OBSCURA Frontman Learned Piano From Pope Benedict XVI's Brother
Obscura guitarist and vocalist Steffen Kummerer is clearly a talented guy who knows his way around his music theory. Kummerer tells Ultimate Guitar in a new interview that his knowledge of music stems back to when he was a young kid attending music boarding school in the south of Germany.
In a weird twist to the interview, Kummerer reveals that his teacher at the school was Georg Ratzinger. Georg is the brother of Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI, who served the Catholic church from 2005 to 2013.
That's true, yeah. I first had to learn piano and sing in the choir. I went to a boarding school for musically gifted kids from the age of nine or 10 and I was there for a couple years. It was interesting, it was a very catholic school in the south of Germany, and guess who my teacher was? It was the brother of the pope [Georg Ratzinger]. So I had to learn music the hard way for two or three years until I was fired from the school because I was not the nicest person on Earth at the time. Then I didn't do any music for a couple of years. At the age of 16, I found the guitar and began to translate everything I had learned on guitar to the piano. So I was a little bit advanced and had a little bit of an advantage when I went to play the guitar. What I kept from all those years [in boarding school] was my hearing, especially from the tests we had to write. Once a week there was a test where the teacher would play a melody and we would have to write it down without any mistakes. This helped all the kids, we all benefitted from that, but everything else, not so much.
Steffen Kummerer was born in 1985, so he'd have probably attended the school around 1995. Meaning he didn't quite know Georg when his brother was the pope, but it's a fun bit of trivia to know about Kummerer and Obscura.
Did I mention Obscura's phenomenal new album Diluvium is out this Friday? Because it is and you need it. Trust me.