Hubert von Goisern


AFRICA: 1 2 3 4 5 6

The street children of Dogodo

BISZ 14th March 1996 - Part 2 | Text: Hannes Heide

A Tyrolean Boy Scout shirt on the market in Kigoma and an amplifier from Goisern in Dar es Salaam.
Hubert von Goisern in Africa, part two.

How would he react if the Tyrolean Boy Scout knew that the shirt he had donated to the textile collection for the poor had passed to Africa? The aforementioned shirt made a journey below the equator and finally landed at the market in Kigoma by Lake Tanganyika. The way for all old textiles - when they land in Tanzania - is mapped out. There is a businessman of Indian origin who buys up the clothes which are collected in Europe for foreign aid, and sells them on with a cool profit in the markets of the land.

So it comes that the man travelling in Africa meets an agricultural worker who is wearing a Boy Scout shirt, with a Tyrolean coat of arms of all things and he is pleased about the fact that the shirt comes from exactly where Sabine comes from.

When you then hear that Tanzania is no longer supplied milk powder by Unicef because it is sold straight to business people, or see how UN limousines drive through the run-down towns, doubts arise about foreign aid. But there are also experiences of another kind: The behavioural research scientist, Jane Goodall's project "Roots and Shoots", which was presented in the last edition of BISZ, searches for the connection of pupils from the USA, England, Japan and Austria too.

Young people can not only give their contemporaries a lot, but a lot is also returned to them through the occupation with a culture which is so completely different. So, with "Roots and Shoots", not just inviting youths from Africa to Europe is imagined, but also making a trip to Africa possible for children from the Salzkammergut.

"Before my old amplifiers are lying around at home, I am giving them to the young musicians in Dar es Salaam," Hubert von Goisern is now certain after the visit to the Dogodo street children project, that part of his musical equipment will be used meaningfully there. Music as occupation for young boys who would otherwise land on the street: Dogodogo takes youths from the street and tries to keep them from wandering into criminality.

The formation of a band, the Green Band, helps the carers with this. Even if the technical equipment is improvised and the electricity is "put together somehow". A keyboard and a simple amplifier signify a huge step in the work with the young musicians.

All these projects go back to Dr Jane Goodall, who began the observation of chimpanzees 30 years ago at Gombe stream - now a National Park. In the course of her work with the research of apes, the connection between the natural and cultural landscape made her famous. In order to preserve the environment, there must be agreement between these two factors. More specifically, that means that the National Park can only be preserved if the people can also find enough firewood outside it.

The exploitation of the forests around Lake Tanganyika has led to erosion, the ground has no more support and the fields slip from the slopes. Floods devastate the villages.

Here another project from the Jane Goodall Institute is put into place, which will be sponsored by the European Community. A German volunteer worker is leading a nursery garden, in which trees native to Tanzania will be planted. In villages in the region, the residents will be shown on the basis of video projections, how the substantial deforestation leads to disasters around the villages.

In order to raise the awareness of the people, George also uses native culture in his presentations. His own choir of workers sing songs which bring attention to the dangers.

Dangers also threaten the team engaged around George from the other side - the other bank of the lake. Pirates are a nuisance on Lake Tanganyika, with their eye on the project's technical equipment. They recently captured and bound George and his people and took them out on the lake. The pirates there might have come from Zaire, on the other side of the lake, because they spoke French - then some fishermen united their boats and removed the outboard motors.

They finally released the prisoners again, who had to then paddle to the other shore with their hands. The expensive equipment for the video projections was certainly gone. It would turn up again later. At a market in Zaire.

To make the connection between with natural and cultural landscape? This guideline in Jane Goodall's work does not only concern the population of Black Africa. People should become more aware in our region too. In this way, one could learn a lot from the Africans.

The actions in the framework of the JGI, the Jane Goodall Institute, opens possibilities, "to do something" simply but efficiently. Or, as Hubert von Goisern puts it: "I am not Mother Theresa. But what I can do, I do too!"

Incidentally, Jane Goodall will visit the Salzkammergut this year, to beat the big drum for her project and also to look for meetings with young people.

Two talents interweave

OÖN 12th March 1997| Text: Bernhard Lichtenberger

Documentary: Hubert von Goisern was with chimpanzee scientist Jane Goodall in Africa.

