Gisela Jonas was a singer and bar owner. In Munich she still is a institution: “Die Schwabinger Gisela”- the Gisela from Schwabing. In the 50s and 60s Schwabing was the center of the Boheme in Germany, a place where artists, musicians, actors, “playboys” and all kinds of freaks met. Somebody from Munich could probably have written about her more competently, but apparently nobody has made an effort yet. She doesn`t have a wikipedia page and even more surprisingly, her music has never been re-released on CD or otherwise.
Born in 1929 Gisela started singing in bars when she was 20. In 1952 she opened her own bar “Bei Gisela” in the Occamstrasse, in the Munich district of Schwabing. In the late 50s and early 60s she was famous for singing dirty “chansons”. Her big hit was a parody version of “Der Novak lässt mich nicht verkommen”, a song about a woman’s indecent fantasies and her man “Novak”, who always keeps her from fulfilling them. In fact Gisela was so much of a one-hit-wonder, that she recorded many versions of that one song with new lyrics. Besides that she recorded a number of very good B-sides that i will focus on.
What I think is really great about her, is that she was so brave to sing about homosexuality, prostitution, drugs and sexual fantasies, when nobody was doing it. Her language is quite graphic, so much, that even today it is disturbing. Gisela Jonas was taken to court a couple of times but always got away without a sentence
On the back of this record sleeve somebody pasted a snippet from a Berlin newspaper that came out at the time of it`s release. It reports, that 2000 records were confiscated in a police raid on Gisela Jonas apartment in Munich and that even in Berlin the record was only to be sold under the counter.
Am 3. September 2009 erschien ein kleiner, von mir auf deutsch geschriebener, Text über Gisela in der Wochenzeitung Jungle World.
Er findet sich hier.
By the time this came out Gisela Jonas was the icon of Schwabing chosen by the big record company Phillips to represent Schwabing on this souvenir record. Of course the songs on this one are much tamer than her earlier work.
She married in 1965 and in 1975 moved away from Munich. In recent years she got some awards honoring her legendary status in Munich and a short film about her life was made for local Bavarian television.
A re-release of her complete recordings or a book about her interesting life remains to be published.