Dagmar Krause

Born : June 4th, 1950 - Hamburg (Germany)
Past Bands : Slapp Happy (1971-74), Slapp Happy/Henry Cow (1974-75), Henry Cow (1975-77), Art Bears (1978-82), Commuters (1982), Duck And Cover (1983-84), News From Babel (1983-84)

A Short Bio:

A most unique, and uniquely gifted, character, German singer Dagmar Krause first came to prominence in the early 1970's with her work as one third of Slapp Happy. Until then, she had been a fixture in Hamburg's Reeperbahn clubs and was also in folk/protest group The (New) City Preachers. In 1971, she met British expatriate Anthony Moore, who after releasing two experimental solo albums for Polydor was looking for a more commercially viable outlet. With Moore's schoolfriend, American guitarist/singer/lyricist Peter Blegvad, they formed Slapp Happy, which released the albums Sort Of... (1972) and Slapp Happy (1974) [also known as Casablanca Moon], then merged with Virgin labelmates Henry Cow to record Desperate Straights and In Praise Of Learning (1975).

Although Moore and Blegvad quickly left the amalgamated ensemble, Krause soldiered on and became a full member of Henry Cow, although she only appeared on the double live set Concerts (1976), on which she duetted with Robert Wyatt : the band had no recording contract at the time, and her ill health eventually forced her to leave the band in late 1977. And when she again joined forces with Henry Cow, the results - an album entitled Hopes And Fears (1978) - appeared under the name of Art Bears, credited to the trio of Krause, Fred Frith and Chris Cutler with the others as guests. Art Bears continued for a couple of albums - Winter Songs (1980) and The World As It Is Today (1981) - and an exhausting six-week European tour in 1982, which marked the conclusion of the band's career. Later that year, Slapp Happy was briefly revived for a single and its first-ever live appearance, at London's ICA.

In the meantime, Krause had been involved in various other projects, including a duo album with Kevin Coyne, Babble (1979) and another with Ronald Heiloo, The Commuters (1982), as well as guest appearances on Anthony Moore's Flying Doesn't Help (1979) and Michael Nyman's The Kiss And Other Movements (1985). She also started doing sessions as backing vocalist, which include contributions to albums by Paul Young and The Stranglers. She however kept close links with her former Henry Cow colleagues, and appeared as a fourth of News From Babel, a project masterminded by Chris Cutler and Lindsay Cooper, on that band's debut Work Resumed On The Tower (1984), although she only sang on a track of the follow-up Letters Home (1986).

During the second half of the decade, Dagmar Krause concentrated on a project that was particularly dear to her heart : two albums of songs from the repertoire of German writer Bertolt Brecht and his musical collaborators Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler. She had already sang "On Suicide" on the first Art Bears album, but had also been involved in several (unrecorded) Brecht-related projects. The Hannibal label financed Supply And Demand (1986) and Tank Battles followed two years later on Antilles (distributed by Island). Both were simultaneously released in a German edition. Later CD reissues combined both versions. Krause performed selections from these albums live (as documented on 1993's Voiceprint Radio Sessions), most notably at the Edinburgh Festival.

In the nineties, Krause has been involved in two new projects with Peter Blegvad and Anthony Moore : the TV opera Camera, shown on Channel Four in 1994, and a new Slapp Happy album, Ça Va, released on Virgin's V2 label in April 1998, followed by a Japanese tour in 2000. She has also guested on ambient/house group The Grid's album 456, Chris Cutler and Lutz Glandien's Domestic Stories (1992) project and Tim Hodgkinson's Each In Our Own Thoughts (1994), performing on the long lost Henry Cow epic "Hold To The Zero Burn, Imagine" with several other ex-members of the band. More recently, she recorded an album of songs by Friedrich Holländer, a songwriter whose work had been performed by Marlene Dietrich among others.