the monumental sToa
I meet Mandy Bernhardt, the current and third vocalist from the neo-classical band called sToa at CAFE NOIR, located in the city called Halle/Saale. I am visiting Halle-Saale to inquire about the purchase and transportation of a tiny castle located next to the enormous Moritzburg Castle. We order coffee and water with a side of orange slices and date muffins. The weather says it is going to storm today-
MFM: In what area of Germany does sToa reside?
Mandy: sToa is a band from Halle-Saale, but we are at present living a bit scattered. Olaf Parusel (founder/arranger/composer) is living in Halle-Saale, Christiane Fischer the violincellist, is near Berlin. I am living between Halle and Leipzig, which is not too far from them.
MFM: Why do you think you have a great following in Mexico? (Porta VIII entered the New Age charts in Mexico)
Mandy: Oh, I do not know really why. I think the things and events in life sometimes are happening because of a little bit of luck, sometimes because of predestination. Sometimes nobody is really responsible for it. But I can say, that the time and the concerts in Mexico have been unforgettable for me. We have experienced many amazing hours together there, with friends and many fans whose enthusiasm was profoundly catching.
MFM: What lies ahead for Stoa, as far as you know?
Mandy: First and I think I speak on behalf of Olaf and Christiane, in the foreground is the release of our new album. The work is in the final stage at this moment. And of course I'm looking forward to the next concerts, because each one shall be a very special event. Of course the audience is each time unique.
MFM: What are your greatest influences, musically and otherwise?
Mandy: My first musical influences are coming from classical music. In my childhood I was learning to play the piano, certainly because of my father and grandfather. Both are passionate musicians. Today I listen to music depending on my mood. Sometimes Enya, Loreena McKennitt, sometimes Springsteen or The Cranberries. I also enjoy Yann Thiersen, Hans Zimmer. Music has always been a comfort to me, the expression of my luck and my emotions. Now I can express it through the music of sToa. The music is able to find a voice for many things I am not able to say.
MFM: What is the future of music?
Mandy: I think music will be, always a connection between people. Through music the people of this world can find togetherness. Music is a language where communication by words must stop because of different spoken languages. But the music is for me also like a healing process. If I'm singing I feel the music in my whole body and when I'm hearing a fantastic sound, it’s like a massage of my soul.
MFM: Are there any musicians you would like to speak of?
Mandy: Oh, of course. There are many musicians that have always appeared as "normal" people. They see the world with realistic and critical eyes. But, these musicians are not seen very often on television, nor in magazines.
MFM: What do you think of America and its present state?
Mandy: When I think of America, I think of giant old time cars with a powerful bass sound. It must be great to drive in such a car through the streets of this country, without pressure of time, without appointed time. I'm very crazy about driving and I can imagine this. With the policy of the President I do not agree. He's only acting for his own interests, not for the people of his country, and also not for the democracy. At this moment I am thinking of the song by Pink - Dear Mr. President.
MFM: How do you feel about religion being mixed into politics?
Mandy: Each one has a personal belief. Believing just in the power of Luck, one is holding a point of view. But I think it is not good to force personal beliefs on other people, and surely never with brutal force. But in many countries this is reality. Definitely a wrong way!
MFM: Do you have any mainstream artists you admire?
Mandy: There are some artists I admire because of their personalities. But I don't want to use my admiration on celebrities that live far away. I would like to apply the word admiration to my father. He was an artist of Life, a person with a really great heart and a lot of love for his family. I have to admire him, because he sacrificed a lot for our welfare. He always thought first of his children. I am proud that he gave some of his traits to us.
The interview ends and Mandy thanks me, and I her. I hope to see all three of them together (Olaf, Christiane) someday...
photo: (c) 2008 || www.ankemerzbach.de