Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” Performed by German 1st Graders in Cute Cardboard Robot Costumes

“Teach your chil­dren well” sang Cros­by, Stills and Nash once upon a long ago, and that adage could be para­phrased as “make sure your stu­dents don’t grow up learn­ing sub­stan­dard pop songs. Give them a real edu­ca­tion.” An enter­pris­ing ele­men­tary school teacher in Mom­bach, a dis­trict of the Rhineland city of Mainz, did so in 2015, dress­ing up his stu­dents from Lemm­chen Ele­men­tary in their own hand­made robot out­fits and teach­ing them to sing the clas­sic 1978 Kraftwerk hit “The Robots” (or “Robot­er” if you own the Ger­man ver­sion, which you can hear below).

While the orig­i­nal prog-rock­ers turned elec­tron­ic demigods tried to strip away as much of their human­i­ty when play­ing live, you just can’t do it with kids. They’re just too cute, and their wob­bly, shuf­fling attempts to be machines only warms the heart more. (Could their par­ents tell who was who, I won­der?) Their ver­sion of the music is sim­i­lar­ly charm­ing and pret­ty faith­ful, though it’s pos­si­bly played by instruc­tor Lars Reimer. (An old­er class shows their faces and plays instru­ments in a more recent video, a cov­er of “Tanz” by Stop­pok.) So yes, Mr. Reimer, you’re pass­ing on some good musi­cal taste.

Though Kraftwerk was often thought of as cold and arti­fi­cial when they first arrived on the inter­na­tion­al music scene, the inter­ven­ing years have only empha­sized the roman­tic beau­ty of their (most­ly major key) melodies. (See for exam­ple the Bal­anes­cu Quartet’s ren­di­tion of the same song below.)

Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post appeared on our site in 2016.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ele­men­tary School Kids Sing David Bowie’s “Space Odd­i­ty” & Oth­er Rock Hits: A Cult Clas­sic Record­ed in 1976

Kraftwerk’s First Con­cert: The Begin­ning of the End­less­ly Influ­en­tial Band (1970)

One Man Shows You How to Play Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” with Just One Syn­the­siz­er

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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