Hubert von Goisern
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LINZ EUROPE TOUR 2007 - 2009

LINZ EUROPE TOUR >> Press 2008-09: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | 2007: 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 | 2006: 16

How one sets sail with an aeroplane

Stuttgarter Zeitung 12th June 2007 | Text: Michael Werner

At the end of June the singer-songwriter Hubert von Goisern begins a Danube tour
through the countries of Eastern Europe

If there had been peace on the banks of the Congo, then none of this would have happened. Not here, not in Europe. But in this world thoughts travel quickly from there to here: a few years ago Hubert von Goisern discovered a potential paradise in Africa and imagined how it would be to travel the Congo, giving concerts from a ship. But it soon became clear that it could be a long time before peace came to the Congo. But the Danube is a river that unites too. And to make sure people listen to him on the river, the musician recently climbed aboard an aeroplane.

Globalisation manifests itself in the mahogany panelling and leather upholstery of the DC-6B, which leaves Salzburg at 7am and flies over the mountains in the direction of Kiev. Yugoslavia's head of state Marshall Tito bought the luxury aircraft at the end of the fifties, in the mid-seventies he then sold it to the Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda. The aeroplane sat around at Lusaka airport until an Austrian, who has an energy drink made to a Thai recipe to thank for his riches, acquired it a few years ago and had it restored. And now Dietrich Mateschitz has put the most beautiful aeroplane of his fleet at the musician's disposal for a week, the musician whose name and hat-wearing, unshaven likeness temporarily adorn the fuselage of the DC-6.

Hubert von Goisern looks exactly like this in the morning at company hangar 7 at Salzburger Flughafen, except that instead of a floppy hat he's wearing a leather cap that he will lose three and a half hours later when landing in Kiev, find again and then never take off again. Hubert von Goisern, who played music with Africans in Africa, who once collected Tibetan sounds and who most recently rediscovered the folk songs of the Salzkammergut, his homeland and put them back on the scene in fantastic fashion, has his own concept of globalisation. A river unites, he says. Countries, people and enemies too.

That is why from 22nd June he is sailing from Vienna down the Danube to the Black Sea on his Linz Europe Tour. He will be sleeping alongside his band on the barracks ship, he will sing his songs from the concert ship and play his accordion in Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine. The whole summer long. Sometimes he will be going against the current and right at the start he will play in Melk in Lower Austria, Regensburg and Passau. At the beginning of August Hubert von Goisern will be playing in Romania where the Danube flows into the sea. After that he will come back upstream to a concert in Budapest, in order to sail east again from there in the direction of Serbia. He will meet local artists everywhere, whom he will invited to play with him.

In order that enough people are standing on the banks of the Danube later, Hubert von Goisern is flying to the capitals of his tour countries in advance. In the VIP area at Kiev airport passport control is sluggish, but it's all relative. On his research trip recently, the musician says, he waited for two hours at the Bulgarian-Romanian border, because the customs officer did not believe that his car really belonged to him. When he was finally allowed to cross the border, the singer said thank you. The official replied: "No, not thank you - give me something that reminds me I was good to you." Hubert von Goisern gave him a CD.

In the conference room at Kiev airport Hubert von Goisern shows the Ukrainian journalists a film that shows him with a lot of Danube water - and a lot of goodwill. He will be appearing in the Ukraine in Ismajil and Vylkove at the end of July, with the Ukrainian band Haydamaky and Zdob Si Zdub from Moldova. "I don't need a partner who hides behind their traditions like a shield, but rather one who is fired up their traditions," says the Austrian. And that the European Union is worried about their neighbours in the east. Then he says: "I don't like borders, I don't like showing my passport and answering stupid questions." Martin Heller, manager of the Capital of Culture Linz 2009, adds: "Hubert is a kind of ambassador for the Capital of Culture Linz." Everything is translated from English into Ukrainian, not everything is understood.

Heller is putting a million of his 64 million Euro Capital of Culture budget into the world musician's European tour. In 2008 the tour leads up the Rhine to the North Sea and in 2009 it comes to an end with a festival in Linz lasting several days. This is why Heller has also flown to Kiev and from there to Belgrade, Sofia, Bucharest and Zagreb for a week. The sponsor is paying about twice as much as the Capital of Culture and also donates the drinks cans that are consumed in the conference room. The singer will put in about a million himself.