"Primarily, I still feel like a musician," Hubert von Goisern said - just back from Tanzania in West Africa. Not quite two and a half years ago, the new folk musician said "bye" to his Alpinkatzen. Since that time, he has both had his cake and eaten it. He composed film music (Die Fernsehsaga, Schlafes Bruder), journeyed around the Chinese-occupied Tibet and described his impressions in a Land der Berge programme.

Hubert and JaneOn his recent trip, the Goiserer, who will soon move to Salzburg ("the renovations are not quite finished yet"), accompanied a Land der Berge team to Jane Goodall. The 62 year old Briton became world famous for her behavioural research on wild chimpanzees, carried out over many decades in Gombe National Park.

Reverence before creation

The alpine rocker, in temporary retirement, and Goodall have known each other for two and a half years. "One day she was in front of my door in Goisern and then we drank tea together," said Hubert in reply to OÖN's request to describe their first meeting in a few words. And then he also talks about a congeniality between two loners: "we are joined together by the reverence before creation, the faith in the marvellous in life and the knowledge that we have inexhaustible mental and human resources, which we should, however, use creatively and carefully."

The film with the working title African Queen (director: Hans-Peter Stauber; Camera: Volkmer Voitl, Tone Mathis), a coproduction between ORF and Bayerischer Rundfunk, will probably be broadcast in October. Before the editing, which in three weeks turned the twenty hours into the forty-five minute Land der Berge documentary, Hubert was "a bit shit-scared". His vision, which was not fulfilled, was an hour long music video, which would run to a large extent, without commentary. Hubert incorporated the music of the natives into the composition of the film music.

He found the mixture of cultures and people between the natives and refugees from Zaire and Burundi most interesting. "If one imagines what has taken place there for years, then it is an unbelievably peaceful country. If we had so many refugees in Salzkammergut, in Ischl, then it would have escalated and exploded a long time ago."

With this project of artists, does he place himself in the service of the scientist, or the other way around? Hubert: "I would like to reply in the words of Jane: "leave us to weave our talents together" I am a great opera fan and the co-operation of picture and sound has always fascinated me. Seen like that, I used her to fulfil a dream. On the other hand, she can always articulate what I do."

They are both of the opinion that one can resolve all problems, even those created by "over-industrialisation and through a self-important materialism."

Jane Goodall has started with her Roots & Shoots project for children: The coming generation must learn to deal with the environment, animals and people responsibly and consciously. "There are still children in the city of Salzburg who have never been in a cowshed, who do not know where milk comes from," says the Goiserer.

Can apes play the drums

Salzburger Nachrichten 6th December 1997

Jane Goodall and Hubert von Goisern in the Montessori secondary school, Salzburg

In this way in the Montessori secondary school Salzburg at the Hinterholzerkai, nobody said "good morning": Jane Goodall, world-famous primate scientist, surprised the children with a friendly chimpanzee "u-uuuu"; her companion, Hubert von Goisern yodelled: "Jeehuio!"

Goodall and Goisern wanted to bring the environmental campaign Roots and Shoots closer to the children. The target of this environmental campaign, running in 20 countries, is to stop the shrinking of the chimpanzees' habitat. The barely two million population of the chimpanzees had shrunk two years ago to approximately 250,000, Jane Goodall reported.

The Montessori pupils had an explanation for it: The jungles were cleared, the animals were hunted for different reasons - to be eaten (!), or to be put in zoos or circus shows. There one would teach them various tricks under pressure. "Can they play the drums too?", a pupil wanted to know. "If you teach them, sure", said Goodall. The young people were themselves however united over the fact that the chimpanzees would be in good hands where they came from: In the rain forests of Africa, which was meant for them.

An alpine yodeller in Africa

RZ Online 16th July 1998 | Text: Norbert Aschenbrenner

Folk Rocker Hubert von Goisern on a musical journey

"Because I am stubborn," answers Hubert von Goisern, as to why he got involved in a musical adventure, which had caused head shaking at least with all his friends: Tibet and Tanzania. Now two albums of the Austrian folk music rocker's are here, in which he processed his journeys - Inexil and Gombe.

