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Women were granted a new voice and they took to the stage to flaunt it – think of the singer Lotte Lenya, rough-voiced and saucy.

But Lemper objects: “at the time,” she says, “nobody knew what was coming.These artists were working under the illusion that they were living in a new age.It is so tempting to imagine what might have happened had the period lasted.” The period didn’t last, of course: the rise of National Socialism drew a long curtain on Berlin’s revelry.In 1934 Weill was picked out as the Nazi’s foremost ‘degenerate artist’ and not long after he went into exile – first to Paris, then to the United States – along with Brecht, Eisler, Lenya and the vast majority of Germany’s Jewish artists. “They capture a fleeting window of freedom,” she says.Her stage presence, too, is something to behold: with her long, sharp limbs she can slink and she can jive, and she can grip any size of auditorium with her implacably icy gaze.

Vintage German music is by no means the only repertoire that Lemper sings.She grew up in the city of Münster in West Germany, daughter of a banker and an opera singer, and began singing jazz in piano bars around the age of 15.She remembers a “collective unwillingness” to confront the country’s past.In the years after the First World War, when Germany became a democracy for the first time, the country went through a rather spectacular kind of social catharsis.Berlin was the epicentre: the city revelled in a period of fabulous decadence, with fresh sexual freedoms and an outpouring of radical creativity that didn’t abide by the dictats of earlier generations.Now in her early 50s, she has more than 20 albums to her name, including brilliant renditions of French chanson – try her recordings of Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf or Boris Vian.