From Wuppertal, 20 miles or so east of Düsseldorf, Hölderlin evolved out of a 60's folk group playing Fairport Convention and Pentangle songs. They took their name from the 19th Century writer Friedrich Hölderlin. Originally, they were a family band, the core was the brothers Christian and Jochen Grumbcow, with Christian's wife Nanny as lead singer. Their debut HÖLDERLIN'S TRAUM (aka "Hoelderlin's Dream") aptly lived up to its title, superbly recorded at Dierks' studio, with a trippy cosmic feel, progressive folk, full of rich textures, psychedelic, medieval and classical touches. The multiple strings: violins, cellos, acoustic guitars, along with flutes, piano, and rock instruments including Mellotron, made for a rich diversity, all topped-off by Nanny's delicate singing.
Three years on, Nanny had left, and one Joachim Käseberg had joined. There was a big change though, with a shift to electric rock instruments. HOELDERLIN presented a new style, opening with "Schwebebahn", an instrumental that riffs at breakneck speed, with the king-pin of the new sound: Nops Noppeny's electric viola to the fore. Hints of Genesis and King Crimson were added. CLOWNS & CLOUDS saw a split into two styles: "Clown Side" being more song-based and complex, with hints of Genesis and Caravan, and "Cloud Side" with largely instrumental lengthy tracks fronted by Nops' viola moving closer to King Crimson. Christian Grumbcow moved on to become the band's manager, after this. RARE BIRDS was Hoelderlin perfected, deep and otherworldly. A magical album, sedate yet also dynamic, the ultimate track of all being the Pablo Weeber penned "Necronomicon". The double LIVE TRAUMSTADT, recorded two months later, proved them to be an amazing live band. With only eight tracks, much of it RARE BIRDS and CLOWNS & CLOUDS material, the extended space resulted in a much more instrumental music. The tour-de-force is the exclusive "Die Stadt" which trips out to King Crimson realms, but with that uniquely Hoelderlin cosmic touch.
Following this, the band disintegrated and regrouped, but never regained the magic. NEW FACES featured Eduard Schicke from SFF, along with other new names, but it disappointed with a mildly progressive trendy styled rock, virtually all their originality had been squeezed out, to make a safe easily digestible music. FATA MORGANA was even less interesting.
Nanny de Ruig (vocals), Nops Noppeney (violin, viola, piano, flute), Peter Käseberg (bass, acoustic guitar, vocals), Michael Bruchmann (drums, percussion), Jochen Grumbcow (cello, flute, acoustic guitar, piano, organ, Mellotron), Christian Grumbcow (guitars), + Peter Bursch (sitar), Mike Hellbach (tablas), Walter Westrupp (flute