Interview with Ezé Wendtoin

  1. What motivated you to study German in general, and in Germany in particular? What motivates you to make music?

I first heard German words from my best pal, who had German as a subject in school. In my school, I, unfortunately, did not have this opportunity. I was, however, very impressed that my pal was able to express himself with words that no one there understood. That’s why he was unique and proud. This fact woke interest, curiosity and motivation in me, to learn German at some point when that opportunity arises. After completing middle school, I was transferred to a school, in which I had German as a subject. My first day of German class was unforgettable. I was so impressed and wanted to master the language right away. That is why I put in so much effort from then on to learn German. Right at the beginning I made a song from the words that I learned, which I was able to sing in front of my classmates then. My teacher motivated me very much through his enthusiasm and encouragement. This motivation carried me all the way through high school. After my diploma, I decided against my father’s will to study German. He wanted me to study law. I wanted to pursue German. That is what I did. I dreamed of being in Germany one day and making music there. Already in university, I connected language and music to learn the vocabulary through the song texts. Now, I am excited that this dream has become reality. I am content and thankful to the music, without which, I would not be here today.


  1. How would you describe your life in Dresden/ Germany until now? What have you been able to learn about the language, and what role did music play in this? Is there something that many do not know about Dresden that we can learn from you?

My life in Germany is very instable, I mean full of interesting encounters, impressions and musically very vivid. I believe I slowly surpass the Germans who think: “What you can accomplish today don’t move to the next day.” I am always fully engaged in different things and use each minute as if it were my last (lectures on campus, concerts, when I am not at university, intercultural work with children, impaired people, refugees, etc.) The language and, in particular, the music have contributed that I was able to be received in Dresden/Germany. Because of that, I was able to develop quickly, and got to know interesting people. Dresden is sadly not very well-known for its warmth and openness, which many people give to all strangers. Evidence for that is the Banda Internationale, a band with whom I play. I received so many positive things from the people in Germany that I do not have any more strength to think about negative encounters, daily racisms, grumbling and whatever else. Unfortunately also not a reality.


  1. What goals do you have in your work and what do you want to achieve with it?

I want to achieve with my work that all people live more tolerantly with each other. I want people to notice the multiplicity in our society through music, and that they are able to see the strength in music to achieve a real development. Especially in my Master thesis, I want that learning language through music is a joyful experience by using music as the main vehicle. I explain how art, theater and music can be used in foreign language education. The best learning is that kind of learning in which one is able to enjoy oneself, and where one does not notice that one is learning something. From a songtext, many things can be extracted, that help you train your skills in German (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking). Also, music can help foster the tolerance, acceptance and equality between people. An investigation, that I did with students from two schools in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso could show how music helps raise people’s attention, make them faster learners, foster working together, tolerance, fun, concentration and overcoming one’s fear to speak. That is why my goal is that we start rethinking learning languages to increase students’ joy in learning. Through tried concepts, teachers too can get more ideas for materials, games and differentiated methods for enriching their work.


  1. What motivates you to participate in an artistic exchange at The Ohio State University?

I love people, I love cultures, I love encounters and love to get to know, what remains unknown to me yet. I want to have adventures. I want to share music with people. I am excited when I get to make new experiences about music and language. I would get to know many people and with that their lives and their stories.


  1. What would you suggest to people who are interested in other cultures? What tips do you have?

“Who wants, can do.” That means when there is already an interest, one will find a way. It is always worth is to get to know another culture. You learn so much from that. It can be enriching for your own life. You get to broaden your own world view, your way of thinking and learn something for your own life, and for starting to view our world critically. And you have to be brave to jump into cold water. That is why when one is interested in life in another culture, one should try it according to my opinion, if you can.