Hubert von Goisern


Miscellaneous: 2017

Hubert von Goisern and the Austrian Folk Song Society: Come, let's sing!

23rd November 2017 | Foto: © Katharina Dietl
Josef Pühringer, President of the Österreichisches Volksliedwerk, Irene Egger, Director of the Österreichisches Volksliedwerk, Anita Frühwirth, Chairwoman of the Vorarlberger Volksliedwerk, Hubert von Goisern, Patron

Hubert von Goisern becomes patron of the Austrian Folk Song Society's campaign

With his passion for and commitment to keeping Austria's rich history of folk music and songs alive and accessible for contemporary audiences, Hubert von Goisern is the perfect fit for the new campaign from the Austrian Folk Song Society, "Come, let's sing".

The society, which is based in Vienna and has branches in the Austrian provinces, collects, documents and shares regional musical culture past and present. Workshops, exhibitions and concerts, as well as projects in collaboration with schools across the country are all part of what the organisation, which was founded in 1904, has to offer.

This year's focus for the long-standing school project "With Every Sense" bears the title "Come, let's sing", which invites schools to develop an Austria-wide repertoire of songs, designed to encourage singing together.

Hubert von Goisern sees "primarily a kind of education of the heart" in singing together, as he explained at a press conference on Thursday. Singing together creates trust and ensures "that nobody is left behind, who might not be able to do it quite so well," said von Goisern. More so than any instrument, the singing voice "really comes from the centre: even I, although I am often on stage, have to overcome my own inhibitions a little each time. It's a kind of fear. So you learn to trust your listeners and those playing with you." And perhaps even more importantly: you learn to listen. "Engaging and feeling the harmony or tension with the others - there's no better place to practise that than in singing with others." However, to be able to do that, at school, with family or friends, you need a joint repertoire.

"Singing brings people together", Hubert von Goisern further explains. "On my travels I have met all kinds of different people. Singing and playing music together has often produced a common inner connection. People tune into each other, they have to open up! We Austrians also belong to a culture that has a long history of singing. I grew up with the songs and music of my close surroundings. I find it really exciting to push into the heart of tradition. In this highly technologised, global world, people long for something familiar to create this inner balance. But nowadays people barely know any shared songs. I see my mission in this campaign as supporting young people in finding the songs they share."

In this current school year 2017/18 the participating schools will choose and sing their songs. As patron of the project, Hubert von Goisern will sift through the selections from the across the country, making suggestions for the collective repertoire of songs.

In the next school year 2018/19 music teachers will creatively tackle these songs in training courses and schools.

The finale will be in the 2019/20 school year, when this curated repertoire of songs will be presented on stage in a public performance with Hubert von Goisern.

The aim of the project is to find, learn and establish a collective repertoire of songs among the students in order to encourage singing together beyond school, in families and communities. Singing should be experienced as something to benefit one's mental and physical wellbeing, as well as being a form of communication and a companion through life.

Hubert von Goisern in search of new songs

OTS 29th June 2018 | Photo: © Volksschule Leogang
Hubert von Goisern - VS Leogang

Hoch auf dem gelben Wagen, Das Heideröslein or Wahre Freundschaft soll nicht wanken. There's barely anyone who went to school in the 1960s who didn't have the little red book Komm sing mit in their school bag. It was first published in 1962 and over the years worked its way into the collective memory of Austrian men and women. According to alpine rocker Hubert von Goisern singing is part of emotional development, contagious and confidence-inspiring. As the figurehead of the Austrian Folk Song Society's new initiative "Komm, wir singen!" he has put himself at the service of this project and is visiting Austrian schools in search of songs. It's clear that in the 21st century this won't end up looking like it did at the beginning of the sixties. So English language songs will be welcome, along with pop songs - and of course folk songs as they have been passed down and sung for generations, whether in among families or in mountain huts. Interest in his son's music lessons led the musician to the teacher, who excused the lack of singing on offer with "they don't want to sing". Hubert von Goisern took up the challenge and taught for a year the way he wished.

Hubert von Goisern - VS Leogang