Moka Efti Orchestra is an international sensation that first gained notoriety on the hit Netflix series Babylon Berlin.
The 14 member ensemble were first cast as musicians for the series and are all renowned players. The group was pieced together by composer and show music supervisor Nikko Weidemann, & composer Mario Kamien, along with saxophonist/arranger Sebastian Borkowski. The series invites the viewer into the Moka Efti, a re-creation of the famous pre-World War II Berlin club, with the goal to bring back the music and the vibe of the '20s. The Moka Efti was an entertainment palace during 1920s Berlin and is also a prominent set location for the TV series.
In the wake of the show’s international success and due to enthusiastic fan response, the Moka Efti Orchestra became an actual entity. The ensemble started to tour and perform their hits from the show’s soundtrack with vocalist, and series actor Severija Janusauskaitė aka SEVERIJA. Capitalizing on the momentum of their popularity, the Orchestra has now created a 13 song album featuring new versions of their popular songs plus new compositions. The album Erstausgabe
sees its North American debut on April 16th on Six Degrees Records. Available Now
From the onset of the series, album composers and arrangers were tasked to focus on musically defining vivid contemporary emotions, rather than worrying about achieving 100% historical accuracy. A lofty task for the most ambitious TV series in German film history. Music industry veterans, Weidemann, has been rooted for decades in the international musical subculture and Kamien has made a name for himself as part of the 90s duo dZihan&Kamien. Borkowski is a successful sax and flautist in Berlin’s jazz scene. With guidance from the series directors, they took the band and its music to unimaginable new heights.
The band’s compositions and arrangements range from swing, blues, ragtime, Chanson, Big Band Charleston to Klezmer. The track “Zu Asche, Zu Staub” is a fan favorite standout. The song appears on the new album with an original arrangement featuring singer SEVERIJA. Another standout is “Snake – Together Alone,” showcasing Severija’s deep, smooth and silky voice, set over the orchestra’s bluesy, R&B influenced, powerful soundscape.
The ensemble had been touring throughout Europe and Germany up until COVID-19. Highlight performances have included Brandenburg Gate, German Unity day, Europe’s GQ Awards, sold out shows at the famous Ballhaus Berlin, Munich Philharmonie, and Kassel ́s opera house.
Paste says “Watching Babylon Berlin
is often a visceral experience, one you may occasionally need a break from yet find it hard to tear yourself away. It is simply stunning television that has for too long been buried in the depths of Netflix’s vast catalogue. Seek it out like that fabled Russian gold. You will, indeed, uncover a treasure.”
Entertainment Weekly has proclaimed the series the best TV show for self-isolation.
Moka Efti Orchestra! New record is out now on Six Degrees Records.
Moka Efti Orchestra
Violin: Roland Satterwhite, Daniel Weltlinger, Olga Holdorff
Viola: Sebastian Peszko
Tenor saxophone & flute: Sebastian Borkowski
Trumpet: Florian Menzel, Philipp Kacza
Trombone: Simon Harrer, Andrej Ugoljew
Bass trombone: Friedrich Mil
Clarinet: Gregoire Peters
Baritone saxophone & bass flute: Andreas Dormann
Baritone saxophone: Lars Zander
Banjo & Piano / Keyboards: Mario Kamien
Banjo: Igor Osypov
Piano & Mellotron: Nikko Weidemann
Drums, percussion, vibraphone, Timpani: Larry Mullins
Drums: Tobias Backhaus
Double bass: Paul Kleber
Featured singers: Severija, Moritz Krämer, Roland Satterwhite, Mario Kamien, Nikko Weidemann, Sebastian Borkowski, Philipp Kacza.