Soul Kitchen

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Soul Kitchen

Is there any other band in Munich who can state that the Backstreet Boys (in 1995), The Weather Girls (in 1998) and Brian Ferry (in 2005), Gloria Gaynor (in 2006) played as an opening act for them? Indeed there is. SOUL KITCHEN, a band of 9 musicians from Munich, which is celebrating 22 years of outstanding, exhilarating performances can say it.

Soul Kitchen band leaders

The band was formed in 1995 by Stefan Köhl, the bassist and band manager, and Oliver Ringleb, a master on the keyboard and the piano. Having known each other from working at the music school, ‘Ohrwurm’, and performing together with the band ‘Definitely Soul’, they were equally driven by the desire to advance professionally with their music. Thus they decided on starting what would last another 20 years – SOUL KITCHEN. Casting within the local Munich music scene, they put together a selection of excellent musicians willing to contribute to a team, this is the band.

Soul Kitchen line up

In the starting years of SOUL KITCHEN its line-up greatly resembled the group ‘The Commitments’, also a popular musical film at the time. That is why, standing next to the black male lead vocalist, they had two female backing vocalists. However, to offer greater variations, the band soon switched to having two lead vocalists up front. Since then one female and one male singer have been running the shows.

SOUL KITCHEN started big, and continued big all the way through. Only one year after their formation they played the first time out of Germany, and not just out of Germany, but they went all the way to southern China. Touring through China they amazed thousands of Chinese spectators every night, especially when Oliver Ringleb played and sung (in Chinese!) his version of a popular Chinese folksong. Since then they have performed concerts in the Moroccan stone desert, including a sound check at 50 °C, in alpine chalets at 2000 m a.s.l., in Mallorca several times on the cruise ship ‘Traumschiff’, and at the ‘Millionaire´s Fair’ in Moscow and Nice. In the meantime they released seven recordings and one live DVD.

And of course, after 22 years as a band there are a lot of stories to tell. Once in Moscow Oliver Ringleb compared the voice of the lead singer of the opening act with that of Gloria Gaynor. As the addressed lady responded it turns out she WAS Gloria Gaynor, and she was filled with laughter joining the band backstage for a glass of sparkling wine. A new friendship was born.

The musical concept of SOUL KITCHEN has been solid from the very beginning. Playing music that the audience knows and loves! In comparison to most other cover bands, they are not just playing the songs as everybody knows them already but they are giving each song their very own touch. Parts are developed or changed, horn sections added and musical space for solos is created. This way a unique sound has been forged, always fresh and distinguished from any other band. The actual repertoire combines classic Soul and Funk from artists like James Brown, Kool & the Gang, Earth Wind & Fire, with new hits from Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Adele and many more. It is this electrifying mixture of new and old, with a unique band of perfectionists and an impressive stage presence that amazes the audiences until today.

To date SOUL KITCHEN has performed more than 800 concerts worldwide, and therefore have since reached their goal of becoming the premier party and event band in Europe. They incorporate soul and high spirit transforming their audience in every gig. Each and every performance is 100% live. No computers and no sequencers so each performance is a new challenge with new conditions, and as always SOUL KITCHEN rises to the challenge. The technical aspects of the show are highly professionalized, thanks to Daniel Zweig, sound engineer and Max Walch, stage manager, however costly and time consuming sound check is often superfluous.

And SOUL KITCHEN is saving wherever they can, even on CO2. The ecological footprint of the band logistics is low. Whenever possible, band members travel by train to the respective locations use cars as a last means of transport. With few exceptions the line-up has been consistent over the years. In 2005, shortly after the 10-year anniversary of Soul Kitchen, the band lost one of its most beloved members, trombonist Roberto Mandruzatto who died unexpectedly. He was then succeeded by Hans-Heiner Bettinger, who is still a standing member until today. In 2013 founding member and saxophonist Thorsten Skringer left the band after 17 years having accepted a position in the Band of Stefan Raab´s ‘TV-Total’ in Cologne. All members of the band are professional musicians realizing their own musical projects, dreams and visions.

Stefan Köhl is the managing partner of ‘Ohrwurm Musikwerk GmbH’, as well as the guitar instructor at the Pestalozzi Music High School in Munich. Oliver Ringleb has released two solo recordings and opened his own piano school in Munich, Haidhausen. Jan Zelinka founded a school for drums and percussions, ‘Drum&Beat’, in Munich, Pasing and holds annual drum workshops in beautiful Italy. Christian Schwarzbach released two solo recordings and performs regularly with his rock trio. Wolfgang Vetter has not only completed various solo recordings and projects, but also founded a music publishing company, label and digital sale and distribution under the name ‘André Carol’. Hans-Heiner Bettinger is an academic instructor at the university for music in Munich and Regensburg. The newest faces in the front are Alana Alexander and John Garner III., having just moved from New York, they are already teaching in the Stuttgart area, their new adopted home. In December of 2014 saxophonist, Axel Kuhn, ended his time with us in order to accept a position as the Professor of Saxophone for Jazz, Rock & Pop and Digital Media at the University for Music in Freiburg. Axel surrendered his position with Soul Kitchen to a very capable former student: Max Merseny is the newest and youngest member to join the band, being the shooting star of the Munich jazz scene, he has been going steady with Twenty years is a long time for some, but SOUL KITCHEN is far from tired or worn out. There are many projects in the works; new music, new media, and most importantly a new attitude and as someone once said, “The best is yet to come.”

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Country Germany
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