Katharina Franck *1963. Grew up in Portugal and Brazil. Lives in Berlin. Singer and songwriter. Founded the band "Rainbirds" in 1986. Writer of radio plays and “spoken pop songs”. Currently touring with "Reinhardt Repkes’ Club der Toten Dichter" and their new release "eines wunders melodie" - Rilke neu vertont. ZuG-Rec. & Musikverlag. Distributed by Edel:Kultur.
Born in 1963 in Düsseldorf, Katharina Franck grows up in Portugal. From 1974 to 1977, she lives in São Paulo, Brazil. She takes guitar lessons and decides to become a singer.
Upon returning to Portugal, she sings in various bands and also performs live with them. In May 1980, she records her own first songs in the studio.
1981. kf leaves her parents home and moves to Cologne.
She becomes a singer in guitarist Volkmar Kramarz band CLUB 46.
1983. First singing lessons during her second pop course at the College of Music and Theater in Hamburg. In the summer, kf moves to Berlin.
1984. kf sings with different bands at various venues. She sends a demo of “Love Is A Better Word (White City Of Lights)” to Wolfgang Kraesze, who plays the song on his radio show “Heimatlied im SFBeat” and translates the text.
1985. kf sings in the band LES BLACK CARNATIONS. All band members are supposed to adopt a pseudonym. She calls herself Justine Time. After dissolving the band, Franck withdraws to concentrate on her own music.
1986. kf founds the band RAINBIRDS, named after an instrumental by Tom Waits. During a solo performance, a talent scout working for Phonogram (today Universal) discovers her. Shortly thereafter she performs her debut concert at the Villa Kreuzberg with what at the time was her five-piece band and a bit later also wins the rock contest held by the Berlin Senate.
1987. As a trio, kf records her first album under the wings of producer Udo Arndt and guitarist Peter Weihe. With drummer Wolfgang Gum, bassist Beckmann and new arrival Rodrigo Gonzalez on guitar, the band then spends five weeks in Montréal, Canada. In November, the debut album Rainbirds is released with the hit single “Blueprint.” The album’s second single is “Boy On The Beach.”
1988. RAINBIRDS tour twice and record their second album. The producers are Udo Arndt, Reinhold Heil and Gareth Jones. Guitarist Peter Weihe is also involved. During the mixing phase, the band rehearses with pianist and composer Ulrike Haage for the coming tour.
1989. Call Me Easy, Say I’m Strong, Love Me My Way, It Ain’t Wrong is released with the single “Sea Of Time.” The band tours. Afterwards, kf parts with Glum, Beckmann and Gonzales and continues her work with Ulrike Haage. The singles “Not Exactly” and “Love Is A Better Word (White City Of Light)” are also released, and Franck embarks on a European promotional campaign on her own. The RAINBIRDS duo writes songs in Berlin, Paris and southern France, and records its next album in Los Angeles at Sunset Sounds with sound engineer Carmen Rizzo.
1991. Two Faces is released. The singles are “Two Faces” and “Head Over Heels.” Haage and Franck present their music throughout Europe. They compose theater music and go on tour with FM Einheit. The RAINBIRDS first tour Two Faces with a larger band in spring 1992.
1993. In A Different Light is released. The singles are “Devil’s Dance” and “Jamais Jamais.” RAINBIRDS tour twice with different lineups. On the side of FM Einheit and Ulrike Haage, Franck becomes the third member of the group STEIN.
1994. STEIN records an album together, and kf writes her first “spoken pop song”: “König Zucker.” Drummer Tim Lorenz joins RAINBIRDS. They rehearse new songs and go on tour.
1995. The album König Zucker by the group STEIN is released and the band goes on tour. Universal releases a best of RAINBIRDS compilation: The Mercury Years. “Blueprint” is again selected as the single. RAINBIRDS tour. Then the trio records a new album in Randers, Denmark, with sound engineer Don Schneider. kf spends the fall in New York.
1996. In March, Making Memory is released by Rough Trade/Our Choice. The singles are “Absolutely Free” and “Give Me A Kiss.” The latter is remixed by British Dave Wallace. The band tours twice and looks for a producer for its next album.
1997. kf moves to Bavaria. In the spring, RAINBIRDS start work on a new album in Waimes, Belgium, with producer John Caffery. The album Rainbirds Forever is released in October. The singles are “Don’t Cry A River For Me (Be Cool)” and “Shoot From The Hip.” The trio tours. Meanwhile, Sans Soleil releases the CD Hunger, Katharina Franck’s first “spoken pop song” production, done with Ulrike Haage and Thomas Stern.
1998. RAINBIRDS tour twice and also perform Katharina Franck’s spoken pop songs. kf records the song “Lady Multimelancôlica” with Brazilian musicians Rosanna & Zélia, and commissioned by Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcasting) writes her first radio play.
