Das Ist Lustig means "That's Fun".
Traditional songs from Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, American folk and variety music. Even a little modern thrown in!
Das Ist Lustig has been described as "Spitze" which means "tops" by locals in Oberammergau who were visiting the restaurant at the Laber Berg when the duo was playing music for their tour guests. They asked Valina where the band was from, what part of Germany, and did not believe her when she replied "Texas"!
Das Ist Lustig's show is full of energy, beer garden variety music and surprises. It's the only authentic German folk show that can be completely interactive with the audience. The show is carefully crafted while reading audience's response. Guests are invited to play bells, try their hand at the Teufelsgeige (drum-set on a stick), or play various other hand held instruments. Wireless instruments and mics allow the musicians to join with the audience and lead them in the fun. Simple folk dances and at your table dances (like their original audience participation creation: the Bench Dance ) suitable for all ages are led on the spot.
Accordion, vocals, yodeling, singing saw, Alphorn (Ricola!): Ross is one of the most talented and dynamic German folk accordionists in Texas. His true passion for the German folk music really shows in his playing style. When Ross plays the accordion, you can be sure that every note you hear is being played with love, live at that moment without sequencers or pre-recorded tracks.
Ross is a Houstonian born from German descent who studied accordion under Lynlee Alley, Steve Habemacher, Terry Cavanagh, and Bill Palmer Sr. He majored in music (with a minor in voice) at the University of Missouri at Kansas City under Joan Cochran Sommers, graduating in 2000. He toured Europe several times with the UMKC accordion orchestra, and sang in Carnegie Hall. He speaks some German, and when he sings, the ladies swoon. He plays two different accordions in the shows; An acoustic Beltuna accordion full of reeds, and Helicon bass for a truly traditional sound, and a Roland V Accordion (all digital) adding a wide range of instrumental sounds and styles to the show. Before forming the band, Ross played solo at private parties and German club events. In his teen years, he sat in with the local German band, and rocked his Clements high school talent show.
Tuned Austrian cowbells, vocals, yodeling, Autoharp, Holzernes G'lachter (Bavarian xylophone), Boombas (drum set on schtick), Washboard, and a collection of other percussive toys: Valina is high energy and very enthusiastic about the folk music she sings and plays. She is a Houstonian born of Dutch / German descent, has 40 years experience performing on the stage for audiences of all types, speaks Dutch, some German, and can do a rowdy German accent. She fronts for the band, invites guests to play cowbells, sing along, and leads audiences into social folk dances and boisterous German style fun. Her vocals have been described as "effervescent". Before forming the band, she performed with Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express (where she earned the nick-name "ricochet"), rabble roused at German themed corporate events, and worked as emcee for several German festivals beginning in 1998. Valina still emcees for the Addison Oktoberfest, The Tomball German Heritage Festival, Tomball German Christmas Market, and the Galveston Oktoberfest.
Tuba: Kerry Jones joined Das Ist Lustig in 2011, immediately adding to the band with some great bass licks on the tuba. Kerry has been playing tuba most of his life - he played with Alpenfest in the late 1980's, and plays with various musicians at Rudy Lechners restaurant from time to time. His musical prowess and subtle sense of humor is an excellent addition to the band. When Kerry isn't available, Ray Grim from the TubaMeisters plays with them.
Other drummers who work with the band are Glen Renfro, Jeff Ryder and Michael Morris.
Glen is an amazing percussionist with a magnetic personality. When he works with the band, there are two Bavarian xylophones, two Alphorns, two singing saws, 3 yodelers, and a plethora of cowbells. Glen is playful and youthful in his presentations. Sometimes going off on a tangent that no one expects.
Jeff is a veteran drummer with strong, steady beats and nice singing voice. He loves to drive long distances too, so he's a wonderful addition for the long road trips. He owns Jeff Ryder's drum shops; one located in Austin and one in San Antonio. His red signature drum sticks are the best for boomba and drum playing.
Michael worked with and recorded with Das Ist Lustig in 2012. Michael also plays drums periodically with The Alex Meixner Band, The Temple Jazz Orchestra, and many others. His steady beat, wacky personality, character accents and clean vocals add a nice twist to the Das Ist Lustig experience.
Dancers/ Audience participation specialists assist making the atmosphere truly a party. Das Ist Lustig enjoys working with talented people like De Ellis, Heidi Holadio, and the new group Das Ist Keine Kunst German Folk Dance Troupe. Dancers help lead folk dances, and other interactive things. Their friendly demeanor is inviting to even the shyest of guests. When enough dancers are available for the show, German folk dances and Schuhplattlers are included as part of the entertainment package. ...What is a Schuhplattler? Remember the scene in National Lampoons European Vacation when Clark joined that group of men on the dance sqaure who were slapping their feet, knees, and each other? That's a Schuhplattler (sort of). In Texas, it is quite effective keeping the mosquitos away.
Das Ist Lustig is fun as a duo, a 3, 4 or 5 piece band. They offer a great dance and show band complete with tuba, drums and plenty of folk instruments. With upbeat polkas, romantic waltzes, audience interaction, controlled chaos and sassy humor, this band will charm every guest. Give them a try at your next event. You and your guests will be glad you did!
Ross is available for vocal performance. He sings the National Anthem for the opening ceremonies at the Tomball German festivals. He has performed The Lord's Prayer a'capella for weddings, funerals, and formal dinners. Other songs are available by request.
For price and availability, call or e-mail: (area code 713) 598-8317 or prostyall(at)windstream.net