Friedel Hensch & Die Cyprys

A hybrid singing group of sorts, Friedel Hensch & Die Cyprys were a massively popular quartet in Germany from 1946 until the end of the 1960s. Hensch was born on July 7, 1906, in the German town of Landsberg/Warthe (now part of Poland and called Gorzow Wielkopolski) and began singing on-stage in Berlin at age 12. She became a cabaret singer in her twenties and gradually furthered her career without achieving much fame during the 1930s and early '40s. Her breakthrough came in 1946 when, with her husband Werner Cyprys (1922-2000), and Karl Geithner and Kurt Krysock, she became part of the quartet. With their mix of German popular music and then-fashionable American-style pop, including elements of swing music, and their light, upbeat sound, they constituted a welcome relief from the miseries accompanying the aftermath of World War II. Following their debut in a club on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, they took the country by storm. Their sound makes one think of a Teutonic version of the Merry Macs. The quartet generated dozens of hit records in Germany in the decades immediately following the war, and also appeared in nearly a dozen movies. Cyprys wrote hundreds of songs. They went their separate ways as a group in 1972, and Hensch passed away in 1990, at age 84, while Cyprys -- who was 16 years her junior -- died, at age 78, in 2000. Their music has been reissued by both Polygram and Bear Family. ~ Bruce Eder

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