I am open to many homes.”

Andreas Nowak is the drummer in the German band Silbermond. He was born in Bautzen in 1982. Inspired by the son of the composer Detlef Kobjela, he discovered his passion for drumming when he was 12 years old. As a musician through and through, Andreas Nowak is continuing the family tradition started by his grandfather Jan Bulank, who was also a Sorbian composer and choirmaster. Bulank was one of the creators of the songbook “Towaršny spěwnik”, which is still used in Sorbian music lessons in the present day. The Silbermond drummer Andreas Nowak now lives in Berlin.


Andreas Nowak

Where do you call home?

For me, home is everywhere where I feel comfortable and relaxed, for a wide variety of reasons: because the nature is stunning, the people are nice, the sun shines there or it’s where I find the things I know and love. Home can also mean just sitting in a small kitchen with a bottle of cheap red wine and having a good old chat with a friend. The word ‘home’ is my interpretation of what’s inside, the interpretation of my heart and soul. I can feel at home in a lot of different locations. I therefore do not just have one home; I am open to many homes.

You are Sorbian because …?

I’m actually not a fan of clichés, but my Sorbian roots have shaped me ever since an early age. My father’s family is as Sorbian as it gets, and celebrations in the local villages were always held in Sorbian style. At family gatherings, we mostly spoke Sorbian – depending on who was present.

I still feel very much at home in Slavic regions nowadays. I love the language, its melody and the way it strongly expresses feelings. Language is the soul of any region.

How do the people around you react to your Sorbian background?

Nowadays, I live in Berlin and every now and again, I tell people that I’m a Sorb. Although they find it interesting, it isn’t considered to be something special. After all, a large number of Slavs live in Berlin, with Polish, Russian and Ukrainian backgrounds – it’s completely normal. I like to tell people that the name Berlin actually comes from the Slavic language and means nothing more than “swamp land”, which they often find fascinating.

What is your favourite Sorbian song?

I actually can’t name a specific favourite song. That said, classic Sorbian tradition has definitely influenced me. I’m also a fan of Sorbian folklore and, of course, have a connection to it, not least due to my grandfather. That is a form of cultural education and a cultural tie that I experienced growing up.

In what language do you dream?

I dream in German and think in German. Every so often, I experience a few Sorbian thoughts or individual fragments of Sorbian sentences scattered throughout my German. I learned Sorbian and nursery school and at school, and we spoke Sorbian when we visited my grandparents. I think it’s a shame that some people do not appreciate the diversity that characterises a region like Lusatia. After all, every culture can learn from others.

When are you happy?

I think we are happy when we don’t even realise that we are. In my case, for example, this happens when I’m making music and not even considering what I’m actually playing – when I’m in the flow and simply doing what comes naturally to me without overthinking it.

What do you do when you’re not making music?

I try to get on with life the best I can! Joking aside, there are many things I like to do. I take lots of photos and make videos, for example music videos for colleagues or fashion or portraits. I also love to travel and am a fan of conscious tourism. A particularly impressive experience was my journey through Jordan, where the friendly residents welcomed me with open arms. I additionally value the various projects that we support as a band. Silbermond have always taken a strong stance against right-wing radicalism, for example. It is important that our society remains open. No culture is cast in stone, and no culture is static. The only constant in life is change.

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