“We want to develop a broad programme for the support of German folk music with the state music council and choir association,” Rüttgers, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats told daily Ruhr Nachrichten.
“We must protect our cultural treasures. Because those who don’t know where they come from don’t know where they’re going.”
North Rhine-Westphalia , Germany’s most populous state, already supports a school singing project called NRW singt to which Volksmusik, frequently derided as hokey and outdated, will be added as a focus.
The state will also encourage the targeted “dissemination of German song treasures” in the form of books, CDs and computer games. Meanwhile the state's education and family ministries will work to incorporate traditional German music into school the curriculum.
Rüttgers’ re-election campaign has been hurt by allegations his party was selling companies personal meetings with the premier. The former CDU general secretary in the state, Hendrik Wüst, resigned over the affair after it was revealed that he had charged €6,000 for appointments with Rüttgers.
A survey published in the Bild am Sonntag in February showed that only 11 percent of participants believed the premier had no knowledge of the questionable fund-raising tactic.
The May 9 state election is the only one this year, and could affect the balance of power in Germany's upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat. If the CDU loses North Rhine-Westphalia, Merkel’s centre-right coalition would no longer have a majority in the chamber representing the 16 federal states, and would find passing laws more difficult.