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Tamara Lukasheva
»Cologne reminds me of my hometown Odessa: both are home to different cultures and very tolerant«

A day in the life of Tamara Lukasheva

|   day in the life

Award-winning Ukrainian jazz singer Tamara Lukasheva (34) has lived in Cologne since 2010. She recently curated a number of solidarity concerts to support fellow musicians in Ukraine

Cologne is by far my favourite city in Germany! For me, it’s very similar to my hometown of Odessa: they are both international, both home to many different cultures and both extremely tolerant. There’s just something in the air in Cologne that I find hard to describe: it’s probably the jeföhl – which is how the locals describe the city’s unique vibe or feeling. I just love living here! Cologne audiences are fantastic too: they are incredibly open to more experimental music and love hearing anything new. This always results in an amazing energy between the artist and audience.

I live in the district of Bickendorf and really enjoy the peace and quiet there. But my favourite part of the city is without a doubt Ehrenfeld – I love its mix of subculture and laid-back living! Of course, rampant gentrification has meant that a lot of brilliant places have just disappeared off the map. But such gems do still exist, and new ones are sprouting up all the time too. Coming to Ehrenfeld from quiet Bickendorf, you really notice the explosion of big-city life with all its cafés, bars, restaurants, little stores, clubs and cultural venues. I like Kaffeebud on Glasstrasse and the wonderful retro charm of Café Franck on Eichendorffstrasse. Sometimes I grab a coffee to go from Schamong on Venloer Strasse, admire the gorgeous flowers at the Goldregen florist on the other side of the street and have a stroll down to either of my ­favourite parks: the Takufeld or the Blücherpark. I also love wandering down Körnerstrasse with all its little shops. I buy my groceries at the packaging-free store Veedelskrämer. But I also like eating out, especially Asian food. I’m a big fan of the two Vietnamese restaurants Hanoi 36 and Viet Village and the international dishes on the menu at Speisemeister and Wallczka.

After two and half years of living with the pandemic, Cologne’s sophisticated cultural scene has finally returned. As an artist, I travel a lot, but I also like to be inspired by cultural events and fellow artists in my free time. Of course I love going to jazz concerts – for example at Stadtgarten or at Loft on Wissmannstrasse. Jazzorama, which takes place on Tuesdays at Arttheater, is great too: once the musicians have performed their individual sets, they all get together for a jam! Altes Pfandhaus on Kartäuserwall and Salon de Jazz in the former Severin monastery in the south of the city provide the ideal atmospheric backdrop. And Heimathirsch in Nippes offers a cool mix of bar and culture.

I also enjoy going to museums and am particularly fond of Museum Ludwig because it has such an incredibly varied collection. There are so many works to see that you can keep going back again and again! I recently visited the Käthe Kollwitz Museum at Neumarkt, which was also very inspiring.

But I also love the city’s churches, not just Cologne Cathedral, the Kolumba, or the well-known Roman ones, but also more unknown ones – as long as I can go inside. I love the Rhine at any time of the year – including autumn and winter – and come up with plenty of musical ideas on my riverside walks! A place that has grown very close to my heart is the Skulpturenpark (Sculpture Park) in Stamm-heim, a wonderful location right by the water and a must-see for every visitor to Cologne.