But first of all von Goisern invites the Ukrainian journalists on a round-trip over Kiev in the DC-6. "It's amazing - your face emblazoned on an aeroplane," the manager of the Ukrainian band Haydamaky says to the Austrian on the tarmac, "I wish my face was on an aeroplane." Meanwhile the Ukrainian photographers photograph Olexander Yarmola, the Haydamaky singer in front of the aeroplane. Because nobody knows Hubert von Goisern here. The journalists who aren't bad are thrilled by the short flight however and applaud when the aeroplane lands.

Afterwards Hubert von Goisern analyses his Cyrillic name card that has him as Gubert. "That's politics," he says, "they've made it Russian." He would rather have seen Chubert, as he did recently in Bulgaria. Hubert von Goisern, whose last studio album was a few years ago now, has occupied himself with the material. He has been working on his ship tour for eighteen months, knows what he's talking about with locks and harbours and has persuaded his manager. Somebody brings in cheese rolls and chocolate and then there is the flight to Belgrade and in the back of the aeroplane is a sofa on which you can stretch out.

"I'm interested in projects that involve people who can't get along," says the singer from Bad Goisern, who is still called Hubert Achleitner at passport control in Eastern Europe. When fear of Islam was breaking in the west after the 11th September 2001, he invited the Egyptian singer Mohamed Mounir to join him on tour. Now he is betaking himself on the river than unites Serbs and Croats, Hungary and Romania. To the people who think that a concert tour on ship is something like crossing the Sahara on your hands he says: "It's absurd to think that you're deliberately looking for obstacles simply because you're using a natural waterway." In contrast to surfing the internet, letting oneself float down a waterway is something very natural.

He will be playing a greatest hits programme, for the first time in his career. He will write songs on the ship and in the studio on board he will see what is possible in the "acoustic biotope" of which he dreams. After the eastern European leg of the tour, he might record an album with musicians who know each other, also because they will have spent months sleeping in swaying two-man cabins.

Everybody has their own room in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Belgrade during the promotional flight for the tour. The next day the press conference is at the airport in Belgrade, afterwards another round-trip. But now it is night time, the singer has been on his feet for twenty hours and it's not long until the tour starts. "The panic comes in waves," says Hubert von Goisern, its last visit was a few weeks ago though. Now it is the joy of what will finally be starting that predominating. "What I can't imagine at all at the moment, is my life afterwards."

The tour begins on 22nd June in Vienna, on 29th June Hubert von Goisern docks with his ship in Regensburg, on the 30th June in Passau.

Respect instead of mistrust

Rundschau Online 27th May 2007

Hubert von GoisernLiving on board a ship for half a year. The Upper Austrian musician Hubert von Goisern is looking forward to it. On his Linz Europe Tour 2007-2009 he will be publicising the capital of Upper Austria along the banks of the Danube, Main and Rhine. Ruth Stiebitzhofer spoke to him about his temporary homeland - the boat.

You are Botschafter (ambassador) for Linz 09 ...

... can you write "Bootschafter" ("am-boat-ador") please?

Fine - amboatador - for Linz 09 and are doing a boat tour with musicians along the Danube. Can you briefly explain what will be happening on this tour?

We are travelling with a converted convoy of ships to the Black Sea and back again, next year we'll go up the Rhine and Main and will be playing about 25 concerts each time. The concerts take place from the boat and the audience is on land. There are stopping points that we have searched out and found to be good for the project, where it will now be locally promoted, so that the people who live there know what's coming to them.

According to which criteria were the stops chosen?

Initially according to whether people lived there. We are playing many concerts in so-called structurally weak areas, where the people who live there don't necessarily have a great deal of money, or are not used to a cultural proposition, where it is rather more the exception that something of this magnitude is taking place. We are completely self-sufficient on board. We have generators, light and sound equipment, drinking water tanks, we have our own kitchen and cook on board and of cause nautical personnel. And musicians.

Who are the musicians?

My band is a group of eight - including me - and three of those are women. They're from Ladinia, a part of South Tyrol. The Ladin people have their own language, just like the Rhaeto-Romanic in Switzerland.

What is the message that you want to spread on the tour through the foreign countries?

Billy Wilder once said that if someone has a message, they should send a telegram. I think so too. For me it's about meeting people and getting to know them and, if it works out, forming friendships. That from these friendships something like a contribution will be made towards the communication with and understanding of one's counterpart. We are in a situation where Europe and the EU have extended to Bulgaria and Romania. But there is an unbelievable sense of mistrust on both sides. People here are mistrustful of those in southeast Europe, but the people in the new EU states are also mistrustful and fearful of the EU. I see the boat tour as my own personal contribution to changing this mistrust to respect.