Goisern's music sounds unusual now, compared with rousing alpine yodelling like the Hiatamadl, but it is gripping as always. And it is above all sincere and genuine.

Folk music released from the Musikantenstadl image

Scepticism is appropriate. Many before him have already driven into far-off countries and brought forward their own ethno disc. Goisern, however, masters the tightrope walk. He has created with his new projects, that which he made before with the folk music of his mountain homeland Bad Goisern between Salzkammergut and Dachstein. For the Bavarian and Austrian young people he released the folk music from the Musikantenstadl image. Kren und Speck or Wildschütz-Räp were titles, the accordion and yodelling joined with drumming and guitar solos.

When Goisern performed the last juchitzer with his Alpinkatzen at the end of 1994: he said goodbye to the stage, sadness remained with the fans and a guessing game as to what Hubert would do next. In 1996 he was in Tibet and visited a suppressed country. One year later, he drove to Tanzania and visited the legendary chimpanzee scientist Jane Goodall. Both journeys flowed into unusual albums. It needs a little patience, but then marvellous music is opened up.

Traditional folk music into everyday life

Like his moving songs from the mountains the pictures of sounds are built. The quiet pieces of the Alpinkatzen, which were shaped by the voice of "Alpine" Sabine Kapfinger, the yodeller, the juchitzers and the beautifully sad vocals led the listener with closed eyes into the areas, where juicy pastures hung above green forests and over them, snow-covered rock.

It is exactly the same with Afrika Overtüre for instance and the eleven other pieces on Gombe; out of a kind of yodel a green thicket develops before the mental eye, damp heat, slow-moving water - the national park Gombe, where Jane Goodall has researched for over 30 years. Gombe is the musical counterpart to a documentary, which Goisern made for the television. It was a challenge for him, after he had become acquainted with Goodall. He sees the CD as journey, a 40 minute immersion into another world. Nevertheless the music is still from Goisern's roots, not strange to him. Compared with that, Inexil, the work from Tibet, is far removed from that which one connects with Hubert von Goisern, and it has its special attraction.

Young Tibetan departs from advanced opera

The folk musician engages himself for the Tibetan people, because he experienced for himself how the culture is systematically destroyed under the Chinese. He personally got permission from the Dalai Lama for each concert location. With four Tibetan singers as well as several musicians, Goisern and his fellow combatant of many years, Wolfgang Spannberger, took up twelve songs, which have corners and edges for European ears, as Goisern says.

With the young Tibetans the music hits after his words however. All, who have heard the pieces so far, would not have considered this contemporary beginning possible. "The people, who have never listened to so much as Tibetan opera singing, who had nothing to do with traditional music, who suddenly went off and said: "It is just like our music" Goisern tells me proudly. And he is pleased that he has got things rolling again, like ten years ago with his album Alpine Lawine.

But where it rolls now, he does not know yet. Starting from autumn he wants to work on a new piece. He already has ideas, but he would not breathe a word. For spring 1999 a tour is planned - also here it is open, which songs Goisern will give to this. Only one thing is sure: He does not fear about the agreement of the fans. Even if some turn back in view of the outrageous tones "Well, perhaps different people will come to it".

Yodelling is the coolest musical language

Zentralnerv 83 | Text: Bernd Schweinar | Photo: Michael Neugebauer

Hubert von Goisern returns after four years

After a four year break from the stage, Hubert von Goisern has returned without his Alpinkatzen, with whom he once sold hundreds of thousands of CDs . It was with Jane Goodall and her chimpanzees in Africa and he was with exiled Tibetans illegally travelling to Tibet. He recreated both in his music in the CDs Gombe/Afrika and Inexil/Tibet (BMG Ariola). In the winter he wants to record his own album and in the coming spring go on tour again with new musicians. With the ZN interview on Kloster Banz he reflected on review and departure.

Jane Goodall and HvGWhen he said goodbye to his public in 1994, in an interview in Munich, he analysed: "each sound comes from the silence. The sound is not to be assumed in the noise. Only if it is perfectly quiet, can one work with subtle sounds. It is a character of our time that also with painters, everything is already so fully painted that one can only paint over it. For each musician I believe that the silence, like the original ground, is very very important."

