Rolf Zuckowski turns 75: Giving children the courage to face life

The father of three and grandfather of four has used the pandemic time creatively so far anyway. “I had more leeway to think, which was nice. And for things that were otherwise only marginally possible,” explains the 74-year-old. He started the Instagram and Facebook series “Song Stories from the Attic” and learned to take part in workshops, seminars and church services via Zoom.

“The Bird Wedding” was the beginning

He also worked on his previously planned autobiography, “A Bit of Courage, a Bit of Luck,” which will be published by Hamburg-based publisher Edel Books shortly before his birthday. “It is important to me to be able to tell a large audience about the development and range of my work and creativity,” says the artist, who was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class in 2018 and who appeared pleasantly reserved in the interview.

In the book, Zuckowski also reports on his collaboration with the Swiss trio Peter, Sue & Marc and their successes at the Eurovision Song Contest (“Io senza te”) as well as with stars such as Nana Mouskouri. But of course he primarily reviews his activities for children, which began in 1977 with the repeatedly performed musical comedy “Die Vogelhochzeit”.

In 2006, the musician even traveled to Shanghai, where “Rolf’s German-Chinese Bird Wedding” premiered with more than 150 children. Zuckowski developed traffic education projects such as “Rolfs Schulweg-Hitparade” (1979), wrote the hit “Du da im Radio” (1981), designed the concept album “Tabaluga” (1983) for Peter Maffay. His Elb tours in 2000 and 2010 deserve special mention from countless other activities: They allowed the musician (“I can’t be lazy”) to perform with young choir members in many places between the Czech Republic and Cuxhaven.

How does he feel when he thinks back to the generations of children? And his career, which he began in the 1960s as a self-taught singer and guitarist in the school band “the beAthovens”? “First and foremost, it makes me very grateful that you can move a lot with small songs. Ultimately, it is this small form that penetrates so deeply into people because they live with these songs,” Zuckowski replies. “Some sing songs like “I can do it!” just to get up again.”

The singer-songwriter, who studied business administration after graduating from high school, adds: “It’s also gratitude that there is music that can do this, it doesn’t come from me. It’s – without wanting to lift me up now – a bit light Divine. A creative force – and I think that goes beyond the normal human horizon that we have.”

He cannot build a perfect world for the children

As varied as his creations are to this day, the artist has always come down to one thing. “I try to make it clear to children that it’s good to have been born,” says Zuckowski, who has always felt supported by his family. “Because many children can doubt it. Because they were disappointed and hurt or even abused. Or were sick.