The pomp, the punk and the pandemic see Merkel out of office

One week before she steps aside, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel receives a traditional farewell Thursday, which includes a military concert with a brass band playing her choice of music — reportedly including a 1970s punk ballad.

Military tattoos in honor of Merkel will be placed in the Ministry of Defense rather than in a public place, reflecting the restrictions and limited guests dictated by the pandemic.

German daily TAZ reports that Merkel ordered three songs, two of which the German Army Staff had to scramble to arrange.

One is the 18th-century Christian hymn “Oh my God, we praise your name,” probably a natural choice for a Protestant pastor’s daughter.

The second is a famous song by German singer Hildegard Knife called “It Shall Rain Red Roses for Me”.

Merkel’s third choice, which raised some eyebrows, is the 1974 song “You Forgot the Color Film” by East German-born punk singer Nina Hagen. In it, the singer recounts the lamentation of a young woman because her boyfriend failed to take color photos of their beach vacation.

Hagen, like Merkel, grew up in East Germany, but emigrated to the West in 1976 after clashing with the country’s communist authorities.

Merkel, who holds the position of interim chancellor until the swearing in of her successor, has not publicly commented on the motive behind her choice of songs.

Ahead of Thursday night’s ceremony, she will meet with federal and other state leaders to discuss new measures to curb coronavirus infections in Germany.

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