Song urges Germans to change their tune on Turkish integration


GERMANY:They came, they saw, they sang. The foreign ministers of France and Germany put on an unprecedented show of harmony in Berlin yesterday, singing backup on a new song calling for better integration of Turks in Germany.

For a few minutes, France and Germany were no longer the motor of the EU but its radio.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier (51) and Bernard Kouchner (68) donned headphones and bopped along happily to Deutschland, written by German-Turkish singer and producer Muhabbet.

Cologne-born Muhabbet is the brains behind Plakmusic, a Berlin-based independent music label that releases "German-made Turkish music" or R'n'B-esque music - ie rhythm and blues crossed with Arabesque.

The song is an appeal to Germans finally to accept the immigrants living next door to them for who they are. "Germany, why do you close yourself off? Germany, put your cards on the table," goes the chorus. "We're not home here nor there/ It's a puzzle to me/ Somehow I live both, am proud of both, try to understand."

The two ministers had no complicated lyrics to learn - eight professional musicians were on hand for that. They just had to croon "Deutschland" at the appropriate moment.

After Mr Kouchner asked, "And what about Frankreich?", an improvised chorus of "Frankreich" was organised.

"We want to show that we can profit from the cultural riches [ of others]," said Mr Steinmeier. "We're not here to learn how to sing."

The song's chorus is catchy though not as infectious as Plakmusic's biggest success so far: Turkish singer Sertab Erener won the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest with her memorable Every Way that I Can and equally memorable stomach muscles.

Sensibly, the two foreign ministers kept their well-padded stomachs covered, although they did loosen their top buttons for the high notes.

To listen to the song, go to land.mp3