Hubert von Goisern
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GRENZENLOS TOUR 2002

GRENZENLOS >> Interviews: 1 2 3

Hubert von Goisern is on tour again

Jet2Web 10th June 2002

Hubert von Goisern is known for his independence of mind. With the work on his new - still nameless - album, this reputation has proved true once more: instead of going on tour with the new material after the release of the CD, he chose the opposite way.

We will see whether it was the clever way, said the singer in the interview. The new songs are very shaped by the many appearances the musician made in past years. In contrast to Fön, which was very introverted and composed out of quietness, the new CD is fundamentally louder and faster, says the artist. The concerts on the tour were also correspondingly planned: only at the gig in the Vienna Konzerthaus on 24th June will the audience be sitting. Otherwise we are mainly playing open airs or festivals says Hubert von Goisern.

According to Hubert von Goisern, 80% of the album is recorded. The beginning of the tour in the summer is bringing the musician under a little pressure of time. I have no idea when I should record the last 20%, the singer says. Nonetheless, the album will probably be released in the autumn. I would rather it could be ready earlier. The single Poika (Virgin) gives the first impression.

Von Goisern was once again honoured with an Amadeus Award for the CD Trad. Although he was naturally pleased with the acclaim for his work, once again the musician did not spare his criticism for the Austrian media for their new dealings with native musicians.

No new album, but new songs

Stuttgarter Nachrichten 27th June 2002 | Text: Alex Schütz

Hubert von GoisernNormally there is a new album. And then a tour. You expect that from an artist. A lot has already been expected from Hubert von Goisern and again and again the Austrian has not met expectations.

At the beginning of the 90s, at the high point of his Alpinkatzen project, he said goodbye to the stage. Many of his fans have not coped with this until today. For more than a year now, Hubert von Goisern has been working on his new album. Time probably escaped him for recording in the studio, but the songs were tried and tested in Senegal and Egypt.

All the same, after eight years he has let himself be persuaded to release a new single: Poika, a wonderful foretaste of the new songs, which are orientated towards alpine rock again and in the case of Poika, completed with ska elements. There will also be a tour for the first time without a new album, but with new songs.

When someone from Berlin puts on lederhosen

Source unknown 24th June 2002

The Austrian alpine rocker Hubert von Goisern was on tour in Africa - an interview about traditions, forms of performance and the future

Pyramids, hollreduliöh in the slums of Dakar, Cape Verde - Hubert von Goisern is a world musician. After he retired from the stage in 1994 despite great success with his alpine folk music, occupied himself with the cultures if Tibet and East Africa, this year - organised by the Goethe Institute - he newly sought the musical meeting with Africa. He spoke about it with Christian Hanelt.

Did your Africa tour go smoothly, or did you have to overcome inhibitions?

In Egypt we were told again and again that our intention to lead the dialogue between the cultures, to create understanding and interest on both sides would fail. But then in the end everything worked wonderfully and it still continues to have an effect on me.

What impressions did you gather in Africa?

It became clear to me that Africa is not just Africa, that each country has its own identity. You also do not go to Ireland, listen to the Chieftains and infer this music from the music of Italy or Austria. Viennese music is quite different from Tyrolean music. Viewed from outside and the further away you are, the more the things move closer together: if you are in America or Japan, the difference between Austrian and Germany also vanishes.

How did you experience the culture industry in Africa?

What there is there in art and culture is integrated into daily life. So music is indeed omnipresent, but is played exclusively for special occasions. The concert form is foreign to most people, only those people who have contact with the Western world know it. So in each country we visited, there were two concerts, one as a concert form experience and one as an open air.

How did the music playing go with the native musicians?

At the concert with the Egyptian Mohamed Mounir, I played the accordion for one of his songs and sang with another one. On Cape Verde, native musicians sang our songs with us and in Dakar there was a session where singers came to us on the stage. That was in the poor district and beforehand everyone warned us that robbery and murder was the order of the day there. We did it nevertheless and in the end it was the only time in Dakar I was not begged from or unpleasantly harassed. I was very impressed by the pride of the people and their joy that we were playing to them. A man on crutches hauled himself up onto the stage, like in the Bible - threw away the crutches and sang. That went on for an hour since there was a continual coming and going.

