Ute Lemper, the slinky, smoldering German actress-chanteuse who starred in the revival of Chicago in London, New York City and briefly on tour, released a new CD, "Punishing Kiss," April 4. The 12-cut recording, on the Decca label, features songs by Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Neil Hannon, The Divine Comedy, Philip Glass, Tom Waits, Scott Walker and Kurt Weill.
"The songs on this album [by the contemporary songwriters] are like contemporary Kabarett songs," Lemper writes in the liner notes. She admits that her approach to her repertoire now and in the past, has been "very contemporary, rather rough and psychological, unvainly realistic and very rarely romantic."
Long associated with Kurt Weill sings, Lemper included "Tango Ballad" by Weill from The Threepenny Opera. She sings the Jenny-Macheath duet with The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon.
"The year 2000 is the centenary of [Weill's] birth and the 50th anniversary of his death," she writes. "That's why I insisted on including this duet...I never recorded Weill in a contemporary arrangement, although I always wanted to. Finally, I was able to sing these Brecht words in an edgy, spooky sound..."
Lyrics are included in the liner notes. Lemper's U.S. concert tour began April 7.
-- By Kenneth Jones