Berlin Portrait: OY

by James Glazebrook

We think that the best way to discover Berlin is through the eyes of the people who live here. For our Berlin Portrait series, we’re asking artists, musicians and other creative types to introduce us their corner of the city. Here the Swiss musicians behind the project OY take us around Prenzlauer Berg.


Introduce yourself!

Joy: I’m Joy Frempong, a singer and musician. As well as OY, I’m part of several bands and musical collaborations from electronic to improvised music, leaning towards pop – I’m always on the search for a little twist and surprise within music.

Lleluja-Ha: I’m a musician, songwriter and producer. Over the years I worked as a composer for theatre and cinema and played electronic based dance music as well as pop and folk. Apart from OY, I’ve been releasing music under the name Sun Of Moon through the label Motor Music here in Berlin. Joy is part of it as well.


How long have you been in Berlin?

We moved here five years ago.

What brought you here?

J: Escaping from the neatness of Switzerland? – a country I still love – it might be the same love-and-hate relationship I have with my hair…  or the opposite rather. In Switzerland on first sight everything seems to be quiet, neat, well organised and under control, but if you dig into scenes you’ll find many wild, lovely and very creative people – Berlin of course offers a huge density of creative in- and output, and loads of space for body and mind.

L: I worked a lot in various European cities and at the end of the day Berlin just felt the best. Indeed it’s first of all that space around and inside me that strikes me whenever I enter my new home town.


What are your five favourite things in your neighbourhood, and what is so special about them?

Les Valseuses, a great French restaurant on Eberswalder Strasse with a very nice crew and a relaxed atmosphere.

Mauerpark! It’s where Woodstock seems to have left its illegitimate child.

Kücük Kanarya, a beautiful little café at Rhinower Strasse where I discovered the puppets that I use on stage as trigger objects. They were exhibited there. Coffee and small bites are great, as well the owner’s taste in music.

Shoemaker, Pappelallee. If you want to get high on a sniff of glue, bring a pair of your worn-out shoes to this shoemaker. Run by young people with a very old-school attitude.

El Rief for great falafel, quick and yummy –  it keeps us alive during too-busy days, when we have no time to cook!


For OY music, videos, updates and tour dates stay tuned to