How have you prepared for the sailor life on tour? It can't be so easy to live with so many people in such small confines.

The confine of life on the ship doesn't daunt me at all. I'm used to having been on tour in much smaller confines. On the normal tours we have a bus where everyone has their own bunk, where you can't even sit up straight, where someone as tall as me can't even sleep stretched out, when I turn over I bash my knees. So really the boat is a luxury. Apart from that, there are no traffic jams on the river, perhaps at most at the locks.

What does Linz have to offer as Capital of Culture?

I think that every large city in Europe is suited to being Capital of Culture. It is one's own aspiration that one puts on oneself that defines. It's no use when someone tells you that you are beautiful if you don't feel yourself that you are beautiful. Then you can't radiate that. It's the same with a Capital of Culture. You must simply try and do yourself justice. It's not something that falls into your lap. You have to work for it.

Are Linz doing it right?

I think so. The team that Linz 09 have, with manager Martin Heller, have so far set the course so that it's not the case that lots of fireworks will be set off in 2009 and people will marvel at them and when it's over, it's over. I think that the team are working on a cityscape and a city consciousness that is sustainable and that something is happening now that is the beginning and certainly reaches its high point in 2009, but has no end at the close of 2009. Something is being done that will shape Linz from now onwards. That will endure beyond 2009.

You have lived in Canada and Africa and have met the Dalai Lama. Where do you feel at home?

I will feel at home on the boat, where I'll be spending a total of six months. There will certainly be a wrench when I leave the boat again. Homeland and feeling at home - there are different approaches to that. One the one hand it's where family is. Where friends are. I now have friends on almost every continent. Where there are memories there will always be a sense of returning, for example Dharamsala in India, where the exiled Tibetans live. When I go there, it's like coming home too, I have many friends there, I know the area. But of course it is the Inner Salzkammergut where I feel most at home. I've been living in Salzburg for 16 years now, that is very much home to me too. But when I go to Bad Goisern, where the sound of the language, the dialect, the silhouette of the mountains, the acoustics are so familiar, that's my primal homeland.

"Freedom is not to everybody's taste "

Kurier 26th May 2007 | Text: Guido Tartarotti | Photo: Martin Gnedt

Goisern, ambassador for Capital of Culture Linz, wishes to make a contribution to the destruction of prejudices with the "Linz Europe 2009" ship expedition, which begins on 20th June.

Hubert von GoisernWhat can the journey achieve in concrete terms?

We want people to become acquainted and to be able to build a good feeling for my music. This process is very valuable for all who take part. None of us will be the same when we leave the ship. And Europe will be an importance experience richer too.

Why is this journey necessary at all?

There are great fears. And not from the west to the east, but rather in the opposite direction. If we are able to relieve these fears, which are being stoked by demagogues, then we will have a success on our hands.

Where do these fears come from? Isn't the Danube region both geographically and historically a cohesive region?

The people there were delivered Communist propaganda. And we had our propaganda about the Balkans, according to which everything there is run by the mob. The history of the Danube region has also been a violent one for centuries. People there have done a great deal together and anything new triggers resistance. Everybody wants their security - and that unites us all!

What do you think of the "idea of Europe"? On the one hand internal borders are coming down, but on the other, external borders have become tighter.

I don't think that - simply because there are unpleasant phenomena - that one should distance oneself from this large-scale European thinking. My dream would be a cooperation, but not such an exclusive one.

As an artist you have personally never accepted boundaries. Why do so many people like boundaries so much?

Because they mean security. The walls of this room here are boundaries, borders, too and they offer protection. Freedom is not to everybody's taste.

You have dealt with musical traditions, from Africa to Tibet. Why are you only now coming to what lies much closer - the music of our neighbours?

It perhaps comes down to the fact that every movement that comes from a youthful energy is so impetuous that you only come to a standstill when you are far away. There are still things that are closer than southeast Europe, like Switzerland for example. For years I've been dreaming of getting to know the music and yodelling of Switzerland better. That's still to come.

Is the music of the Balkans related to ours, or very different?

I think it's very different, very foreign. Unbelievably complex, the rhythm is very, very difficult. With our music the complex element is the harmony. I often feel that our music is a bit clumsy, for example compared to African, Caribbean things, Indian too, and the Balkans as well.

Are you expecting a musical clash on your journey, or a collaboration?

I think that everything is compatible. But if it's not two people who are interested, one can work as hard as he wants, there still won't be a cooperation. Artists basically have more openness. But cooperation works in sport and economics too. But where things get hairy is politics. There are simply people who say for reasons of power politics that they are against any change.

