The Starved Peasant is the alter ego of Uwe “Balou” Bartsch, and has been around for more than 40 years. Starting as a rather rebel bunch of punk oriented folkies in the early 1980s in Germany, the political climate in Germany was somewhere in between Red Army Fraction sympathisers and right wing neo-nazi splinter groups, Balou stayed on and off in his troubled, but formidable exiled home of Berlin Kreuzberg. Living in squats, these partisan freedom punks managed to build their own little communities including shops and bakeries, cafes and hang-out pads, all in the multi stories of derelict SO36 (Post Code). For more on Balou’s communities of protest click here. In those days, not unlike now, you’d be pushed to find the Peasant performing with the same artists twice. This was not because nobody wanted to, but due to the fact the Bear (Balou a.k.a. The Starved Peasant) just wanted new stuff, change and no acclimatising in his music and/or uncompromising performances. Sometimes Punk, Rock, Blues, sometimes JazzPunk, other times Kraut-Rap (predecessor to Kraut-Hop (German Hip Hop), the Peasant did not repeat himself.

In the early 1980s Balou was asked to "sit in" playing drums (Balou's first and only properly trained instrument) with some Blues cats form the US. Turned out to be John Lee Hooker, Katie Webster and Koko Taylor. Balou bullshitted his way into playing guitars with those three after it emerged that they brought their own drummer. That's when Balou's ears and eyes were opened to the Blues. He never stopped listening to, nor playing them Blues, and he became a true officianado and ambassador of this incredible and original tell-tale art of murder, lynching, sex and abuse. Today, the Bear spends broadcasting, touring, recording, and performing together with  Blues and Folk/Blues wanderers and likeminded souls from all over this beautiful planet.

Becoming a DJ and Radio Broadcaster was not what Balou had in mind, but it all started in a nightclub on Berlin's Kudamm (Kurfuerstendamm), the centre of this unbelievably lively metropolis of the 1980s. Discovering Hip-Hop, Kraut-Hop (German Hip-Hop) and mixing it with Blues, Reggae, Punk and often just Poetry, Balou soon became the hot tip-off on the Szene Spree (the Spree is a river that runs through Berlin).  

Turbulent times and clashes with the law (kinda) forced Balou to leave his beloved Berlin, so in '87 the Bear moved into his chosen exile to Scotland, leaving a somewhat darker speckled past behind. In the most beautiful country on earth's capital city Edinburgh, he joined Europe's largest night club The Amphitheater as laser and light jockey, dazzling thousands every midnight with the world's largest laser display in any night club at the time. Radio and Television have always been in Balou's life, from his runner days at RTL (Radio Television Luxembourg) to his joining a BBC production house as broadcast video editor. In 1989 Balou formed Fox TV in Edinburgh with his best friend and partner Mike Scott and together they produced a series of music videos and documentaries on musical and spiritual themes.

Since then our Bear continued to tour with Blues artists from all over the place to venues everywhere they'll have him. In 2016, after broadcasting his show The Starved Peasant with Balou, at three different radio stations, Balou joined Exile FM in Leicester, where he found a family of like-minded music lovers, eclectic and diverse in persona and taste. Exile FM is now home for Balou's live radio show The Starved Peasant with Balou and airs every Friday night from 9pm - 11pm (UK time) .

Not much changed musically, and today - Balou still performs with different musicians (for a taste of some of their work click here), painting a picture of poetry using guitars, drums, drum machines, beat-box, bass, often brass and/or woodwind instruments... 

To listen to last week's live show and to download the whole show, click here. Tune in to Exile FM every Friday from 9PM (UK time) for a live helping of The Starved Peasant With Balou. ClickLikeShare- BE THERE!

Balou Rants, Clips & Bloggy Things...

TaSH sULtAna - MRtV - UNplUGged iN MElBOurNe 

I've been following Tash Sultana for years when she was busking the streets and festivals. I love her music, her spirit, her voice and her multi-instrumentalist approach to just about everything. She's not had an easy life but she's caught a wave and finally enjoys the success she so clearly deserves. Enjoy this little clip of her song Coma. Enjoy 

ThiNKinG oF DaviD BoWIe 

This (the story David tells) has got to be the ultimate tribute to Iggy Pop and David Bowie’s collaborations. They were not just musical pals, they were movers and shakers together. I love this wee story. The first time I met David was in Berlin in 1980. I think our wee town brought his punk heart out. He really owned that city. Tears baby, tears... 

