What can we expect to see from Charity Children Berlin over the next year?
As winter arrives in Berlin, busking on the streets is becoming less feasible. We’re told they have proper winters here. The sort of winters you die in if you stay too long outside. But we’re beginning to get invited indoors to play, which is nice. We’re currently recording our first album with Nigel Braddock of Monkey Records (who we recently signed with) in our living room. It’s due for release December 10th, 2011. Then we are planning a tour around NZ in March next year - then back to Berlin for summer-sessions busking and hopefully a wee European Summer tour.
How do you come up with your lyrics?
By looking through drunken rants in our journals, by gaining inspiration from antiquated love folk poems, through people we’ve met, experiences we’ve shared, through heartbreak, melancholic moments and newfound love in each other.
What can you never leave home without?
Our house key.
How do you describe Charity Children Berlin music?
Someone called us anti-folk once. We liked that. It made us sound progressive and just a bit subversive. But we’re really not. So we suppose ‘Indie-folk’ would be pretty close.
What is the best part of being a musician?
What is in your CD collection at home?
The Tallest Man On Earth, Bob Dylan, Beirut, Aloe Blacc, Lawrence Arabia and Nina Simone. To name a recent few.
What inspired you to start Charity Children Berlin?
When we moved to Berlin from New Zealand and discovered that we couldn’t work anywhere, as we couldn’t speak an inkling of German. The first time we went busking, albeit slightly drunken, we made twelve Euros and two apples. We thought, ‘that’s enough for four falafel kebabs!’ That was exciting.
We’ve always enjoyed playing music together. The first night we kissed (at Whammy in St Kevin’s Arcade), we played piano and harmonica together in the gig room at the Wine Cellar. I guess music was a sort of vessel for which we fell in love.
How did you come up with the name Charity Children Berlin?
Ah well, that’s a long story that we will make concise. Shortly after we first started courting, we were kindly given a piano, which was over a hundred years old. We hired a trailer and transported it home, by ourselves, which was quite a physical task given our frail frames. We named it the ‘Happy Prince’ after the much adored Oscar Wilde children’s story. The ‘Charity Children’ in the story are told off by their teacher for dreaming.
"He looks just like an angel," said the Charity Children as they came out of the cathedral in their bright scarlet cloaks and their clean white pinafores.
"How do you know?" said the Mathematical Master, "you have never seen one."
"Ah! but we have, in our dreams," answered the children; and the Mathematical Master frowned and looked very severe, for he did not approve of children dreaming.
How do you keep in contact with your fans?
Via Facebook or our email address firstname.lastname@example.org
New Zealand expatriates, Chloë Lewer and Elliott McKee are the indie-folk musical duo, ‘Charity Children’. After moving to Germany mid 2011, the two began busking on the streets of Berlin, as the prospect of finding work (being two fairly skill-less, monolinguists) was always going to be unlikely.
With their endearing, intimate style, they have managed to build up quite a following during the summer months from their street music. Their ukulele-driven sound also features harmonica, melodeon, xylophone, hand percussion and anything else small enough to fit in their suitcase when they go busking. However, what really sets Charity Children apart from similar acts is Chloë’s beautiful, ethereal vocals and the pairs strong onstage connection and rapport.
Charity Children have recently finished recording their first album in their living room which sees their sound suitably enhanced with the addition of horns, strings, drums, piano and a children’s choir.