After an interview with Gerhard Pump (82)
He had heard the song for the first time when he was 7. His mother had died in 1931 (when he was 6). In the following year his father had taken him to the circus. It was a small Italian travelling circus which had also set up tent on the Elbe island Wilhelmsburg Reihenstieg.
What he remembers is the night sky. Above the circus tent hovered – seemed to hover – an artist hanging from a very high mast on a long rope. From inside the tent one could hear the orchestra play La Paloma. Later, inside the tent, many more melodies and events memorable were added, but this one remained the strongest in his memory, the artist that hovered in the spotlight through the night sky. After that evening he went home happy.
The following year he again went to the circus, with his father or his sister, he could not quite remember which. It had turned 1933. Once again the orchestra was playing La Paloma as they arrived, and again the artist hovered across the night sky hanging from the long mast. But this year some young rowdies – as he called them – had tempered with the mast. The mast broke and plummeted down with the artist. He was lucky to have fallen on the tent so that he survived. But he had broken his pelvis and was no longer able to perform. Non-the-less, the image of the hovering artist together with the melody accompanied him into the war in Africa and through the 50’s when he met his wife.
Over the years he listened to other music like Jazz, which one could only buy under the counter, and later classic music; but this was and is his favourite song. Yet he does not like to sing the text, because he thinks the text, as sung by Freddy (Quinn), is far too pompous. He only likes the instrumental version.
The interview was conducted by Katherina Oberlik, special envoy for … Text version by David Chotjewitz, Minister for Agroculture Easy Listening.