What did you play?

When we went to a village, unpacked the accordion and played, it was very clear that I only play folk songs. I never had the wish to play my own compositions, in this framework which is so shaped by tradition in which the individuality of the people completely recedes into the background, I only trust my own tradition. It was completely amazing for me because I noticed the confidence which my tradition gives me - even if I play these old songs somewhat differently from my forefathers. With one of my own compositions, I would have taken it badly if it had not gone down well. Over the respect for other cultures, I now have a completely new respect for our cultural achievements. On the other hand the holding on to traditions hinders it, but also communication since these only work over the individuality. Tradition is also a power on which you can fall back, but it is also a heavy rucksack with which you drag yourself around.

Here, the term "tradition" often has a dull aftertaste.

In Africa the people stand by their tradition, are very proud of it, which sometimes even degenerates into chauvinism. With us, the term "tradition" is already something embarrassing. With what the so-called intellectuals write about our tradition, you get the impression that you should be ashamed of the past. On the other hand there are also people who would unbelievably regret it if there was no tradition elsewhere. The real problem lies in the association of tradition and national pride. Nevertheless many people can only win something from tradition if it is so far back like Mozart - but even Wagner is a problem for many people.

What influences do all these experiences have on your work?

I now have a completely different feeling towards my music and the influences of other cultures. Certainly in the future the combining of elements from different cultures will become more difficult for me. I have become more diffident after these experiences. It seems rather funny to me now, like when someone from Berlin puts on lederhosen.

"There is only music live"

Kurier 22nd June 2002

The event: Jazz Fest Wien. The motto: World music Africa. The music: Perhaps rich in African influences, but superficially unambiguously alpine. The great variety of the concept may astonish - the artists however, guarantee quality: On Monday in the Vienna Konzerthaus at 9pm, Hubert von Goisern and band open the Jazz Fest 2002

How do you like having the task of opening a jazz festival?

I feel it is a great honour and hope that my music fits in this context. For even if I have a great affinity with jazz, I don't really do jazz. The term "world music" is the staple as regards content.

What is world music?

First of all: under no circumstances is it ordinary music. By world music I understand sounds from which one can hear the regional identity. Even if perhaps one does not know from where these sounds come from. The great thing is that one does not have to learn music like a language in order to understand it.

With what argument would you recommend a music lover to come to your concert?

Really there is only music live. What is on a silver disc is not music. It is data. For me a CD has similarities with an illustrated book: for example, someone who has never been in a desert will never be conveyed the desert by an illustrated book. The music which comes out of the loudspeakers is missing an important dimension: the life. The magic of music is that a tone, no matter how brilliant or how messed up, is away again in the next moment. That only happens on stage.

When you began to mix Austrian folk music with sounds from other areas, was it a risk, or were you certain that it would go together?

I have never consciously combined styles. Composing comes from the unconscious. It comes from here alone - and not because I would say that I like a certain drum groove or a style of phrasing that I also want to do it now.

Now on your new single there is a polka called Poika, on which there is a piano solo with African-Caribbean influences.

That comes from the musicians. I look for musicians who embody the elements I like to have in my band.

Despite your reservations about recorded sounds, you are working on a new CD. What will be heard?

The CD comes out in September; it still does not have a title. There is more folk music, combined with other elements. The sound will be faster and louder than my last works, but that does not mean that there are many rock elements. For you can also play fast and loud without rock.

"Flying away in the ecstasy of making music"

Abendzeitung 21st June 2001 | Text: Julia Bähr

Hubert von Goisern about Poika - and his new multicultural album

Until he was 35, Hubert Achleitner alias Hubert von Goisern had never had an accordion in his hand or a yodel in his throat. The man born in Salzkammergut rejected too much of his own musical tradition. But one day in the Vienna Jazz and Blues Club, he unpacked a Styrian accordion. The response among the fellow musicians was rather horrified than delighted, but that did not deter the experimentally willing von Goisern.

