Price paid: $5
Purchased at: Angry Mom Records, Ithaca NY
I have never seen the movie ‘Cha Cha’ and despite it being basically a documentary centered around two of my favorite artists (Nina Hagen and Lene Lovich) I’d barely heard of it. Enter Youtube and suddenly this obscure thirty-six year old Dutch indie film is right there with no effort on my part. Call me old fashioned, but I find that a little magical.
Anyway, I have yet to sit down and spend the full 90 minutes watching it, but a quick flip through reveals it to be a precious slice into a bygone age. Lene and Nina are at the top of their game here, at the peak of their popularity, and (Sexist Mode engaged) debatably at their most lovely, vibrant, and optimistic.
Ultimately though ‘Cha-Cha’ is Herman Brood’s baby. Brood was a complex and fascinating character, a true renaissance man with occupations ranging from painter to musician to poet. During the period this film was made he was romantically involved with Hagen; her song ‘Herrmann Hiess Er’ from the 1979 album ‘Unbehagen’ is supposedly about Brood and his very public drug use. Sadly Herman died of suicide performed by jumping off the roof of the Amsterdam Hilton in 2001 at age 54. His cover of Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ (covered by Hagen since 1979 as well) posthumously rose to #1 on the Dutch singles charts.
- Herman Brood, Nina, Lene, Less and Wild Romance- I Love You Like I Love Myself
- Lene Lovich & Less Chappell- Home
- Phoney & The Hardcore- Pick Up Floor
- Van Zutphen- Sweet Memories
- Hugo Sinszheimer & the Meteors- Take It All In
- Inside Nipples- (You Don’t) Fit
- Nina Hagen and the Wild Romance- Herman’s Door
- Monica Tjen A Kwoei and the Houseband- Two Together
- Sonny and the Dulfergang- Blues
- Herman Brood & His Wild Romance- Doin’ It
- Hugo and the Meteors- It’s You (Smersz)
- Herman Brood & His Wild Romance- Beat
- Streetbeats- (No More) Conversation
- Dulfergang- Bop
- Nina and the Wild Romance- Herman Ist High
- Herman Brood and the Dulfergang- Jilted
- Hanneke and White Honey- I Don’t Wanna Loose You
- Phoney and the Hardcore- (Can’t Stop) Foolin’ Myself
- Herman Brood & His Wild Romance- (For Elvis) Never Be Clever
- Sonny & Dulfergang- The Blues
The sleeve art- although most probably just a scaled-down version of the movie poster- is colorful and evocative, a blazing neon affair with crudely executed yet nonetheless evocative portraits of Brood, Lovich, and Hagen painted by Dick Van Der Meijden.
Confusingly ‘Cha Cha’ was is the name of a live 1978 album by Brood, released about a year prior to the soundtrack. It has little if anything to do with this soundtrack. The sleeve art, again designed by artist Dick Van Der Meijden, sports a (coincidentally?) similar palette dominated by vibrant reds, blues and peaches. The microphone shoved into a sweaty armpit motif certainly ranks up their as one of the most unattractive images ever created by man…