Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2021

Honors Major Advisor

Waltraud Maierhofer

Thesis Mentor

Waltraud Maierhofer


This work focuses on analyzing in further detail an East German singing movement that developed during the 1960s, the hootenanny movement as it was initially called and later the FDJ singing movement. This works focuses in detail on the North American folk music influences on the movement and the largest and most well-known group, the Hootenanny Klub Berlin or later the Oktoberklub. A brief introduction to aspects of East German music, and notably political music is provided before looking at the influences that North American artists had both indirectly and directly on the movement. The political environment of various musicians in the American context of the Folk Revival is also looked at as a way of understanding how North American folk music was imported into an East German context. Various conflicts within the movement with origins within political and musical themes in part brought by the North American influence, such as antiwar politics, are also briefly disused. The lasting legacy of the hootenanny movement on East German society and East German political music is also analyzed. Overall North American folk music deeply permeated the hootenanny movement in East Germany. From the initial performing artists, the songs covered and used as inspiration, as well as the world view of many club members. North American folk music deeply influenced the hootenanny movement. One reason for the importation of this largely American folk music tradition was some of the politics inherit in the initial American Folk Revival, most notably the early generation of American artists, who had had ties to left wing political parties and movements in the United States. There were difficulties and conflicts within the movement that had their origins, in part, due to some aspects of the political themes imported from North American folk music traditions. Most notably antiwar songs and pacifism orientated politics created friction within the movement and with party and government authorities. The lasting legacies of the North American influence on the hootenanny movement were the increase of interest in folk music in East Germany as well as the internationalization of East German political music.


Folk Music, History, East Germany, Politics

Total Pages

45 pages


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