there’s something to be said about sundays in berlin. unlike many other cities, there’s never a shortage of things to do on any given sunday in this city, and whether you’re brunching, burning the dancefloor at berghain, or shopping at mauerpark, there’s something strangely special about the way berliners take on what’s usually the week’s sleepiest day. certainly, then, there’s something to be said about lekker collective, a small PR agency that’s bringing a new warmth to your sunday schedule.
a few sundays past, lekker boss donna arendse invited me to “lekker presents,” the second installment of the living room concert series she runs with help from partner james chatburn, finest ego‘s josh dooler, and a team of friends and volunteers. taking place in a spacious flat on the top floor of an old apartment building in kreuzberg, “lekker presents” aims to bring soul artists to the city, and has since welcomed the likes of littlecity cohort milly blue, noah slee, and james chatburn in their first edition, with their latest venture playing host to australian artist daniel march, and uk-based rising star jordan rakei.
the sunday in question was the first real snowfall here in berlin. it was also the first time that both daniel and jordan had ever seen snow, as if the afternoon could get any more endearing: friends gathered in big sweaters, sipping homemade vegan soup and drinking wine or moscow mules. sometimes being involved in both the electronic and acoustic music scenes really makes me feel like i’m leading a double life in berlin, and events like this one truly emphasize how much there is to discover outside of club culture.
daniel march opened, just his guitar and his voice, but that was enough. his set was without the electronic bells and whistles of his new EP, nina, but it resonated perfectly all the same. the bells and whistles here came from magic moments like a surprise trumpet solo from a stranger in the audience, or the crowd singing along to the looping chorus of his title track,“nina.”
jordan rakei took the stage next, on keys and vocals. it’s pretty clear to see why jordan’s career has seen a meteoric rise in the past little while — disclosure collaboration notwithstanding. his voice is something really special, saturated in soul that overflows in each falsetto. his lyrics are thoughtful and considered; i know i wasn’t the only one that got entirely lost in his words. at the request of josh, the event’s MC, jordan closed with a cover of fat freddy’s drop’s “blackbird,” a highlight of the afternoon.
lekker is somehow both the epitome and the antithesis of berlin music culture. it seems like only here could a concert successfully take place in someone’s living room. at the same time, it’s far removed from anything that likely comes to mind when you think about berlin: there’s no excess, no indulgence, no overt over-the-top-ness. the afternoon at lekker exhibited a simple less is more philosophy. maybe that’s what made it so special.
the next “lekker presents” will take place in march 2016, so keep an eye on their facebook page to stay in the loop.
++ photos with permission via roberto brundo