What is your opinion of the term "patriotism"?

Like the word itself says: it is something very fatherly, masculine. I miss the female side in just the word. Homeland is used positively as far as I am concerned, patriotism less so, that's used politically.

What does homeland mean to you? Music?

Music certainly. Homeland for me is also the Inner Salzkammergut, the intonation, the dialect that creates a sense of security.

You have dealt with many fights with traditionalists in the Salzkammergut. Is grating a part of homeland for you too?

I live that everywhere though. Homeland certainly doesn't mean "everything is fine there" for me.

That sounds stressful.

It is. I'd rather not have conflict, but it doesn't make me happy when people avoid conflict to maintain a sense of wellbeing either.

That stands you in contrast to the Austrian culture of consensus.

In order to live this consensus, you need a conflict first!

You had a conflict with the FPÖ, because they used your music at an election rally. Couldn't you have just forbidden it?

I don't want to forbid my music to anybody! I asked the FPÖ to distance themselves from it and gave a statement. But I am happy when my music is listened, no matter by whom. The only important thing is that those who listen to it know what my music stands for. Because I believe in the power of music, that the thoughts of those making music have an effect.

Did you follow "Dancing Stars" with your former musical partner Zabine?

I watched the first programme and hoped that she would go a long way. All those who go to Dancing Stars are strong personalities. And now the strong women should lead, to ritually submit themselves is very difficult for them! And Klaus Eberhartinger is now of course the Austrian Fred Astaire.

Hubert von Goisern plans a "cultural eastwards expansion"

DPA 24th May 2007

Hubert von GoisernRegensburg/Passau - Austrian alpine rocker Hubert von Goisern alias Hubert Achleitner has always been someone up for adventure and cultural exchange. As a 20-year-old he emigrated for a time to South Africa, then he learned how to play the nose flute in the Philippines, recorded songs in India with Tibetan artists and toured through West Africa and Egypt.

But his new project should put all that into the shadows: The world musician is planning the ambitious project of a "cultural eastwards expansion" with the language of music.

For months at a time until 2009 he will be travelling along European rivers as ambassador for the future European Capital of Culture Linz and giving concerts from his ship. Goisern needs a total of three ships for this mammoth tour that will bring people together. A tugboat will be pushing the barracks ship for 20 or so members of band and crew as well as a second ship with a large extendable stage, spotlights, light and sound engineering from harbour to harbour. At each stop von Goisern will be playing together with local bands on the floating stage.

"It has a dimension that sometimes frightens me," said von Goisern at the presentation of his plan in Regensburg. The cathedral city (29th June) and Passau (30th June) are the only two places where they will drop anchor in Germany in the first year. The Regensburg Osthafen will be the first stop after the premiere in Vienna (22nd June). In Regensburg Hans-Jürgen Buchner will be coming to the Austro-German double concert with his group "Haindling" and in Passau the globetrotter will be playing with the Claudia Koreck Band.

After this von Goisern will be exploring south east Europe via the Danube. Going from Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania down to the Ukraine. At least 23 stops are planned, in the east they are free. "We also have some buffer days in between. So we can dock somewhere and give a spontaneous concert," said von Goisern. The 54-year-old father is hoping for many interesting encounters both on board and on land.

Von Goisern has been working on the river tour for two years and has come across all sorts of imponderables: high tide or low tide, or problems with the authorities could spoil the tour. The less water there is in the river, the further from the audience on the shore the boat must drop anchor. A Ukrainian mayor wants to check the lyrics of the songs and have the show approved by the government. "It's very exciting. There are many things where I'm very curious to see how it will all work out," said von Goisern, who, when in doubt, will let "charm and creativity" play.

There is still a large question mark over the reaction of the audience. "In some cases we are playing where they have never had a concert at which entrance was required," said von Goisern. In many south eastern European countries there is no concert culture beyond the capital cities. "Our project could possibly be a starting shot for that."

The river tour that will bring people together will continue next year. Von Goisern will then be making the banks of the Rhine, Ruhr, Neckar, Mosel and Main sound, before he arrives back in Linz in summer 2009. A large finale concert with all participating artists is planned to take place in the city which will then be the European Capital of Culture and which is financially supporting von Goisern's musical Europe project.

Hubert von Goisern on the Festwochen

www.oe24.at 11th May 2007 | Text: Alexandra Zawia

On the occasion of the Wiener Festwochen Opening Ceremony, at which Hubert von Goisern will not only be playing, but also presenting, the artist spoke to ÖSTERREICH about yodelling with Bobby McFerrin, his stage ship tour, the opportunities of integration - and the inclination towards being bad.