"I had the resistance mind to show that you can make groovy music with it," he said today. "It is just as wrong to reject tradition, as it is to make it a sacred cow." The plan worked out. Hubert von Goisern became famous in 1992 with the beer tent hit Koa Hiatamadl. But he was not contented with this success. Two years later he disbanded his group the Alpinkatzen in order to newly orientate himself musically.

For years he travelled through the world, visited Africa and Tibet and got himself involved with the music there. He played CDs with native musicians, in 1998 he released Gombe and Inexil almost at the same time. He met Jane Goodall, visited the Philippines, and dipped into the rhythms of foreign lands.

Every sound has its place

With his own compositions on Fön and the album Trad in 2001 he created his own version of alpine music which is otherwise not found on the music market. The Musikantenstadl music is not his preference. He likes it quicker, more versatile. "I would never describe my music. There are specialists for that, who open any pigeonhole and push you in!" That cannot be successful with him anyway. Because his music is too complex, too often one hears how many different influences Hubert von Goisern uses. Nevertheless he is the most important musical experience of his homeland. "I like the feeling of flying away with making music, the intoxication. That you can only get a feeling of ecstasy via music. You are not aware of anything except the music and are in harmony with everything. In this situation there are also no wrong sounds, because every sound has its place and can be out in a relationship, he enthused.

His relations with Austria were not always perfect. FPÖ populist Jörg Haider, who likewise grew up in Bad Goisern, is his favourite political target. In the song Kålt, he gets grumping, in the booklet there are coded quotations from him. Von Goisern calls him the "ex-Goiserer". It is certainly nothing unusual to criticise Haider, but von Goisern does it without the pathos that is typical of many of his fellow musicians.

One different track is also the first release from his new album: the maxi-single is called Poika and is released on 1st July. The style plays between alpine music and a restrained but exciting cocktail from the music of other continents. The album should be released in late autumn, but is still nameless. After many experiments a part return to tradition again? "I know myself best in music. I grew up in it and cannot now say: I would like to be African and black, then I would have more rhythm in my blood and would be able to rap," said von Goisern.

But although he feels good at home, his curiosity about different music is not decreased. "I would like to hear the Eskimos sing live one time. I have a CD at home and it is so funny and original. I think the people are in a really good mood. That would appeal to me."

Into the wide world with alpine rock music: Hubert von Goisern

Aachener Zeitung 19th June 2002 | Text: Ulrike Rechel

Würselen. Hubert Achleitner would have often been able to have it quite easy - and then he took the step way. As the star of a lively as much as weird alpine rock scene in the middle of the 90s, the man from Austrian Bad Goisern could have made himself quite comfortable in the charts.

But Hubert von Goisern, who makes a guest appearance with his band on the stage at Burg Wilhelmstein in Würselen-Bardenberg on Friday 21st June at 8pm preferred to bid farewell to his Alpinkatzen.

For seven years, the hobby-carpenter looked after house and family, wrote film music and went on journeys. First last year, he returned to the stage with two new records and intensive travel experiences from Africa and Tibet.

Goisern's next step led him into the distance once more. He recently presented his youngest songs where yodelling and Styrian dialect rap had probably never been heard before: in Egypt, Cape Verde, Senegal and Burkina Faso.

... He appeared in poor districts and state theatres, in front of audiences from 200 to thousands, in front of street children and ministers. "I cannot say that everything I experienced in Africa was super," the singer said in hindsight.

Ramshackle fly towers and missing technicals were amongst the smallest evils. He was "incredibly annoyed" when he played in the venerable state theatre in Dakar in front of almost only ambassadors and ministers, while the population stayed outside in the face of the high entrance price.

More than once the European visitor was "uncomfortable" in view of the troubling tension in military controlled areas, like the Egyptian university city of Assiut, where he and Mohamed Mounir played in front of 15,000 people.

But Hubert von Goisern, who himself once lived in South Africa for a long time, does not shy away from difficulties. For him music is uniquely capable of boosting the cultural meeting between the nations. "Music does not lie," he says and therefore his attempts to carry the traditional music from his homeland into the world work, no doubt again and again - whether in Texas or Tibet.

