‘You have to fight against neo-Nazism’: German TV series wins Emmy

The series “Family Brown” by Germany’s ZDF channel scooped up a coveted trophy in New York City on Monday evening with its tales of what happens when a neo-Nazi finds out he has a dark-skinned daughter.

'You have to fight against neo-Nazism': German TV series wins Emmy
Producer Beatrice Kramm accepting the Emmy with her colleagues. Photo: DPA.

Producer Beatrice Kramm couldn’t help but cheer at the podium at the prestigious awards ceremony when she received the International Emmy on stage with her team.

“Thank you very much to the juries all over the world for voting for our little programme,” Kramm said.

After the victory, Kramm said that the humorous portrayal of neo-Nazis in their TV series was by no means trivial. “You have to fight against neo-Nazism, however you can do it.”

In eight 60-minute instalments, Family Brown tells the story of a neo-Nazi who finds himself in bizarre situations when an Eritrean woman he had a one-night stand with is deported to her country and leaves their daughter at his doorstep.

A scene from “Family Brown.” Photo: DPA.

“It is definitely a challenge to express complex characters in five or six minutes,” said ZDF editor Lucia Haslauer.

In spite of beating off stiff competition in the short-form series category from Canada, Argentina and Brazil at the 45th edition of the global gala, the TV programme was the only big German winner of the evening.

Actress Sonja Gerhardt, who was nominated as best actress for her role in the ZDF series “Ku' damm 56,” was less fortunate and did not leave with an award in hand.

“Of course you're disappointed. You're so close and then in the end, you don’t get it,” said Gerhardt, adding that the nomination was still “quite a big honour.”

Gerhardt had already won two awards this year for her role in “Ku’ damm 56” – the German Television Award for best actress as well as the Bavarian Television Award.

The International Emmy Awards recognize the best TV programmes across the world that are produced and aired outside of the US.

Last year, Germany was nominated five times and went home with three golden trophies.



Meet the Spanish rapper bringing flamenco and bossa nova into hip-hop

Spanish rapper C. Tangana was taking a big risk when he started mixing old-fashioned influences like flamenco and bossa nova into his hip-hop -- but it's this eclectic sound that has turned him into a phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic.

Meet the Spanish rapper bringing flamenco and bossa nova into hip-hop
Spanish rapper Anton Alvarez known as 'C. Tangana' poses in Madrid on April 29, 2021. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

The 30-year-old has emerged as one of the world’s biggest Spanish-language stars since his third album “El Madrileno” — the Madrilenian — came out in February. That ranks him alongside his superstar ex-girlfriend Rosalia, the Grammy-winning Catalan singer with whom he has co-written several hits.

C. Tangana, whose real name is Anton Alvarez Alfaro, has come a long way since a decade ago when he became known as a voice of disillusioned Spanish youth in the wake of the financial crisis.These days his rap is infused with everything from reggaeton and rumba to deeply traditional styles from Spain and Latin America, with a voice often digitised by autotune.

“It’s incredible that just when my music is at its most popular is exactly when I’m doing something a bit more complex, more experimental and less
trendy,” he told AFP in an interview.

And he is unashamed to be appealing to a wider audience than previously: his dream is now to make music “that a young person can enjoy in a club or someone older can enjoy at home while cooking”.

‘People are tired’

The rapper, who sports a severe semi-shaved haircut and a pencil moustache, has worked with Spanish flamenco greats including Nino De Elche, Antonio Carmona, Kiko Veneno, La Hungara and the Gipsy Kings.

In April he brought some of them together for a performance on NPR’s popular “Tiny Desk Concert” series, which has already drawn nearly six million
views on YouTube.

Shifting away from trap, one of rap’s most popular sub-genres, and venturing into a more traditional repertoire was a dangerous move — especially for someone with a young fanbase to whom rumba, bossa nova and bolero sound old-fashioned.

“I think people are tired. They’ve had enough of the predominant aesthetic values that have previously defined pop and urban music,” he said.

Parts of his latest album were recorded in Latin America with Cuban guitarist Eliades Ochoa of Buena Vista Social Club, Uruguayan
singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler, Mexican folk artist Ed Maverick and Brazil’s Toquinho, one of the bossa nova greats.

“What struck me most everywhere I went was the sense of tradition and the way people experienced the most popular music, and I don’t mean pop,” he said.

A new direction

C. Tangana started out in 2006 rapping under the name Crema. When the global economic crisis swept Spain a few years later, hard-hitting trap was
the perfect way to voice the angst of his generation. But after more than a decade of rapping, things changed.

“When I was heading for my 30s, I hit this crisis, I was a bit fed up with what I was doing… and decided to give voice to all these influences that I
never dared express as a rapper,” he said.

The shift began in 2018 with “Un veneno” (“A poison”) which came out a year after his big hit “Mala mujer” (“Bad woman”).

And there was a return to the sounds of his childhood when he used to listen to Spanish folk songs at home, raised by a mother who worked in
education and a journalist father who liked to play the guitar. The Latin American influences came later.

“It started when I was a teenager with reggaeton and with bachata which were played in the first clubs I went to, which were mostly Latin,” he said.

Studying philosophy at the time, he wrote his first raps between stints working in call centres or fast-food restaurants.

As to what comes next, he doesn’t know. But one thing he hopes to do is collaborate with Natalia Lafourcade, a Mexican singer who dabbles in folk, rock and pop — another jack of all musical trades.