[...] What are the current projects you are working on?

For a year and a half I've been the current tour, which will be starting in Vienna on 22nd June. We're converting a ship for it, which will then be going up and down the Danube all summer as a stage ship, all the way down to the Black Sea and back. And next year it goes upstream on the Danube, to the Main-Danube canal and then in the Rhine up to Basel and to Rotterdam and perhaps even Brussels. That has what taken me captive, where all my energy is going. And it won't come to an end until 2009 as part of the Capital of Culture Linz 2009. On this tour I will be playing concerts in all the countries along the route, with artists from each of the countries. I'm also inviting the artists onto the ship. I can accommodate 12 guests, so we can travel a certain way together and rehearse during the journey and then play.

How did this idea come about?

It was ten years ago, when I filmed a documentary about Jane Goodall and I met many refugees in camps at Lake Tanganyika who had fled Burundi, Rwanda, Zaire and the Congo from the war and massacre. I thought to myself that there must be many musicians among these people. So I organised a little festival there, at which people from all these nations and ethnicities sang, danced and played and it left a nice feeling - but in a very small area, very improvised. That's where the thought came of doing it on a bigger scale and to sail up and down Lake Tanganyika, docking at ports and playing music with people there. But unfortunately I haven't been able to realise that yet, because there is still a lot of violence on the western shore and it would simply be irresponsible to organise festivals there. Escalations would be bound to occur. And then two years ago while fishing I had the idea of transplanting it to the Danube. Because there is a need for people to become acquainted with each other here too and to break down their fears of one another.

That starts at the garden fence.

Yes, exactly (laughs).

So you are perfectly suited to the spiritual background of this year's Festwochen, which have integration and cultural variety as their focus. In your opinion how can integration really work here at home on the Danube?

You need to have the courage and the will to get to know others. But you must also respect the fact that there are people who are satisfied with just a small circle of friends and who don't want to meet other people. We live in a time in which everything is changing very fast and that unsettles people and they feel insecure. But that also comes from the fact that we don't know each other. In the last year I've travelled South East Europe twice, that is before the EU accession and I asked people in Bulgaria and Romania for example, whether they were looking forward to the accession. With a few exceptions, they were all very sceptical and were afraid of the EU. I am a convinced European. I'm happy when any border falls, where I don't have to show my passport - or my car boot - and don't have to wait for hours at the checkpoint until everything is done. I think that the EU thinking contributes to more collaboration and to people not eyeing each other up suspiciously.

Do you speak from experience?

Yes, it's all been that way: For example when I am detained at the Walserberg checkpoint going into Germany and the border guard sees the instruments in the car, and I'm looking a bit unshaven and have long hair, then I'm the enemy. And when I then have to have everything checked there, have to unpack everything and prove that I can play and so on, then I think to myself "bloody Germans" and not "bloody border guard", which rubs off unfairly on the whole country. So if just the borders aren't there, at least that is gone. But of course borders also provide protection.

There are problems when people draw the borders too closely around themselves and at the same time define their identity mainly by their country.

It is exactly this definition of identity that is the exciting thing in the European Union. Because people do have a national awareness, but also the European identity. Only, this isn't so noticeable from within. But from outside, for example for someone from Africa there is most likely a European identity, the same way that there is an African identity for us - although east and west and Upper Volta and Lower Volta are worlds apart.

So travelling on prescription wouldn't be a bad idea.

That would certainly be a good idea. But I can imagine that's quite a vision to put something like that into action as a job market model too - and to even say after five years everyone can take a year off, the machines are becoming ever more efficient (laughs).

Apropos efficiency: Will a CD be released for the tour too?

Not for the first tour, but next year around this time before the second stage starts. I'll be producing a CD over the winter.

And a live DVD about the first tour?

An ambitious documentary film project is being planned, but not everything is sorted yet.

Who will be doing it?

The ORF will be co-producing so to speak and I've been able to get Geyrhalterfilm as producers. So we have very good qualifications behind us, but the finances are not yet sorted. There are many days to film, 90 days on the ship and the time beforehand should be filmed too. That costs the earth for a whole team. The ORF want to do it, but for the money that they want to spend, you can only do the half of it. And then the question remains where we should get the other half from. Sometimes it's easier to do things alone, rather than as a group. On the other hand, it's also the exciting thing that you have to find a consensus in cooperation. But there has to be a conflict before you reach a consensus.

