We travel to Western Germany to talk to house producer Ray Okpara. He talks about what to do in his city of Mannheim.
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Mannheim is found in the southwest of Germany, not too far from the French border. An interesting little fact about Mannheim is that it’s the only large town in Germany that has it’s streets and avenues set out in a grid pattern. Sort of what you would find in New York leading it to be known as “die Quadratestadt”, which basically translate to the “city of squares”.
Mannheim is also the home of International DJ and producer Ray Okpara. The half Nigerian, half German, house music producer has been at it for a while, with his deep and slightly funky type of house. Deep, certainly, but with a little additional percussion and a little bit of soul brings a little of the funky element.
It’s Okpara’s love for hip-hop, funk and soul that influences his music creativity. It's the roots of his name, which formed the name of his Mannheim record label Ama Recordings. Amaefule, Ray’s middle name in fact, literally means “your name will never get lost” and it symbolizes the strength of identity we create through music.
Where’s the best place for a first date?
If I kept it traditional, I would take her on a gondoletta ride in Mannheim’s most famous park. You have the fish in the water, the birds in the trees and some ducks, giving you the perfect romantic atmosphere sound of "quack quack" <3
Where’s your preferred place to chill and clear your head?
I´d take a walk by the River Neckar, which I actually do often with my family. Very chilled and calm and in the summer it’s also a great place to play my guitar and lay in the sun.
Where serves the best breakfast?
The best place that sells breakfast is here in my hood, Neckar-Stadt. Kleines café isn’t the biggest place, but it’s great for a good breakfast with good coffee – I go there all the time.
Where’s your favourite place to have a quiet drink?
Speicher 7 is a great place to have a drink. It’s located directly on the bank of the River Rhein.
What would you wear for that quiet drink in Mannheim?
Where’s your favourite place to have a messier night?
Kurzbar in the area called Jungbusch is the place. I go there for some late night drinks. Great people, great place and most importantly it’s so much fun. If you are still in the mood to rock ‘n’ roll after, on Fridays you can go to Zimmer club where they play some good house and techno.
How would you describe your city’s style?
More industrial, rough and honest – a real working mans town. It has also got a very big university in the city and that adds to the culture. If you like Mannheim you will never forget it in your life. During the week there is not so much to do because most people work nine to five, but on weekends you can definitely find something going on.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
I don’t really shop that in much in Mannheim. I’m not really the best shopper, but when I do, I go the Torso Shop, they have the best shirts in town in my opinion.
What song sums up your city?
"Meine Stadt"(eng.: "My City") from Xavier Neidoo. He is the most famous new age musician “Straight Outta Mannheim”