He has shaken off the worry of failure: "Failure is always possible, even then if you are sure that you have everything under control. The greater your aim is, the greater your courage must also be." He rather sees "victorious failing", than giving up his idea of frontier-crossing music. Because the current tour is also called Grenzenlos (Boundless / Without Frontiers).

That suits someone who has found his musical alphabet in folk music of all things, which many people still equate with the Musikantenstadl on TV. In order to free the traditional music from the musty corner, Goisern has made them familiar with the blues, with reggae, with jazz.

Will the next album be a collaboration with the Egyptian Mohamed Mounir? The next but one maybe. Now it first returns home because those who are widely travelled learn to love their homeland. The new work is called Poika, which will be released soon.

Boundless at top speed

Mainz Online 12th June 2002 | Text: Uwe Käding, AP

Cosmopolitan? Regionalist? Hubert von Goisern with a new project

Hubert von GoisernHubert von Goisern loves to be a musical globetrotter. Years before, he travelled in Tibet and in 1998 then released the album Inexil, in the same year, with Gombe, appeared a musical report about an African journey.

This year he was travelling in West Africa again. From the coming week (20th June) onwards, he is on his summer tour in the German-speaking area, in the autumn his new album Grenzenlos should be released.

"I stand by regionalism if it is not excluding. I would like to set an example that there are no boundaries for me," says von Goisern in the interview. Mind you, this condition can only be reached if you dare to cross boundaries. That is also always connected with much uncertainty for him.

"Uncertainty sharpens the senses and is a little humbling"

"Like when because you have never been there, you simply do not know what is to be expected there. But it sharpens the senses and is also a little humbling if you put yourself in a situation which is unassimilated. That is a quality I like."

And so in the first half of the year, von Goisern appeared - incidentally in cooperation with the Goethe Institute - at a festival in Egypt, travelled on to Senegal, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso. He mainly financed the journey himself: "I could only do that simply because in the last year I have earned a lot of money by playing concerts in German-speaking countries and selling records."

"Now the music editors are getting a single!"

At the beginning of July he is releasing a single again after 8 years: the rousing piece is called Poika. That is quite an act of defiance, he explains: Until now he has had the view that radio editors can find a piece on an LP "that fits their format". But: "they are simply too lazy or too stupid to choose anything themselves. Only singles are played. So if you come along with an LP there is only one refusal position. He wants to take from the music editors the excuse that one has no time to listen to a whole album: "Now they are getting a single, and now they must think of a different excuse. I am certain that they will nevertheless not play it." At least in Austria there is "an unbelievable ignorance against regional musicians" in the radio media.

"My creativity is fed by many traditions"

Von Goisern likes to go against the flow. His creativity, he says, is fed by many traditions: "Not just the folk music tradition, but also the tradition of the Classics, the Romantics which have certainly shaped me too, and also Modern, Avant Garde. And a critical examination of these traditions characterises my artistic output. On the one hand are the sources I draw from. On the other hand I can accept nothing unchallenged." Tradition has always been something which has been kept in the past. "But that does not mean that it still has its place today as it is. With me there is always a search for the breaks, the corners, the weak points. And to lay them open is also fun."

Current tour programme - a mixture of three albums

Soon von Goisern also wants to report on his West Africa trip in a documentary on DVD. His tour programme will be a mixture of the last two albums Fön, Trad and the new Grenzenlos material.

"Punk is certainly not an insult"

OÖN 13th May 2002 | Text: Bernhard Lichtenberger

Hubert von Goisern's Grenzenlos tour

He looks tired and exhausted, Hubert von Goisern. The world folk musician has really swung round recently: the intensive personal-musical meetings in Egypt, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and Senegal, the first studio sessions for the new album which is to be released in September and on Saturday in the Sternenzelt in Bad Reichenhall, the happy start of the Grenzenlos tour which the OÖN used for an interview with the 49 year old.

Africa "The communication over language and cultural barriers needs a lot of strength and will from both sides," Hubert balances. Sixty hours of material was filmed, "we ought to really have made three films from that." A one hour programme in the autumn on Bayerischer Fernsehen is fixed, possibly a DVD about the journey.

