In July 2020 I made a slide show for a video by the singer Zinney Sonnenberg. The video was showcased on 04.07.2020 in the Global Liverpool Facebook Event. The song ‘Liverhearts – Where can I find me another river’ is about the songwriter’s love for his adoptive home city of Liverpool and the pain of having to leave it. For this feature I present the slide show video featuring my photos and the transcript of the interview.
Written by Aidan O’Rourke | Sunday the 12th of July 2020
ENGLISH VERSION | GERMAN VERSION .
For the music slide show video I chose around fifty of my photos of Liverpool. I wanted to find out more about Zinney Sonnenberg, so I did an Interview with him via Zoom. The Audio and the transcript appear here in English as well as German.
First I want to ask: What is your name? Where are you from and where do you live now?
My name is Gerd Zinsmeister. My artist name is Zinney Sonnenberg. I’m originally from Saarland. It’s on the border triangle of Germany, Luxembourg and France. I’ve been living in Bavaria, Dachau, for a year, known for the concentration camp in Dachau.
What is your profession?
I’m a musician by profession and work at the Dachau Music School as a music teacher and teach guitar, piano and singing. Otherwise I record and play live in Germany, England and Holland.
What kind of music do you play?
My music could be described as folk music with influences from pop and rock and world music.
How long were you in Liverpool?
I lived in Liverpool for 21 years.
When and why did you move to Liverpool?
I moved to Liverpool on the 10th of August, 1998 with my wife and three year old daughter to do a course at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
What were your early impressions of Liverpool?
I immediately fell in love with Liverpool, a fantastic city with friendly, open-minded people, a very special light, a lively nightlife and a very special accent that I had to get used to.
Where did you live?
For the first three years we lived in Toxteth on Pengwern Street, behind Saint Silas School in the Welsh Streets area. Our home was the second to last house at the end of the street, with a view of the schoolyard of Saint Silas school. Later, we lived in Aigburth for fourteen years.
Why did you stay in Liverpool?
After my course at LIPA was over, we had acclimatised ourselves well to Liverpool. I worked as a nurse in a nursing home on Mill Street in Toxteth. My wife took a course at Arts College on Myrtle Street. Our daughter Zoe had already made a lot of friends at Windsor School.
How is Liverpool different from other cities?
As a port city, Liverpool is home to people from many cultural backgrounds. In my daughter’s class at primary school, there were children from thirteen different countries.
Architecturally, the centre of Liverpool is very compact. The River Mersey, which has been the main artery of Liverpool for decades, dominates the city. But the the most striking peculiarity is the humorous, friendly and open-minded mentality of the Scousers.
What are your top 10 recommendations for visitors?
There are many interesting attractions in Liverpool and many things to do. Be sure to visit the Antony Gormley exhibition ‘Another Place’ in Waterloo. In addition, the two cathedrals, connected by Hope Street, are well worth seeing.
All the museums in Liverpool are free, and above all the Maritime Museum, with its Slavery section, is an absolute must for every visitor.
The new museum in the docks is interactive and describes the history of Liverpool. On the second floor you have a wonderful view of the Liver Building and the mouth of the Mersey.
You should definitely dive into the nightlife of Liverpool. Just go along to the various restaurants, pubs, clubs, live music venues or comedy clubs.
For those interested in art, there is the Walker Art Gallery and the Tate at the Albert Dock. You can combine a visit to the Palm House in Sefton Park with a glass of wine in Lark Lane or Penny Lane. For football fans it’s an absolute must, once in your life, to hear ‘You’ll never walk alone’ in Anfield.
The sunsets in Liverpool are unique and so I would highly recommend a walk between Aigburth and Liverpool city centre.
What is your personal favourite place?
My favourite place in Liverpool is Otterspool Park. The walk that leads through the park and ends at the Mersey is a wonderful walk and means a lot to me personally because I used to take the dog for a walk there every day.
Describe your career on the Liverpool music scene.
After studying at LIPA, I worked at first in order to buy more recording equipment. I was able to buy an analogue tape machine from The Christians and later a computer that I could use to record.
In between times, I regularly went to open mike events and played two or three songs there. In 2004 I met Jeff Davis from Probe Plus Records in Berlin at a music fair.
In 2007 we released my first album ‘Fishing In The Pool’ on the Probe Plus label with my band called Sonnenberg.
Then we released two more albums, ‘The End of the Rain’ and ‘Into The Light’.
Between 2004 and 2018 I went on tour with the band or solo in Scandinavia, the UK, Germany and Holland and as a supporting act for Half Man Half Biscuit, I played mainly in larger venues in the UK, such as the Shepherds Bush Theatre or the Liverpool Academy
Why did you decide to leave Liverpool?
The sole reason for leaving Liverpool was Brexit. We didn’t want to live outside of the EU as second class citizens in Britain without the right to vote.
When did you leave Liverpool and where did you go in Germany?
We left Liverpool on the 19th of July, 2019. We then moved to Bavaria, to Dachau.
When and why did you write the song ‘Where can I find me another river?’ ?
I wrote the song ‘Liverhearts Another River’ in 2018. It’s intended to reflect my love for Liverpool, as well as the pain and sadness of having to leave my adopted home because of social or political circumstances.
In general, as a songwriter, you try to express your feelings or create some breathing space for yourself. In this case, it was the frustration with the political change in 2016 that influenced some of my songs between 2016 and 2019
Thank you very much! I’m sorry about Brexit. I hope that you can come back to Liverpool some time.
I will do.