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Schützen-Organist becomes Tiktok star with the cover “Layla”

Jürgen Poggel, organist from South Westphalia, plays an organ.  Photo: Oliver Berg/dpa/archive image

Jürgen Poggel, organist from South Westphalia, plays an organ. photo

© Oliver Berg/dpa/archive image

A pop and hit medley is played on an organ at a gun fair in a small town in Sauerland. A video goes online. Days later, half of Germany talks about sexism and artistic freedom – and the organist becomes a Tiktok star.

Jürgen Poggel is 55 years old, teacher, was until recently top scorer in the village of Heinsberg (Olpe district) with almost 900 inhabitants and plays in a dance music band. “People know me a bit here in the Sauerland”, he says. The fact that the whole room is now saying “Jürgen! Jürgen!” chants and he has to take selfies with fans but it’s new. He owes his sudden and unexpected fame to an acoustic cover version of the controversial Ballermann song “Layla”, which he played on the organ in a church. A video of it went viral. It has now been viewed nearly two million times.

Poggel didn’t want to set an example in the sexism and band debate over the hit – he didn’t even know it was being filmed, let alone the song was posted on the short video platform Tiktok.

On July 10, Poggel plays the organ at a shooting fair in the municipality of Kirchhundem. At a mass like this, it’s common for hits to be played alongside hymns, he says. He thought of a medley with “Scandal in the limited area”, “Gangsta’s Paradise”, the James Bond melody and of course: “Layla”. Because when he performed with his dance band, he noticed that the song was very well received.

The song by DJ Robin & Schürze was at number one in the German single charts at the time, but was mainly known by fans of Malle and Sauf hits. While the sexist lyrics had already been criticized — the catchy tune revolves around a “puff mom” being “prettier, younger, hornier” — the big debate about it was yet to follow.

“I wanted to make people happy,” says Poggel. “And certainly show a little bit of what the organ can do.” He has been playing the instrument since he was fourteen. He didn’t want to mention a church scandal, nor did he want to think of anything that would upset people. There were really only positive reactions. “There was spontaneous applause,” says Poggel. Meanwhile, no one clapped along, no one sang along, but “listened fervently”. He himself only played the organ – so the controversial text could not be heard in the church.

In the days that followed it became known that the song was not wanted by the organizers at popular parties in Würzburg and Düsseldorf because of its sexist lyrics – and suddenly half of Germany was talking about artistic freedom, alleged censorship and whether the song was just for pleasure or had deep-seated misogyny. begot

What Poggel didn’t even notice while playing the organ: a colleague filmed the medley, which lasted more than three minutes. The video then went around in some chat groups. The following weekend, children are said to have addressed him: The fragment with “Layla” was on Tiktok, posted by Malle hit star Ikke Hipgold. “A reason to go back to church,” he wrote. Where did the pop singer get it? – “I don’t know. He didn’t ask me,” says Poggel. A few hours later, the video had more than 400,000 clicks and in the evening the million was cracked. “It made me nauseous,” he says.

But he only got positive reactions. He’s now a star when his dance band performs: “There’s a lot of laughing and patting on the back,” says Poggel. There are “Jürgen! Jürgen!” calls, selfie requests and calls for “Layla”. Several times at a concert she played alone on the keyboard – that’s how the audience wanted it.

On the one hand, he finds the debate about the text understandable, says Poggel. But you also have to show a bit of humor, that’s part of Ballermann songs. And the lyrics allow you to denounce many songs. “You should go around with a much bigger scythe and ban it,” he says. “From my educational experience, I think what happened was extremely inconvenient,” said Poggel, a high school music and geography teacher. “Everything I forbid in school is even more done,” he says.

Video on tiktok


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