RUTH WORLD MUSIC PRIZE 2011
Ruth Award Ceremony in Rudolstadt
On 2nd July 2011 Hubert von Goisern was awarded the German "Ruth" world music prize, the jury commending his success in "time and again combining his own sound and his ideas with those of foreign lands and people". The award was presented on the Heidecksburg stage at the Tanz- und Folkfest in Rudolstadt before HvG and his band played an hour-long set in front of an enthusiastic audience.
The German Ruth – no longer just a junior prize, but an award that is dedicated to a current musical production that deals contemporarily and with conviction with musical traditions from the German-speaking lands. An award that can by all means be given to a veteran – as long as he or she is contemporary and convincing.
And so is the award winner of the German Ruth 2011:
He is a man that seems outwardly rather reserved, at times even shy. I can still remember the first time I met the Alpinkatzen, nearly 20 years ago, his first band – that is the first with nationwide success.
They were on a promotional tour and came into the studio like a pack of young dogs: with bright eyes, cheerful and psyched up. The last one was Hubert von Goisern, as if he didn't really belong, a little shy and withdrawn, but a head taller than the rest of them and a powerful presence. The static axis around which the others turned.
However, behind this unapproachable façade is a lively strength and an unbounded spirit: someone who continually sets off for new shores, who always wants to try something new, who looks for challenges and is immensely curious. And someone who has been around the block enough to know that there is no escape from oneself – no matter how far from home one finds oneself.
Von Goisern – it's not a peerage, as a number of people initially distrustfully suspected – titles of nobility were not so popular 20 years ago – "von" Goisern simply means "from" Goisern – and Goisern, that soon became a kind of mythical town: left around the corner from the Cologne BAP district, next to Ribbeck's pear orchard and somehow not all that far from Haindling either. A town in whose earth one could evidently put down good roots, and from whose earth one could take strength and nourishment: stories, melodies, rhythms; the peace needed by someone who travels a lot and the language in which he dreams.
In 2007 and 2008 Hubert von Goisern made a dream come true – something that pushed him to his limits: a completely crackpot idea and completely terrific: following the water that comes from the mountain above Bad Goisern, runs down into the valley, becomes a stream and then a river and then runs into the sea.
Down the Danube to the Black Sea and then up the Rhine to Rotterdam: with a cargo ship, a convoy full of musicians and the cumulative curiosity about the colleagues they might meet. They were exciting encounters, even if there were one or two disappointments. But you can clearly hear on Haut und Haar how things sparked – and things burn when someone goes at making their dream a reality and sharing it too with total commitment. A mammoth undertaking: following the water past so many different cultures into the great ocean. An undertaking into which you can enter only one way: with "skin and hair", completely.
And that why he receives the Ruth today: because on this journey he joined his roots and his dreams with those of others who are at home on the water.
(The German Ruth 2011 goes to Hubert von Goisern. A particularly beautiful statuette as always: it seems to be made from root wood and encased within is a stone, or perhaps even crystal core.)
But barely back, Hubert von Goisern is back on the road again and in a different direction this time: after the logistical nightmare and the organisational colossus, now the small, but fine guerilla unit: von Goisern as a four-member band. Small, loud and perhaps a bit dirty too ...
In a certain way he is returning to his own musical roots so to speak: alpine rock 'n' roll in a small lineup.