The Botanic Night is a summer festival at the Botanical Gardens in Berlin Dahlem. The event transformed the lush gardens into a fairy tail of lights, sound and taste on a warm summer night. The visitors were invited to taste, listen, see and feel their way around the globe as each part of the gardens was designed to represent a different continent.
Every corner held a different surprise. A mythical creature appeared right in front of me. I was so memorised by it that I followed him to take a picture but he was getting away quick. Just when I thought I had lost him, I spotted him and his fairy friend in a playful interaction with group of children, who like me, seemed fascinated by the magical creatures.
Spreewald Cook – Peter Franke
I could smell this stall long before I saw it. The comforting smell of dill was everywhere. Peter Franke brought a little bit of Spreewald feeling to Berlin and with it came gherkins – the delicacy that the Spreewald region is so famous for. However the Spreewald Cook had a lot more to offer than just gherkins. On display was a wide range of herbs, oils and vinegars that can be used for both culinary and health purposes.
If you’re not from Germany, it’s probably hard to imagine a combination of soulful, electrifying Jazz and the German language, which can often harsh or some say even angry. It’s hard to judge what it sounds like to someone who doesn’t speak the language, but I can tell you that German Jazz may just change your mind. Die Jazzpoeten are a three-piece Jazz band from Muenster. Singer Mano Koester takes you on a turbulent journey of her love life and may just teach you a thing or two about how to find yourself a man, keep him or if necessary, lose him.
Cocooning with Coco Lores
I’m not even sure where to start. The Jazz band had just left the stage and I was starting to get hungry so I decided to cue for a Flammkuchen(a delicious specialty from the Alsace region), which I had been eyeing up. The queue was long and while I was waiting in line when I saw an elderly lady dressed in a salmon coloured suit with short hair step on to the stage. She started talking about society’s latest trend: cocooning. Although I was queuing by myself I couldn’t help but laugh at her witty portrayal of a typical Berlin hipster and the increased popularity in allotments driven by the organic food movement. In short – there is nothing Coco Lores wouldn’t make fun of, not even herself. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and would recommend seeing her live to anyone that understands German.
Tablao Flamenco de Laura la Risa
After the fireworks I made my way over to the other side of the gardens to watch a flamenco act. This show was set in a cute little pavilion with the stage in the middle and one row of seating surrounding it. I got there too late to grab a seat but had the perfect view of the stage from where I was standing. The act is based around flamenco dancer Laura la Risa, who has brought a little piece of Andalusia to the Botanical Gardens for the fifth year in a row. She was accompanied by Carlos el Canario on guitar. The performance began with a scene danced by six young flamenco dancers, followed by a solo performance by Laura la Risa who fascinated the audience with fast movements, grace and incredible posture.
Laura also teaches the dance in courses or workshops in her studio in Berlin and regularly holds events there where you can come along to watch her perform.
Balkan beats to end the night with ?Shmaltz!
The last act of the night was a six-piece band that combines Balkan beats and Malwonian-Blues with the cheekiness and humour that is so typical for Berlin. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end this magical evening. The guys from ?Shmaltz! had the crowd dancing, clapping, swaying and laughing. From beginning until end the band continued to surprise with a line-up of unusual and quirky instruments and the cheekiness and humour that is so typical for Berlin.
If you want to find out a little more about these guys, here is a video that introduces the band and what they stand for.