Headache The Goiserer extended the Fön lyrics "...und dann kriag i a Schädlweh" ("and then I get a headache") with "wia am Mittwoch" ("like on Wednesday"). There was not Föhn on that day, but the awarding of the Amadeus music prize in the ORF centre. He used the forum for the award for the Trad CD to criticise the ORF TV guys. "Don't you have anything new?" he complained about the ten year old pictures with which he was presented. He cannot understand Barbara Stöckl's later contribution ("Unfair! He picked the photo himself beforehand"): "That is a lie!"

Names In the USA he was categorised as the "yodelling punk from Austria". "That's ok," he takes it calmly. "Punk is certainly not an insult." Yodelling DJ would probably have hit him harder.

Katholisch (song title) "I left the church because the Catholic church supports and strengthens a patriarchal social system. I cannot pray the "Our Father" once more - not because I do not know the words, but simply because I do not want to pray to a male God. But that is my personal business. I am not one who says that you should leave. I know many people who find support and comfort in the Catholic church. That is fine, but just not for me."

Tour From 20 concerts he is playing just three in Austria, "because last year the organisation of most concerts was very sloppy and we were also taken to the cleaners. The dates: Jazzfest Wien (24th June), Burg Clam (21st July), Bad Ischl (28th July, Lehartheater).

Singers "The women all run away from me. It was often too loud for the first one, the second had stress with her boyfriend. But so far I have still found one who is good.

Grenzenlos

"No matter where I have been, I have always found something: different perspectives"

Hubert von Goisern goes out into the world in order to return with his own conception of dealings with the traditional - and it pulls him into the distance again and again: the new 2002 programme did not have its premiere in Europe, but in Egypt.

On 12th March Hubert von Goisern appeared in Assiut together with Mohamed Mounir, the most popular pop singer from Assuan. In their lyrics and music the two unite the cultural worth of homeland and origin, they sing about love and affection for people and nature. 15,000 people crowded around and the completely unknown Hubert von Goisern was cheered by a youthful audience, for whom a cultural meeting of artists in a city made unpopular through fundamentalist activities represented a rarity: "it clicked between both the audience and the artist as well as between the two artists, despite the immense contingent of soldiers and armed security forces there was no incident. That ought to encourage more mutual events of this kind!" (Stuttgarter Nachrichten about the show in Assiut 18.3.2002)

After some meetings with regional artists, the continuation of the journey led to West Africa where in Cape Verde, together with Simentera (who for several years have also travelled in the Austrian Salzkammergut) and Hohtraxlecker Sprungschanznmusi, Hubert played a concert in the framework of the African-Austrian cultural exchange. "It went on to midnight and all horizons were dissolved ... The warmth of the evening mixes with the musical closeness." (Salzburger Nachrichten about the Cape Verde concert 2.4.2002)

In Senegal, the centre of modern West African music, Hubert met with Youssou N'Dour and Baaba Mal, who are known on the world music scene outside the Africa borders; concerts took place in, among other places, the Sorano theatre together with further native musicians.

It went further to Burkina Faso, where a concert took place with local artists in Bobo Dioulasso and was arranged, recorded and broadcast by young radio workers from the capital Ouagadougou.

The music in the Africa countries is so varied like the ethnic groups who live there with their own musical traditions, also using their own instruments; the meetings with excellent representatives of traditional as well as modern music, the meeting of alpine and African culture brings new exciting influences to Hubert von Goisern's artistic work.

Even before the African trip, he worked feverishly in the studio on new songs, mostly with musicians from the last tour and completely reinvented his own style. Songs full of sun and hot rhythms, the chair is put away, the dance shoes unpacked, the alpine world music can finally celebrate a wild party again - once more now Hubert von Goisern has the opportunity to break down musical as well as human barriers!

That is also why the motto of the 2002 tour is Grenzenlos (Boundless) - with about 20 dates in and around Germany and Austria, the German-speaking public can also experience the "new" Hubert von Goisern after his return from Africa and feel the new influences which have meanwhile newly shaped him again and again on numerous journeys into foreign cultures.