There’s only one place to be on a Sunday afternoon in Berlin and that’s Mauerpark. Why? Because of Bearpit Karaoke of course! It’s one of the few places where a portable, battery-powered karaoke machine in a field can attract hundreds of visitors willing to sit around for a couple of hours (or close to seven in my case!) and be entertained by singers with a wide range of abilities.
Bearbit Karaoke is for everyone. We heard talents from six continents, an elderly man singing ‘I Did It My Way’ in perfect German, punk rockers from Belarus and Uzbekistan and of course there were a group of French school children singing ‘Aux Champs Elysees’ not to mention a group of Mexicans singing with chicken suits on. You know, the usual. If you’re not much of a singer like me, that’s okay. It’s a perfect way to relax on a sunny afternoon singing along with the well-known tracks with an ice cold refreshment. I accidentally ordered a €4 “fancy water” from one of the people wandering around with trays. The water turned out to be a mojito. I mean, I should have realised with the lime and mint leafs floating around. Oh and the ridiculous price but whatever. One mojito turned into two more spicy Tabasco shots that we were told were watermelon flavour by our friends. Jokes on you, guys, I happen to love spicy things.However, if you do want to sing, here’s some rules you should follow if you want to be memorable;
1. You can only get away with an unknown song if you’re talented. The more talent you have the more unknown you can go. If you’re average, stick with ‘Wonderwall’. Then everyone can sing along and nobody gets bored.
2. If you’re doing a joke song make sure it’s funny and do it well. Everyone loves people who sing songs outside their genre, think grown men singing Britney. However, this can go horribly wrong, think young white girl singing Kanye a la Marnie from ‘Girls’. Again, stick with songs everyone knows so at least if it’s an epic fail, you’ll have the crowd singing along to support you.
3. Sing songs from your country. Nobody can be mad at an Irish person singing U2 or a Swede singing Abba. In many ways Bearpit Karaoke is a bit like a smaller version of the Eurovision Song Contest with less of a budget and everyone is invited. If no one is going to remember the song, at least they’ll remember your nationality. And finally…
4. Make sure to sing an upbeat song that will leave everyone smiling. Nobody wants to be bummed out after your ‘Mad World’ rendition unless you’re willing to put on a hell of a show. If it’s sad, turn it into broadway.And yeah, it’s a bit embarrassing if your song was a total flop or when everyone else is singing along and you don’t know the words, but hey, that’s karaoke! And it’s Berlin. Trust me, once the next act comes on, you’ll probably be forgotten about within ten minutes, so just sit back and relax with a “fancy water” or a “watermelon” shot and enjoy the rest of your afternoon.