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Poems for Laila

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A German-based folk-rock band with touches of Eastern European musical traditions, Poems for Laila formed in Berlin in 1989 under the initial guidance of duo Nikolai Tomás and Roy Eisenberg. Other members — at this point — included Melissa Lour, Nile Arndt, and Speedy Sheppard. Their mix of Hungarian and Russian folk with rock stylings caught the ears and attentions of the judges at the Berlin Senate song competition in 1989, and shortly thereafter Poems for Laila released their first album, Another Poem for the 20th Century on independent label Berliner Vielklang. Following a lengthy tour of the continent, as well as a number of television appearances, Poems for Laila signed wtih major player Polydor. They quickly released two albums with the label, 1991's La Filette Triste and 1992's Katamandu, before being shuttled to sister label Phonogram. 1994's full-length, I Shot the Moon, was produced by none other than Roxy Music luminary Phil Manzanera. Although the band was riding a high in 1995, Nikolai took leave of the band to focus on a solo career. He went on to record his own records as well as forming a band called Die Band auf Eis. The release — and success — of a 2000 best of compilation of Poems for Laila's work called Nikolai back to the fold, and in 2002 the band released the new studio work, On a Wedneday. Their next album, Frühstück In Budapest followed in 2004, and a successful national tour was undertaken. The band had a short hiatus in 2005-2006 as Tomas focused on his own work. The return of Poems for Laila in 2007 was notable in that the majority of the band line-up had changed, and the release the full length Klamm that year. A live DVD and CD celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band was planned for release in 2008.

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