Every Sunday thousands of Berliners crowd into a public amphitheater in Mauerpark (“wall park) to watch terribly untalented people sing their hearts out. The tradition started just last summer when 37-year-old Irishman Joe Hatchiban did an impromptu Karaoke session with just his laptop and five or six park goers sitting nearby. Now the weekly party is a bohemian institution. Joe has moved shop into the park’s amphitheater, upgraded to high class speakers and attracted food and drink vendors to the area so you can dine and booze (beers and tacos are just 2 euro) while watching.
If you’re feeling an American Idol inspiration, you can add your name to the Kaoroke list and wait for Joe to call you (and you will have to wait, the 20 person list was full!). We weren’t about to submit the public to our voices but we had a great time cheering on an aging German man who sang a traditional, national song and then a young woman from Detroit who belted out the Spice Girls’ “If You Wanna Be My Lover”. In this park that once housed a divisive wall, the contrasting performances were a perfect symbol of the international love Germany now vividly strives for. The enthusiastically involved crowd adds a midday party and unified feel as well.
Overall we were impressed by Joe’s thriving business. And jealous. We have never seen a public performer make bank in a passed around tip jar like this guy. He certainly earns it.