weldert, and the rollicking "Lass mich aus". "Gipsy's Campsite" is probably the most reminiscent of the Phoenix album, and would not be out of place there. In terms of ballads, which is most of the album really, they run from the mundane and interminable, "Bygone Song" and "Gutes Nachtlied" closing pair, to the barely passable pure pop of "No More to Say". to the very pleasant "Harvest". which reminds me of a cross between Relf's and Haslam's Renaissance, and features a short but sweet flute-lead guitar transition before the chorus reprises.

While definitely a small p prog rock album, "Labyrinth" is decent for its era, and has a reasonable ratio of good tunes to clunkers. It's really 2.5 stars, rounded down because the only really distinct feature of this band in 1984 was the gender of its talented singer, and prog bands should show a little more pizzazz than that.

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 Phoenix by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Phoenix
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by Pagasarri

4 stars Outstanding work, the best album in the 80s. listen the guitar solo on Lithphas, it's so beautiful, with so felling awesome solo!!. it's a pity that they only published one album, but that album is awesome

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 Phoenix by REBEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.96 | 34 ratings

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Phoenix
Rebekka Prog Folk

Review by Marcelo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This excellent and underrated German band, very influenced by RENAISSANCE, did the best progressive rock in the worst time. While the Annie Haslan band forgot its magic during '80s (example, the terrible "Camera Camera"), REBEKKA created "Phoenix", a wonderful album in the best symphonic tradition.

"Phoenix" is very related to the creative and complex side of RENAISSANCE (but not a copy) and there's nothing to envy from great albums as "Novella" or "Scheherazade". REBEKKA achieved a fantastic, very elaborated and atmospherical album, with lots of non- typical percussions plus sax and harpsicord. Marion Weldert voice is magnificent (related to Annie Haslan; some pieces are sung in English, some in German).

Highlights are "Swan Song", "Phoenix" and "Floating Dawn", but -really- seven tracks are melodically outstanding and extremely well played.

This only REBEKKA production is highly recommended for all progressive ears, and a must for RENAISSANCE fans.

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