Musical Bio Karen

At the tender age of 3 I demanded loudly and persistently to have recorder lessons with the teacher next door – and when my fingers were long enough at the age of 3¾ I succeeded – at least in receiving the lessons. I changed from descant to treble at 9 years old and decided at 13 that playing the guitar would be much more enjoyable to accompany my singing which I got very fond of in a children’s choir I attended from the age of 6 (and also I had a crush on the scout leader who gave the guitar lessons). School choirs throughout and a year of (due to my inner resistance rather unenjoyable) flute lessons led to a few singing lessons at school (of the same kind).

During my multiple studies (Business Administration in culture and leisure management (Bachelor), later Outdoor Education/Experimental Learning (all in Germany of course) and finally a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages in the UK) and at work (oh, lots of it, look at LinkedIn if you are interested), music always played a major part and I always tried to integrate it into my work with adults and children.

Whatever I did and wherever I went I earned myself a few Euros with busking in Germany and even France and had the most extraordinary encounters there, e.g. in Saarbrücken where I was picked up by a local rock band whose female lead singer I became for a while, discovering the beauties of a microphone and a stage for the first time.

After moving to the UK, new musician friends like Paul subtly suggested to let other people play the guitar for me – a rather splendid idea which relieved the world from my mediocre guitar playing. This led to the foundation of us as the Anglo-German duo of ‘Paul Walker & Karen Pfeiffer’, whose bio is above.

In 2017 I decided to give up my then job, teaching in secondary schools, and to concentrate entirely on the music, meaning managing and developing the duo and I also set up my own business as a singer in care homes. With over 200 bookings there and just under 100 with the duo in a ‘normal’ year, it proved to be a successful, very enjoyable and fulfilling venture.

In 2021 new excitement occurred when the acclaimed Russian folk singer Daria Kulesh, the award-winning British folk singer Odette Michell and the German I started collaborating as the trilingual, all-female, close-harmony trio ‘Michell, Pfeiffer & Kulesh’ and released our debut single ‘The Cossack’s Bride’ with glowing reviews. The single was further enhanced by the marvellos fiddle playing of Phil Beer who also recorded the track with us.

“Karen has a seriously impressive, mezzo-soprano voice: one that would not be out of place on the opera stage.” (The Living Tradition).

Karen’s musical influences:
Earlier: Hannes Wader, Luka Bloom, Christy Moore, Hans Söllner, Ton, Steine, Scherben, Bettina Wegener, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac

Later: Still Luka Bloom, John Spillane, Dougie McLean, Joan Baez, Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland, Thea Gilmore