Introducing Helena Goldt (or, as she refers to herself, the ‘Kazakh steppe lady with European roots’) a classical singer who was indeed born with a musical gift. Her parents had met and fell in love in music class back in Kazakhstan in the times when the country was still part of the Soviet Union. At age six Helena’s Russian-German family left their home country for a small town in Baden-Württemberg. “I grew up in a very small, conservative town in Germany. It was strange because in school and among my friends I was always the only ‘Russian’ around. But then at home with my family we only spoke German – even though my parents had a broad Russian accent,” Helena recounts “I guess we just really wanted to be part of our new home.”
After high school she moved to Augsburg and then to Nuremberg where she was trained academically as a classical singer. It was in 2012 that Helena found her home in the German capital. “In Berlin I found my Russian-German roots,” the singer explains, conveying the excitement of this period in her life: “For years as a teenager and young adult I was always the only person with a Russian background. And now in Berlin I am the Russian singer who is celebrated for maintaining her German connection.” Helena tells me that she is the cultural ambassador for youth with the LmDR – an organization for Germans with Russian origins.
Helena’s time at the moment is being spent on several projects; she sings with the Kaliningrad Orchestra, performs in a duo with Berlin-based Greek guitarist Konstantine Margaritis as well as singing for her own band, Sputniki, which consists of four different musical talents with migration backgrounds. Her repertoire ranges from the James Bond performance in the Berlin Radialsystem V across to contemporary classical music in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and work in film with orchestral accompaniment. She likes to push beyond the boundaries of her classical education however she brings the powerful warmth, the temperament and the nostalgia of Eastern Europe to everything she does. “I always wanted to do something which wouldn’t simply fit into a box,” Helena says and tells me that she sees herself as a ‘Kazakh steppe lady with European roots’.
Helena holds her appearance as a woman as something important to her, “On the one hand it’s commonly said that Russian women are very flossy but on the other hand I think that we have something incredibly wild, strong and powerful,” Helena reflects on her thoughts. “We are at once a lover, a mother and a holy whore,” she breaks into a hearty laugh “Hey, Berlin is not a city of medium standards,” as she goes on to explain, “But that is why I love living and working here so much.”