Hubert von Goisern
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Hubert von Goisern and Africa

HvGIn 1996 Hubert von Goisern's friendship with the world-famous primatologist Jane Goodall led him to Gombe in Tanzania. Two further journeys followed. The stays in Africa also resulted in a television documentary and a new album. Director Hans Peter Stauber filmed a documentary about the journey to the mountains of Gombe, where Jane Goodall's work had begun in 1960. The film's soundtrack, Hubert's Africa-inspired album "Gombe", was released in 1998.

Talk Spezial with Jane Goodall and Hubert von Goisern

Servus TV 6th October 2014 | Photos: © Servus TV

Her engagement knows no bounds. Even at the age of 80 Jane Goodall feels and obligation both to nature conservation and future generations: "I feel a responsibility to fight for the survival of the forests, nature and the animals. We owe it to our children and our children's children, not to leave behind a destroyed world." Courage, motivation and drive prove: a better world is possible. Together with her friend Hubert von Goisern, she spoke in detail on Talk Spezial about her visions for the future, new projects and her uniquely optimistic approach to life.

Hubert von Goisern und Jane Goodall

Follow your heart

Tirolerin 2/97 | Text: Thomas Weninger

The affinity between Hubert von Goisern and the famous British chimpanzee mother Jane Goodall

It is a kind of affinity that led the folk music anarchist Hubert von Goisern and the famous English primatologist Jane Goodall to one another. "Reverence for creation unites me and Jane," the singer worked on a definition of this fruitful relationship while visiting Tirolerin, "we share faith in the wonderful in life and the knowledge that we have inexhaustible spiritual and human resources, which we should use creatively and cautiously."

Two and a half years have passed since the day when Hubert von Goisern officially went on leave from his job as yodelling and squeezebox-playing alpine poet and looked for new challenges. He found them in numerous journeys, the composing of film music (Schlafes Bruder) and his engagement for occupied Tibet. The inner self-discovery of Hubert von Goisern was considerably influenced by one person, an inconspicuous person around 60 - Jane Goodall.

For more than 35 years Jane Goodall has championed the threatened species of chimpanzee with every fibre of her delicate body For the species of creature that is most genetically similar to us people. Her book, The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Pattern of Behaviour, rose to a world-heeded final report of her 26 year study in the wilderness of Tanzania. She raises money, gives interviews and undertakes almost everything else that can secure her fosterlings a survival. To the question of where she lives, Jane Goodall has long answered pragmatically: "I come from England, work in Tanzania and live in aeroplanes!"

Ever since Jane Goodall saw numbers at a symposium in Chicago, that made it questionable whether there would still be chimpanzees in the wild in the future, she has travelled untiringly around the world in parallel to her fieldwork, in order to enlighten people. Nowadays, the famous primatologist holds lectures almost daily in halls always filled to capacity.

As the renowned report magazine GEO correctly remarked in their latest story about Jane, a real cult has built around the woman from the Tanzanian forest. "Jane Goodall has become a passenger in her own life," writes Dirk Lehmann in his report. Constantly accompanied by a now rather worn stuffed ape, in which the visitors to her lectures stuff sometimes stately quantities of cash, Jane Goodall travels the global village like a missionary. In the course of a flying visit to one of her longtime companions two and a half years ago, the children's book publisher Michael Neugebauer, Jane Goodall met the "tired of the scene" Hubert von Goisern. The two confessed eccentrics quickly recognised that more united them than the almost banal fact that both were in the public limelight. Inspired by Goodall's work with chimpanzees living the in the wild and fascinated by her non-acrimonious fight for a respectful and holistic treatment of life, Hubert von Goisern breathed in deep lungfuls of the aura around this remarkable lady. A deep friendship quickly came from the fleeting acquaintance.

The man from Goisern travelled with Jane Goodall on several occasions into the paradisiacal solitude of the Tanzanian jungle, observed his "sister" in her affectionate dealing with the primates and learned what this women meant with her motivational phrase "follow your heart!". "Follow your heart!" is effectively the quintessence of Jane Goodall's work and experience-rich life. "Follow your heart!" would have to have been the title of the film with which Jane Goodall and Hubert von Goisern recently documented their affinity. The figurehead of the red-white-red music scene spent three weeks with an ORF camera team at the Tanganyika lake and in the mountains of the Gombe National Park, Jane Goodall's place of activity. The film material shot there with the provisional working title of The African Queen should show the world of Jane Goodall, her life philosophy - seen through the eyes of Hubert von Goisern, who will also compose the music to this film. Hubert von Goisern expresses the whole volume of his admiration for Jane Goodall with few words: "Jane's philosophy is simple, but honest. Our world needs more people with her impact!"

The documentary in the series Land der Berge, a coproduction of the ORF and Bayerischer Rundfunk will probably flicker across domestic screens in October this year. Despite his fundamental joy at this film work, Hubert von Goisern didn't spare criticism of the ORF in conversation in Salzburg: "Just because the ORF centre in Vienna is appallingly inflexible, the documentary had to be forcefully pressed into a 45 minute template. But when there's some moronic sport competition on the programme, the same guys still discard any good kids' programme first of all in a twinkling of an eye!"

Excerpt from Jane Goodall's work and life philosophy:

Every individual matters and has a role to play in this life on earth. The chimpanzees teach us that it is not only human but also nonhuman beings who matter in the scheme of things.
Above all we must realize that each of us makes a difference with our life. Each of us impacts the world around us every single day. We have a choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place - or not to bother.
And to all young people, in mother's words, "If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way.
Follow your dreams."
Jane Goodall

Hubert von Goisern's fateful safari

1998

Hubert von Goisern is infected with malaria in Africa

Jane Goodall and Hubert von GoisernIn German newspapers, he is almost operating as a dead body: appropriately concerned friends of tradition read that Hubert von Goisern, 45, is anticipating his last yodel in a Munich medical centre. Now he is slapping his thighs again. The musician: "It's almost all lies. I was in the hospital in Ischl and I have to go there again this week too, because the malaria tropica I picked up in Africa must be treated. But I have survived it without chemistry."

