Curatorial Statement

Mississippi Goddam: Nina Simone is said to have written the song in half an hour in 1964 in response to a Ku Klux Klan bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four African American children. A cry protesting the everyday racism that seemed to be part of the DNA of the U.S. South, the song quickly became an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. Sadly, over 50 years later it has lost none of its relevance.

The Mississippi, however, stands not only for the crimes of slavery and the racist heritage of the United States, but also for African American musical culture. Blues, jazz, funk, rock ’n’ roll – almost everything that has made the music of the USA famous in the world originated on its banks. Wassermusik aims to celebrate this music without ignoring the region’s grim heritage. As always, it will include concerts, films and a reading. New this year are two podcast episodes.

Detlef Diederichsen, curator