I came across this video of the Knabenchor* Wuppertaler Kurrende singing “Mad World” thanks to a Good Friend on Facebook sharing this post from Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc. Listening and watching it, I got chills. First, Tears for Fears was one of my musical obsessions in high school – since 1983. Second, the song is haunting on its own. Then there’s the Donnie Darko connection, which is kind of impossible to sever.
*Knabenchor = boys choir
But even more, for this particular video, hearing the choir singing in English, but with German accents just felt like home. I grew up surrounded by German as well as English spoken with various German accents. And, as many people who speak more than one language will tell you, no matter how well you speak a second (or third or fourth…) language, what you grew up with feels like a warm hug.
The concert and the video were made to honor Universal Children’s Day, which was on November 20th, 2012. The video has an appeal to raise awareness about the rate of children’s deaths around the world and to raise funds to continue the work of the International Children’s Fund.
As an aside, Wuppertal has always been my favorite German city to say. It’s just so much fun. The W is pronounced like an English V, and the U is pronounced with a short double-O. It’s easier if you just hear it. I like this one – the guy makes it sound all breathy and sexy: Wuppertal pronunciation.