Four years later the album Gombe documents that Hubert von Goisern has drawn his conclusions. "If one goes up a mountain in Austria, one hears the noise of the roads. Only in quite remote valleys can one come into the situation to hear nothing at times except the birds and the noise of the wind - I really like that." Impassioned, "HvG", as he is called by everyone, continues: "however if you come to Africa into the jungle, you suddenly have that for days and weeks! There, not even an aeroplane flies over. Everything which one hears is what brings nature out. You suddenly become very sensitive again."

He wanted "to take it as close as possible to the missing links left between cries and singing", he therefore also "cried along with the chimpanzees". The song Delta is almost exclusively structured on the sounds of nature , on the cries of Freud, the alpha-chimpanzee of Jane Goodall's commune. He begins to imitate the rhythmic whimpering - repeated in Delta by means of audio engineering - and increases with the call in a final ape cry. "I was not as much on the search for African drums and choirs", as some were before him, Hubert von Goisern, continues: "rather I wanted to create music with the voices of nature and wanted to arrive at this primal cry, which I had heard, as I was sat with the chimpanzees, often for hours." The peace and calm of nature developed in Hubert's head, between the polarisation from intensity and lack of ambition of sounds, which was Hubert's target.

It was not difficult for Hubert von Goisern, who said: "with me everything immediately becomes music! I hear the humming of an engine and it is for me a very fast frequency which I locate. If I hear the fire brigade, I immediately sing the second voice in addition or possibly a harmony". Similarly in Africa his "very intensive musical fantasy " came to fruition.

"At last after long years" Hubert again got into music because one evening a friend paid him a surprise visit with Jane Goodall. He stayed one month in Africa and was "deeply impressed" by Jane's work. Once more at home, nine months later he wrote an exposé for a television documentary. "My desire was it to make a music film a documentary, which should express what I felt mainly over pictures and music". That only conditionally folded, he leads today on his "lacking TV experience" and on the "constant discussions about the format". Frustrated, he had to see that the documentary and music would become "two quite separate projects". The CD Gombe, which stormed into the Top 100 the first week after publication, shows that it was situated correctly.

Faith in the wonderful 30th October 1997 | Photo: Michael Neugebauer

Hubert von Goisern travelled around Tanzania on the tracks of his friend Jane Goodall.
An ORF team accompanied him.

Jane GoodallAt first sight the friendship maintained for some years between the world-famous behavioural scientist, Jane Goodall, and well-known (in this country) Alpine rocker, Hubert von Goisern, is surprising.

"The reverence before the creation, the faith in the wonderful in life and knowledge connects us. We have inexhaustible mental and human resources, which we should use, however, creatively and carefully. Fatalism is foreign to both of us", Hubert von Goisern describes as the thing in common.

Director Hans Peter Stauber filmed a documentary about this friendship. For 16 days Hubert von Goisern and the Land der Berge team filmed in the mountains of Gombe in Tanzania, where more than 30 years ago Jane Goodall's work had begun. The documentary developed in such a way that it tells, in diary form, of Hubert von Goisern's journey - he also wrote the film music - in Land der Berge.

One of the summits in the national park at Gombe is known as "Jane's peak" in Goodall's honour. There the scientist maintained the closest contacts with her chimpanzees.

In addition, the programme follows historical tracks. So the team filmed in Ujiji, where in 1871 the English missionary and Africa researcher David Livingstone met the journalist Henry Morton Stanley. A further filming place was the steamer Liemba, which had been brought to Lake Tanganyika by the German East Africa troops over land before the First World War. There he did as "Count von Götzen" until his sinking by the Belgian troops.

Hubert von Goisern: GOMBE

GombeAn album inspired by Africa. In 1994 Hubert was introduced to Jane Goodall by his friend Michael Neugebauer. Jane's stories inspired Hubert to visit Africa. He did so twice, made a film about Jane and then composed the Gombe CD as a soundtrack. Hubert von Goisern writes: "I think the music releases some of what I have carried within my mind since that first snowy evening with Jane: the rich smell of the African soil; the early morning heat which blankets everything like a heavy hand; the slowing and refining of one's senses; the gentle caress of the waves over the pebbles in Lake Tanganyika; the raw beauty of paradise and its magic."