ThaT'S hOW It's DoNE 

And that’s how it’s done, this performance thing. Oh what I’d give for that band to be behind me. I’ve known to rely on amazing musicians over the years, and whilst I’ve turned into a reclusive regarding performances, there is no better feeling in the world than to be able to totally trust your band. When no words are needed and everybody just knows their shit. That’s when music truly flows. - It’s divine….I know some of my hard working, recording, and in the road music friends will appreciate this (I hope, I wish, I pray ). Just a wee thank you for all the work you do in the name of making people feel better.

BeST FrIEndS bANd 

Best Friends Band, its a musician family from Siberia, Russia. Father, mother and son, Nickolay, Diana and Jeka Petrovskii. Donation: You can help to the channel and support this amazing musical family by clicking here or via Sberbank 5336 6901 0762 3847.

WoZU sInD KRieGe dA - WhAT arE WArS tHeRE fOR? 

Udo Lindenberg, one of Germanies true Originals. I grew up with his music and his poetic lyrics of honest life and rebellion. This song from 1981 (I was not long a young soldier in the West German army), is so close to my heart. It's about the age old question Wozu Sind Kriege Da? or What Are Wars There For? Here's a we translation.

What Are Wars There For?

Nobody wants to die, that is for sure
Then what are wars there for?
Mister President, aren't you one of these gentlemen
You must know why
Can you explain it to me?

No mother wants to lose her children
And no wife her husband.
Then why do have soldiers to march off
To murder people - just explain it to me
What are wars there for?

Mister President, I am now ten years old
And I am scared in this forest of atomic missiles.
Tell me the truth, tell it to me now
For what is my life being put on stake?
And the lives of all the others - just tell me why

They load their guns and kill one another
They face each other and they could be friends
But before they get to know each other, they shoot each other dead
I think that is so stupid, why does it have to be this way?

Did you ask all the billions of people all over the world
If they want it that way
Or is it also a question of money?
Much money for the few magnates,
Who build tanks and missiles

And then buy gold and diamonds
For their elegant wives
Or is it also about some religious bullshit?
That people cannot agree
As to what god is the right one?

Or what other reasons are there?
That I think are equally stupid
Well, maybe I can't understand it yet
Why wars are necessary
I guess I'm still too small
I'm just a child

WHaT iT wAS lIKe (bErLIn iN theM '80s) 

Balou: "I loved Berlin in the 1980s. We had everything, but most of all, very strong communities of independent punks, squatters, alternatives, and hippies. All living for free in Kreuzberg, occupying disused, but otherwise totally perfect houses in Berlin. Hey - they called them places social housing, even though nobody was living there. Here's a little insight into squatting in Kreuzberg in the '80s. Of course governments don't like Anarchists, although I'd like to call us Voluntaryists because everything we did, we did voluntarily and there were no rulers. The Berlin Senat (at that time West Berlin wasn't strictly a part of West Germany, because it was in the middle of East Germany, and in the occupied zone that was established by the allies after World War II. It all ended in a nightmare and I left in '87 when the Polizei (police) started to hunt us and caused us serious bodily harm. I was a revolutionary, but not mad, and I knew our uprising was lost then" 

SeAsIcK STeVe - BabY PlEaSE DoN'T gO 

Many moons ago, I worked for an RTL production house, which was my introduction to TV and Radio work. This broadcaster has an amazing history of playing new, old, but most of all, innovative music to an ever growing audience. Here's Ole Seasick Steve with an old classic. Enjoy! 

Lynzie Dray - Spirited Away 

This was the first time I heard and saw my wee sister in arms Lynzie Dray. We had just lost our platoon/company clown to cancer and this wee video so much reminded me of him. He was often very misunderstood, and yet all he wanted to do make folk laugh in situations where humour was the only thing that kept us going. This tune and video just hit me right between the eyes. I reached out and contacted her, and she responded. I knew straight away that we would be good pals… Lynzie has an amazing album out right now, and I love listening to her moody, honest, heartbreakingly beautiful, and simply stunning approaches to her craft. To hear and purchase Lynzie Dray's album S.H.E. click here.

You are visitor number: 254103

Join the mailing list

Click the photo for last Friday's show.

Click the photo for last Friday's show.

BTW, Balou plays Yamaha Guitars, Fender Guitars, Breedlove Mandolins, Bogner Effect Pedals, and Marshall Amplification... Click on each logo below to find out more.