[Read the Wiener Festwochen portion of the interview]

From train to ship

Tele 19/2007 | Text: Werner Rass | Photos: Peter Burgstaller

Leaving for Vienna. With Goisern between Salzburg and Munich.
What moves him (away): his music, his adventures.

Hubert von Goisern

New day. Salzburg, Hauptbahnhof, time: 11.03. Hubert von Goisern boards the EC 68, heading for Munich. It is a departure after years of inner peace. The folk musician, who has long since distanced himself from the "Hiatamadl" image will be travelling the Danube with a convoy of three ships in 2007 and 2008 as ambassador for the Capital of Culture Linz. And he will be giving concerts from the lightly swaying stage - starting on 22nd June this year. The high point: 2009 in Linz, where the cargo of sound will be unloaded at a mega festival. In the meantime: 14 countries - about 100 artists - more than 12,000 river kilometres - more than 300,000 people live!

Fiddle up and ... But before that Goisern has been asked to open the Wiener Festwochen alongside Joe Zawinul and Bobby McFerrin, on Friday 11th May (ORF 2, 21.15). "I will be singing a duet with Bobby, I don't know which yet, we'll sort it out on the spot, I think he can do that", Hubert smiles in the dining car.

Hubert von GoisernBack then. The idea of going to people with music, building bridges and breaking down barriers, came to him ten years ago in Africa. But Hubert Achleitner, his civil name, felt somehow "that that's not my own terrain, you need a figurehead, someone who's from there, like Nelson Mandela". While fishing on the Danube with the ship owner Franz Brandner then came the idea to relocate the project to the Danube.

Over and under. His adventure, the river and the people who live on and with it, exploring particularly the new EU countries - these are the things that have occupied the father of two for the past two years. Over, that is the journey from Rotterdam, down the Rhine-Main Canal to Passau, which will take place next year. Under: the journey by ship from Regensburg via Melk and Vienna to the Danube delta at the Black Sea and back again. "We're starting under. I've covered thousands of kilometres by car and by ship, I've seen what I'm letting myself in for - it will be a journey on which I can be at home, only the surroundings will change." Nearly ninety days on the ship, not leaving it, inviting guests such as Haindling, Willi Resetarits and many more, playing music, meeting people in their localities, understanding them - that's what moves him.

Hubert von Goisern

Can't you hear. "We'll travel down, play and watch - a test of faith for me." A three hour repertoire is ready for 90 minutes on stage. In the "East" the motto is: free admission. The people don't need to pay anything, because five Euros hurts them and doesn't really bring us anything. The 20 concerts we're playing will be 20 completely self-sufficient constructions." And the money? "Linz 09" is paying a third, the musician will generate a third himself and Dietrich Mateschitz has taken responsibility for the remaining third. "He said to me: 'Plan it the way you think is right.' He has also put his infrastructure at my disposal."

Hubert von GoisernFar, far away. The one time founder of the Alpinkatzen, who decided at the age of 27 to become a musician after all sorts of other attempts, has always been fond of travelling. Out of the mountains and into the world. There were many reasons for doing so for the now 54-year-old. "Personal experience was always important to me. It's about the power of imagination and the horizon of experience. Travelling is verification. I wanted to see for myself whether it was all as kaput as the media tell us."

Shame. Goisern also discovered that it's too late in Tibet, where he didn't just play, but also made contact with the Dalai Lama (in his exile in north India). "There's no small talk with him, only big talk. He's very straightforward and has a super down to earth attitude. You can see with him what meditation and immersion can bring forth. The fact that he doesn't become a grump despite so much responsibility in such a hopeless situation makes him a saint.

Goisern. Experiences that have also shaped him. For his positive outlook on life, his approach to music. "I'm happy when I sing. Music is a drug, I really let myself get involved, with all consequences. Then I go into rehab and then throw myself back into it completely again. The rehab begins when everything is just revolving around the same thing. When it starts to be a big bubble from which you can't escape. When you get the feeling that you can no longer comprehend life as a gift in all its beauty. Then it's time to stop and start anew."

Getting better. There is no fear of standing still. "It is rarely a singular situation that brings forth change. It starts with the thought: this is going in a direction I don't like. It's time to change something. And then I say to myself, either left or right. Or straight ahead." And he can't pause when going straight ahead. That is when music makes it possible to leave the material behind and to dip into the spiritual world, to feel the connection with the trees or the Ukrainians. Hubert von Goisern will soon know of it ...

Thanks Stefan