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Alexandra Bookmark and Share

About:

May 19, 1942 - July 31, 1969

Doris Nefedov, maiden name Treitz, was born in Šilutė, Lithuania. The family fled the country after expulsion of Germans during and after WWII to Germany. At age 17, she left school in Kiel to become a fashion designer and actor in Hamburg, studying at Margot-Höpfner-Schauspielschule, working in several jobs to earn the money. Meanwhile she studied to play the piano and started writing her own songs. In 1965 she joined the City Preachers as singer. At age 19, Doris took part in the Miss Germany pageant. In order to pay the rent, they had to lease a room, to a Russian, Nikolai Nefedov, who was 49 years old and en route to emigration into the US. Doris fell in love, they married. After their boy Alexander (‘Sascha’) was born when she was 20, the couple got a divorce and Nefedov went to America alone.

As she did not consider her legal name Doris Nefedov as helpful for a career, she chose Alexandra instead, after her son. Before a concert of singer Salvatore Adamo, the crowd booed other new female talents away, until Alexandra won them over with her rather melancholic style. Hans R. Beierlein, manager of Udo Jürgens, became her manager, friend and lover. Under his guidance she joined the Orchester Hazy Osterwald for a tour through Germany and Russia (in which Beierlein saw a market for her music). Alexandra's first hit single, ‘Zigeunerjunge’ (gypsy boy), was released in 1967; several more releases followed, including , ‘Schwarze Balalaika’ (black balalaika) and ‘Mein Freund, der Baum’ (my friend, the tree). Most of the songs became no big hits. Her only true hit she was forced to record (and was not written by herself), ‘Sehnsucht’ (yearning). She vowed not to sing again after recording.

In her international career, she performed songs in several other languages besides German as well, including French, English, Russian and Hebrew, and worked together with Adamo and Gilbert Becaud. In 1968, she travelled to Brazil to meet with Antônio Carlos Jobim  and perform in Rio de Janeiro. The journey was filmed by Truck Branss for ARD television under the title “Alexandra: Ein Portrait in Musik“ (1969). In spring of 1969, she was awarded the "Golden Europa" award for best newcomer. Soon, she had to take a time-out in Davos due to the stress of her career which soon resumed after a move to Munich. A performance at the Grand Prix de la Chanson with Siw Malmkvist, Peggy March and Rex Gildo was cancelled.

Later that year she met Pierre Lafaire, and they intended to marry but under pressure of the family the wedding was cancelled. Allegdly she started receiving threatening phone calls making her to write her last will in favour of her son and mother. On July 31, 1969 Alexandra dies under mysterious circumstances. Travelling to Hamburg to negotiate with her record company she collides with a truck near the town of Tellingstedt, Holstein. She was buried at Munich’s Westfriedhof. Rumours of sabotage are spreading soon after and her death is linked to her affair with Pierre Lafaire (who was suspected to be an American secret agent). A biography released in 1999 by movie director Marc Boettcher got unconfirmed threats but in 2004 Stasi archived documents confirmed the rumours. In 2006 a second biography is released under the title ‘Singen und Suizid – Aufstieg und Niedergang einer deutschen Sängerin’. A musical about her life ‘Kiel Alexandraplatz’ by Peter Schanz will premiere in November 2011. Her son Alexander Skovitan led the Ural Kozakchoir untill 2008.

On the web:

- Official fansite of Alexandra: http://www.alexandra-welt.de/
- Alexandra's grave: http://www.findagrave.com/

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Marta Kubisova (Czech republic)

What do we think:

DB: One of sadder Europop stories. I saw a biopic on German TV when I stayed in Berlin somewhere around 2004 and was fascinated by the dramatic persona. Her life story is one of poverty, wrong choices, suicide attempts and being misunderstood. Excellent diva-material. She is almost completely unknown outside Germany but delivered some unique German liedermacher material. It is a mix of chanson, central-european folk and blues. She was launched in the schlagermarket but she actually has not much to do with that genre. Her songs are dramatic and dark. Her legacy is only three albums and a soundtrack but did not lose much of their power over the years. The original albums were released somewhere around 2008 in boxset on CD under the title 'Illusionen'. Looking for them on vinyl may turn out to be quite a search but well worth your effort..

Recommendations:

♪♪♪♪ - Premiere mit Alexandra - 1967

♪♪♪♪♪ - Alexandra - 1968

♪♪♪ - Träume...Illusionen... - 1969 (Club-release)

♪♪♪♪ - Sehnsucht - Ein Portrait in Musik - 1969

------------------------------------------------------------------------
♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


 

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