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Wednesday, 12 March 2008 10:58
mm_kv_08_gb.jpgBy Karl Greenberg - GJD Reporter
Where can you get Christina Stürmer, Yngwie Malmsteen, Revolverheld, Killerpilze and In Flames on the same stage, though maybe not at the same time? Who are these people, by the way? If you have to ask, you don't need to know. And you certainly won't make the trip across the pond to Musikmesse, the biggest, most comprehensive and very likely most overwhelming music consumer and trade show on Earth. The yearly Mecca-esque confab in Frankfurt am Main, Germany happens...well, right now, from the 12th to the 15th this month. Be there or don't be asking what "messe" means. You don't deserve to know.

Actually, I wanted to define it for you, so I asked my friend from Austria what the hell "messe" means, and she didn't give me the easy def I'd hoped for. For anyone who knows German a little, or has seen words like "weltanshaung", German is - and I can tell you this because I'm an expert (in making this stuff up) - a language where you simply put as many words together as possible to make one big word. Experts believe that by the 22nd century there will only be one extremely long word in the entire German language. So, German's hard even for native German speakers:

"Musikmesse," wrote my friend"...could it be a fair where they sell musical instruments or CDs?" Close.

Musikmesse is actually the convention version of that impossibly long word. The combo trade and consumer show, at the Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre, is the world's largest mashup of classical instruments, electric guitars and basses, percussion, keyboards, wind instruments and electronic equipment plus perfomances by major stars and new bands, as well as clinics, special tech whizbang tutorials and demos, and all the usual glitz, swag and fun stuff that comes with trade shows. And schnizel. The public gets to visit on Sunday the 15th.

As far as performances, which will be many, the venue will have stages for acoustic and electrified music. On the latter - the venue's Agora stage - John McLaughlin, Michael Schenker and Viktor Smolski will be among the performers. Swedish speed king Yngwie Malmsteen will perform with his "Rising Force" band, and hold clinics and sign autographs at the Fender Booth in Hall 4.

The acoustic stage will be graced by the likes of Peter Finger (of the wildly appropriate surname), Uli Bögershausen, Christina Lux and Angelo Kelly. Belgium's Jacques Stotzem will play folk ballads, blues and jazz.

If such questions as: "How can I find a publisher?" and "How can I market my music and earn something from it?" are keeping you up at night, the wisdom to be had at the show's Musikbiz Congress will be worth the deteriorating dollar/euro exchange rate. That's partly because this year Musikbiz will be supplemented by Musikbiz Congress, which covers such subjects as musician training, the self-management of musicians on the internet and publishing in the music sector.

Musikbiz will also feature exhibitors from labels, producers, promoters, studios and training institutes. The latter will do run-downs on producing a first demo. Finally, there's something called the Musikbiz Studio, which will focus on studio technology, how to make videos at live concerts and recording music in home studios.

Besides performers from around Germany holding forth, there will be lectures and workshops given by professional musicians like Mark Schulmann (drummer with PINK, Cher and other world stars).

Major manufacturers are sponsoring their own acts at the show: Yamaha will present its Yamaha Groove Allstars Europe band and a world of drummers like Akira Jimbo, and country-rock maestro Tommy Aldridge, Wolfgang Haffner and Ralf Gustke. Gibson will present Revolverheld, Panik (formerly Nevada Tan), Killerpilze and In Flames.

Metal will meet at guitar maker ESP's stand: Children of Bodom, Craddle of Filth, Lamb of God and Firewind. At the Dean stand, Vinnie Moore and Michael Angelo Batio will hang with the hoi polloi for autograph sessions. Bassist Stu Hamm will hold forth at Sound Service's stand. The Joe Satriani and Steve Vai sideman will also hold a workshop and be available for autographs while Kiko Loureiro will appear daily on the Sound Service stage.

If the thing that's holding you back are the kids. Yes, some of you have kids, remember? No, not the guitars, the ones with legs that look like you? Hey, guess what? You can bring them along!! Musikmesse has music4kids, an introduction to music (and a primer on dad/mom's obsession) for kids eight to 14. Kids get to try out musical-instruments and sound-producing devices, and attend SchoolJam, Germany's biggest festival for school bands, at the Congress Centre Messe Frankfurt on Friday, 14 March.

 
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