He was troubled by the fly during a three week stay in Tanzania. For 16 filming days, Goisern worked with an ORF team on a documentary about the renowned ape research scientist Jane Goodall, 62: "An impressive woman, who is very much a kindred spirit. An engaging fighter for a respectful and holistic handling of life." Two and a half years ago, Goisern became acquainted with the British Mother Teresa of primates on holiday and has since then maintained friendly contact with the scientist, who became world famous with her papers about wild chimpanzees.

African Queen is to document Goodall's life and work from Goisern's view, underscored with new, this time African-inspired sounds. After all, there are shepherdesses with the pastureland people of the Savannah too.

Hubert von Goisern's blind adoration

TZ 4th December 1997
Jane Goodall and Hubert von Goisern

From Goisern to Gombe, from Gombe to Munich: In the spring, Hubert von Goisern visited the chimpanzee research scientist Jane Goodall in Gombe (Tanzania). With this meeting arose a film which documents the affinity between the musician and the research scientist. Jane Goodall came to Munich for the presentation of the 70 minute film Von Goisern nach Gombe. Right on time for the first snow and with no luggage. The airline lost that. With only moccasins on her feet, Jane trudged through the snowy splendour and built little snow-apes together with Hubert, before she accepted a 10,000 DM donation in the Munich Tierpark Hellbrunn for her chimpanzee project "Island Two".

The Kiahsuacher in Mwangongo

BISZ 7th March 1996 - Part 1 | Text: Hannes Heide

Street children in Dar es Salaam, wild chimpanzees at Lake Tanganyika and the Kiahsuacher.
Hubert von Goisern in Africa - an observation

Africa: The Alpinkatzen are not "far away" - even seen in 3D - but "past". Hubert von Goisern attaches great importance to that. "Far away would mean that it returns. But that is my past."

The present? That is - now at least - Africa. There were no plans and intentions behind the purpose of this journey to Tanzania and into the neighbouring Kenya (even if in the course of the stay, projects take shape and ideas arise). At Lake Tanganyika, the real destination, the English behavioural research scientist, Dr Jane Goodall, began to observes chimpanzees 36 years ago.

The results of her work messed up all theories of the differences between people and animals. Chimpanzees - nearly 99% of their genetic make-up is identical to humans' - are adaptive, make and use tools, can exchange information in their simple language. Over and above that, there is a social nature which was not believed to be possible in the animal world. But chimpanzees are peace-loving as little as people are: they lead wars against one another, Jane Goodall could even observe cannibalism in the chimpanzees in the Gombe National Park. At present, scientists are on the trail of the chimpanzees' use of herbs, expecting conclusions on humans and their usefulness for medicines.

Jane Goodall also had contact with Konrad Lorenz. She also got to know the book publisher Michael Neugebauer from Bad Goisern there, who was able to visit her a few times in Tanzania and published a few books for children with her. In the meantime, Dr Goodall also visited Bad Goisern.

She became acquainted with Hubert von Goisern there - and wakened interest in her work. Then at the beginning of February, the time had come: nothing more stood in the way of a meeting in Africa. First of all, in Dar es Salaam, the biggest city in Tanzania with 1.7 million inhabitants, a meeting in the Dogodogo centre was planned.

Children who would otherwise have landed on the street are looked after in a house. The "Green Band" arose from this organisation. Hubert and his sound engineer had brought along a keyboard and amplifier for them. The gift was gratefully received, the Austrian guests also sang (Hubert) and played (Spani on bass) with the children.

The aim of the band is to make Tanzanian music. The music which is mainly played in their country actually comes from Zaire, report the band members. Michael Jackson is also popular in East Africa. He was once in Dar es Salaam and should have played a concert. Mind you, he left after two hours. "It stinks!" he said.

When Hubert landed in Lake Tanganyika with a seaplane, the whole village was in turmoil. The residents believed that Michael Jackson was visiting. The rumour arose through a misunderstanding. Jane Goodall had announced that "Michael" (Neugebauer) was coming to visit with a singer. The disappointment was limited though as in place of the American popstar, Hubert von Goisern, less well-known in Africa, landed.

He was still given his chance for a big appearance. Jane Goodall did promotion for her project "Roots & Shoots" in the primary school in the village of Mwangongo and began with the youngest, just the pupils. So the young children plant trees by the river. But the awareness that the environment must be preserved is also strengthened with songs and short pieces. The search for firewood has in the meantime become a threat to the National Park.

So many trees are felled up to its boundary, that the natives collecting firewood have to accept a day's march. Furthermore, negative consequences are the heavy erosion of the fields because the fertile soil can no longer find support. The exploitation of the natural landscape is not least a consequence of the over-population. The annual population growth in Tanzania is more than 3%. In the region around the National Park, where the people are largely Muslims, on average a man has four wives. And on average has seven children with each wife!

Around 700 children, their teachers (incidentally, they still use the cane - and heavily, as the frayed end shows) and the village elders had come together to sing, act a sketch and dance for Dr Jane Goodall - "Mama Jenny".

Hubert von Goisern was also asked to sing something. He chose the "Kiahsuacher" from the Pongau. And the background of the yodel, with which the cows are called back from the meadow, was explained to the children in their mother tongue of Swahili. After the first syllables, the children began to laugh and were amused by the exotic singing from the Alps. At the end, there was a "Heeejh" from the throat. "I've never been so nervous," said Hubert after this unusual premiere in Mwangongo.