1999. kf moves back to Berlin. The album rainbirds3000.live is released. The band tours. During a break taken for an indefinite period of time, Franck, Haage and Lorenz go their separate ways. kf’s radio play “Bei unserer Lebensweise ist es sehr angenehm, lange im Voraus zu einer Party eingeladen zu werden” (“It is delightful to be invited to a party a long way off”) is based on letters by American writer Jane Bowles and set to music by Ulrike Haage. Bavarian Broadcasting airs it for the first time on September 17. The CD is released by Sans Soleil shortly thereafter.
2000. Katharina Franck prepares a joint concert program with Rosanna & Zélia and with musicians Yoyo Röhm and Thomas Stern starts to put a new collection of texts to music. She spends December in New York, in the spring of 2001 she resumes work with Röhm/Stern. During a break in March, kf, Rosanna & Zélia and drummer Angela Frontera go on tour in Germany. After that, kf begins to look for a label contract for Zeitlupenkino.
2002. Zeitlupenkino is released by Mute Records, Berlin. kf presents the album live with band and solo. She adds new songs in English to her spoken pop song repertoire. She writes the song “Y-Tracks To Get By” for FM Einheit’s Werner Schwab homage, the multimedia music and theater performance “Abfall Bergland Cäsar.”
2004. kf starts recording a new album. Co-producers are Udo Arndt and guitarist Peter Weihe. She writes another manuscript about Jane Bowles.
2005. The literary feature “Ich war fischen” (“I was fishing”) is produced by Ulrich Lampen for SWR radio. Franck adds a cover version of NIRVANA’S “Something In The Way” to its soundtrack. In the summer, kf presents herself live with a new band and produces the song “Ligeia!” based on the story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe.
2006. First Take Second Skin is released by Skycap records in February. kf and band go on tour. In mid-May, “Ligeia!” is released on the sampler Edgar Allen Poe - Visionen by Lübbe/Audio. In the fall, kf makes a cut-up for Bavarian Broadcasting, “Das Signal wurde über Radio gegeben” (“The signal was given on the radio”), a collage put together from the original soundtrack of a radio report from the day of the Portuguese Carnation Revolution on April 25, 1974. Meanwhile kf plays solo concerts, and secures sound engineer Peter Schmidt and musician and film composer Peter Hinderthür as co-producer for her next album.
2007. In January, kf writes, also for Bavarian Broadcasting, the “not entirely invented” radio-play biography of a Portuguese maid “Nazaré – nicht die Stadt, die Frau” (“Nazaré – not the city, the woman”). Franck invites Portuguese composer Nuno Rebelo to set the text to music. On April 21, upon occasion of the Week of the Radio Play, kf and Rebelo present the piece live in Berlin. Bavarian Broadcasting airs it for the first time on May 4.
Over Pentecost, the recordings with Peter Hinderthür and Peter Schmidt begin in Berlin. In between, kf moderates “My Wonderful MySpace Morning,” her show for free radio “Schwankungen” in Bremen, and plays solo concerts. In November, the cut-up “Ich delete meinen Comment, Mary Poppins” (“I delete my comment, Mary Poppins”), which kf writes together with her MySpace friends Piet and kater lezmann, is published in the literature magazine Spella. kf’s new album is completed shortly before New Year’s Eve.
2008. Faithful Friend, remixed by Ulrich Schnauss, is released in February as a download-only track by Skycap records. Around April 25, Katharina Franck and Nuno Rebelo perform a Portuguese version of the radio-play biography “Nazaré – not the city, the woman” live in Lisbon, Viseu and Fundão. RTP (Portuguese state-owned radio and television broadcaster) broadcasts the Portuguese premiere on its radio channel for culture.
In the summer, kf plays festival concerts with band and solo. On December 12, On The Verge Of An Autobiography is released on Premium Records / Soulfood, and receives excellent reviews. In “Rolling Stone,” Jörn Schlüter writes: “Some songs are grumpy and explosion-like, others sink into impressionist stillness. In both cases, the material is consistent and rendered in an uncompromising and direct way. It is only with difficulty that one finds someone in Germany, who makes such uncompromising music in the adult songwriter genre.”
2009. In January, Katharina Franck presents her new album live. Detlef Kinsler writes in the online journal “Pflasterstrand”: “The new band captivates from the beginning (…) Interpreted by her (Franck’s) voice that can always be recognized – even out of hundreds – solidified by the sounds, an episodic film emerges, a very singular performance not only in Germany.”
Between the fall of 2009 and the fall of 2010, Katharina Franck brings her song retrospective to the stage as a solo show. About 30 songs from all her albums, early works, and new songs that aren’t yet released, are featured and the performance is punctuated with little stories, memories from the past and more recent experiences too. Meanwhile she has started work with the "CLUB DER TOTEN DICHTER" (Dead Poets Club) for which bandleader and songwriter Reinhardt Repke has composed new music for poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke. The concert premiere is on September 10, 2010. The album by "CdtD" will be released in October 2010 and is entitled "eines wunders melodie" - Rilke neu vertont.to be continued...