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Napoleon dynamic

Indie band Bonaparte’s modern vaudeville show comes to town.

Published: January 30, 2013 (Issue # 1744)



  • Bonaparte has a reputation for flamboyant and colorful performances.
    Photo: MELISSA HOSTETLER

A trash circus, a celebration of hedonism, a grotesque theatre: The performances of Berlin-based indie band Bonaparte, which returns to St. Petersburg this week, can be described in many ways, but one thing is certain — this is no ordinary band.

Bonaparte, renowned for its colorful performances in which a cheerful army of freaks wearing incredible costumes and masks amuse the audience to the accompaniment of songs by lead singer Tobias Jundt, brings its brand of dance-punk and electro rock enriched with carnival traditions to the city’s A2 Club on Feb. 2.

The worldwide success of Bonaparte is primarily due to founder Jundt, a Swiss “dissident” whose original point of view and sense of humor is evident in his philosophical approach to life: “If I could only choose three things: Family, music and kizlyarka [Dagestani grape vodka], I am quite happy!” he said in an interview with The St. Petersburg Times ahead of the upcoming local gig.

The eccentric stage outfits worn by Jundt are a distinctive feature of the band’s concerts.

“I never enjoyed looking like everyone else much, even as a child. Make-up and clothing and songs can give you a lot of strength,” said Jundt, who often appears on stage in black eyeliner, a flame-colored wig and a jacket reminiscent of the Napoleonic era.

“I am not really afraid to do something silly along the way or use languages that I do not actually speak,” said Jundt. “You have to have fun. I am interested in what happens when the music hits the audience, if everything becomes one. Also I naturally combine sobriety and humor. I always felt that you should meet your topics wholeheartedly, but it doesn’t hurt to bring it across with a bit of irony or a twist in the roles,” he added.

Jundt founded Bonaparte in 2006 and the group performed its first show in the now legendary Bar 25 in Berlin. According to Jundt, the name Bonaparte made sense in the early days of the project.

“I drove around Europe in my small sixties car putting little flags in places where I wanted to go to. It was like a calling. I was a bit afraid, when we first visited Russia, that we might encounter Napoleon’s fate from 1812, but we clearly did a better job than him, because we came with love in our hearts and music in our guns.”

Along the way, Jundt made new friends who wanted to take part in the project and now Bonaparte, which functions more as a collective than as a typical band, includes around 20 artists. The concert at A2, which is to take place a day after the group’s show in Moscow, is expected to feature eight of the group.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organization’s office.


Take the opportunity to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Center’s series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this month’s lessons being “visual arts.”



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