Some of you may remember the heavy metal song and video by German group Rammstein, telling a very different, provocative and dark retelling of Snow White from 2001. The song was titled 'Sonne' (meaning 'sun' in German).
I don't remember, however, any folklorist ever lecturing on it at length, other than to point out that the video existed. Well now we have a chance to hear a scholarly opinion on it, as well as other unusual places fairy tale motifs and plot lines have appeared in modern and pop culture, arts and music.
The event is summarized on Facebook HERE, and I found an article detailing a little of the impetus for this lecture as well.
From the Carroll County Times:
McDaniel College professor of German Mohamed Esa has made a career of examining the symbolism of German folklore and fairy tales and said he sometimes sees those symbols, such as gold and poisoned apples, popping up in unlikely places. Even places as unlikely as the music of German heavy metal band Rammstein.
“I am not a fan, not a heavy metal guy, but some of the stuff that Rammstein does is very interesting,” Esa said. “They are very smart guys … some of their songs are based on famous poems by [German writer] Goethe or fairy tales by the brothers Grimm.”
Esa will give a multi-media lecture on Rammstein’s use of fairy tale imagery at Hoover Library on the McDaniel College campus from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 17.
Entitled “The Masters Reloaded: The Brothers Grimm and Rammstein,” the free talk will explore how symbols and themes from various versions of the Snow White fairy tale have been remastered and reinterpreted by Rammstein in the music video for their song, “Sonne.” Esa will present his talk and then show the music video.
“Snow White is really twisted in the video. She is not the sweet innocent girl that goes into the forest and who is kept safe by the seven dwarves,” Esa said. “She is mature, she is sexually active and she is addicted to gold cocaine. The miners, the five members of the band, they bring her the gold and she sniffs it like cocaine. The heroine is addicted to heroin, the divine drug. At the end, she literally gives herself a golden shot of death.”
According to Esa, Rammstein’s use of a gold-snorting Snow White is particularly interesting given a lesser-known version of the original tale that dates to around 1845.
“In that version, after Snow White is poisoned, the dwarves try to revive her using a tincture of gold in her nose,” he said. “Is it a coincidence that in the video Snow White is addicted to gold cocaine? For me when I read this, I said, ‘Whoa, there must be something there.’”
Esa said he first became aware of Rammstein in the late ’90s, around the time they had some crossover commercial success on American radio.You can read the rest of the article HERE.
For those who haven't seen it and would like to, I've embedded the video below. (If you can't handle heavy metal music I suggest just turning the sound down.):
What: The Masters Reloaded: The Brothers Grimm and Rammstein
When: 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Feb. 17
Where: The Wahrhaftig Room of the Hoover Library at McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster