Hubert von Goisern


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Arrived in the circle of world musicians

Allgäuer Zeitung 13th March 2001 | Text: Markus Noichl

Hubert von Goisern's new programme goes deep under the skin at his appearance in Memmingen

He had talked pretty big and wanted to be back on stage only if he had hatched something really new. That was successful. In the sold-out Memmingen Stadthalle, Hubert von Goisern came with his own fresh songs and cleverly processed traditional songs.

Which is the main theme that runs through all songs, no matter whether the headache is sung in the heavy, sultry blues Fön, the temptations on account of the many dynamic girls in Katholisch ("wia sa si' so vorbeidrahn, da wird ma glei ganz schia" - "And when they move their body, My mind is blown away"). Or whether he comes to philosophy in Die Strass'n ("es is nix g'log'n, was nit a wahr is, und nur weils gscheit is, is's nit guat, und es is die selbe strass'n, de di hoam führt oder fort" - "There's nothing true that's not a lie, too. And everything that's right isn't any good because it's the same road that takes you home or takes you away")?

Put it like this: in the best moments of this concert, the yodel swings high like the Shaman singers, for instance Mari Boine. Something breaks into the music that the city and pedestrian precincts cannot give. It is ancient music from an ancient landscape. They are nerve fibres that perhaps can only be developed by someone who leaves, but carries the mountains with them. It is this life blood which Hubert von Goisern trickles into his music, no matter whether it comes as reggae, blues or pop.

When he soars from full chest into head voice and lingers a delicate moment there like an eagle upwind, it really goes under the skin. Then the yodel gets back a mysticism which it had lost. And then the Goiserer, who is actually called Achleitner and named himself after his hometown at the foot of the Dachstein, really breaks through into the phalanx of world music makers, no matter whether they come from Africa, from Mongolia or wherever.

After the interval, pure traditional songs are to be heard. Folk songs and yodels from the Alps. Served so casually and "sharply" by the first-class musicians of the band that you could cry. It does not often happen that at the end the whole audience gets up from their seats.

Unexploited treasure

The new Hubert von Goisern does not do it in a crashing way. Here, no alpine zombie goes on and on with pompous schlager lyrics in High German and then passes it off as folklore. Nothing is sold off cheaply here. Here somebody who has swing takes care of old, unexploited treasure, protecting the dialect sound without classing it under the stick-in-the-muds. The undertaking was in the best hands with smart colleagues Bernd Bechtloff (drums), Arnulf Lindner (bass), Heli Punzenberger (guitar), Agnes Grasberger (violin) and Burkhardt Frauenlob (keyboard). He really is a "great bloke", this Hubert von Goisern.

Hubert von Goisern on Sonntagskonzert in Kufstein

2001 Photos: © Ralf Dollmann

Through the world with open ears

Allgäuer Zeitung 4th July 2001 | Text: Freddy Schissler

Hubert von Goisern returns from long journeys with lots of findings - about 4000 people are filled with enthusiasm

Hubert von Goisern. The name lures the masses. On two evenings, about 4000 concert visitors make their way to Burghalde.

Hubert von Goisern. The man seems to unite people. Unthinkable that an Allgäuer could ever crack a joke about this Austrian.

Hubert von Goisern. A musician whose fan community is eating out of his hand. No matter whether aggressive rock, traditional folk music, blues or sentimental songs: the people go wild when he stands on stage - and he enjoys it.

Without a doubt, he is a great musician and pleasant entertainer, this Hubert Achleitner. An artist who goes through the world with open eyes and ears. For example, to Tibet. That happened in 1996 and when he ran into four members of the Tibetan opera ensemble from Dharamsala, the district of exiled Tibetans in North India, he knew that this journey would also have a profitable effect on his musical thoughts.

And yet. You must first get used to this Goisern. Or rather: creeping up like an attentive cat on the mouse hole and you must ask the ears for tolerance. For his yodels often come suddenly, obliquely, and at the beginning of the concert, somehow you can't shake off the feeling that the man has something stuck in his throat.

Certainly it does not last long and Hubert von Goisern swallowed the lump. Then you hear excellent music, exciting and explosive, performed by excellent band members (Bernd Bechtloff, Arnulf Lindner, Heli Punzenberger, Agnes Grasberger and Burkhard Frauenlob). The six form an imposing whole, where nobody steps out of line. And everyone gets the opportunity to shine.

For example, Agnes Grasberger. She plays an important role in Goisern's concept of world music. She seems to encourage him with her violin, in the duets her voice nestles into his like a new lover or supplies a pounding rhythm and virtuoso runs if that is what is needed. Hubert von Goisern had a long break from 1994 - what many musicians in pop and rock music do once in their career. Not all return with real new findings. The Austrian, born in 1952 in the Dachstein area, entertained himself with many people, and meetings such as that with the chimpanzee research scientist Jane Goodall, he says, would have deeply impressed - and shaped - him. His music has become yet more natural, yet more overpowering in a positive sense, yet more demanding.

Even though Goisern and band tell traditional things at the end, the folk song arrangements and yodels typical of him, it goes under your skin even more than years ago. The musical break did Goisern good - and that was good for the 4000 members of the audience in Kempten.

Wandering between the style worlds

Offenbach Post 3rd April 2001 | Text: Oliver Signus

For three years, until 1995, the Austrian Hubert von Goisern swam on the wave of success. With his Alpinkatzen he made alpine rock socially acceptable, popular melodies like Koa Hiatamadl stormed the charts. Unexpectedly at the end of 1995, he disbanded the formation and withdrew from the music business for a while. Now six years later, he's here again. With a new band and two new CDs released within a few months of each other, he is currently touring through Germany. Now the 48 year old, whose civil name is Hubert Achleitner and who comes from Bad Goisern, was guest in the sold out Hugenottenhalle.

With the demand to make something different, Goisern returned. However it is not a break with the musical past. After the end of the Alpinkatzen, the musician travelled to Africa and Nepal, produced two CDs in which he processed the relationship with the foreign cultures and mixed it with his own artistic roots. His new work Fön, which he is now presenting on tour, shows itself to be more mature and sophisticated than the records from the Alpinkatzen era. At that time, straight rock power still stood in the foreground, they are now filigree and also quieter sounds than Goisern plays. Groovy jazz, bluesy numbers as well as occasional Caribbean and African rhythms flow into the pieces. The 48 year old shrieks, croaks, sings shrilly at times, then soft or loud again. Charming love songs find themselves next to critical amusingly ironic pieces in which Goisern gets even with his homeland, politicians like Jörg Haider and the Catholic church. But the artist also does not stop at rock classics like Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz. He puts his alpine stamp on the cheekily rewritten version. Goisern understands as does scarcely anybody how to present in such a homogeneous way, as a wanderer between the world's different music styles and instruments. Scarcely anyone missed the popular Koa Hiatamadl this evening and it would not have fit anyway.

Hubert von Goisern concert | Photo: FVF

Hubert von Goisern concertHis fans waited six years for him. Hubert von Goisern used these years of his creative break to take in musical experiences and encounters gathered from around the world. The CD Fön gives an insight into his artistic development.

One cannot call his comeback anything other than sensational. His interpretations of Latino styles, jazz, rock, reggae with ethno music and alpine sounds are impressive. His voice goes into action so variably, he also deals so flexibly with the instruments, from guitar to flute, from drum to harmonica and naturally his accordion, from which he extracts sounds in most ardent ways. His breathtaking stage presence not least emphasises the exquisite musicians Hubert has gathered around him.


As if the world was a yodel

St Galler Tagblatt 3rd November 2001 | Text: Philippe Reichen

Hubert von Goisern, ethno rocker without fear of yodel and juchitzer

Unholy to All Saints' Day in the Tonhalle. The Austrian Hubert von Goisern and band had a powerful appearance and received standing ovations at the end of the concert.

No proper "Hello, St Gallen" or similar, but Hubert von Goisern threw his honest yodels and juchitzers through the Tonhalle as if through a Carinthian alpine hut. An alpine groove of an ethno rocker or alpine departure. If he had had a milking stool underneath his backside, one could have thought he was an alpine dairyman.

And so down-to-earth everything came along, so strikingly Goisern cast the shadow of a world musician this evening. Jazz, funk, country, reggae, folk tunes from all parts of the world; Hubert von Goisern only needed to turn round once to stand with a new instrument and at the same on a new continent and with that put down roots. The virtue of a cosmopolitan, who after his training set off from the confinement of Bad Goisern for lengthy stays in Asia, Canada and Africa to return again to the bosom of the alpine republic.

A denigrator of Austria

"In Switzerland everything smells of soap, the people smell of soap, the cars smell of soap, so I'm happy to be able to have a shower at home again." So Hubert von Goisern lets himself be summoned to All Saints' Day and reveals further that on his search for God, he also prayed to a female God at time instead of a male God. It worked really wonderfully. Who may doubt it? - The great musician is also a great storyteller and a homo politicus, although he does not like to see himself as such. With his fine and, at the same time, light irony, he also provoked shrill outcries which shook the idyllic mountain world of Carinthia and with it that of Propagator Haider and many accused him of running his down his country because of it.

He turns and bends

"It is good for us somehow here on the stage," says Hubert von Goisern - something the audience realised a long time ago. After an hour and a half, the band played their old hits again. First now to become audible which way Goisern went since his beginning. He turns and bends in the seemingly so stiff tradition of folk music until it is tailor-made for him. As if the world was a yodel. At the end, there were standing ovations, a couple of roses and a Hubert von Goisern who somehow touched the Tonhalle stage and helplessly yearned for his blissful Bad Goisern with the idyllic Hallstättersee at the foot of the Dachstein glacier.

The yodeller has the blues

Kieler Nachrichten 26th October 2001 | Text: Thomas Geyer | Photo: Bevis

Universally open world music: Hubert von Goisern, accordion player, alpine yodeller
and Tibet traveller convinces in the full Max.

HvG and WolfgangHoly Mary, mother of God. You come into the Max and you wonder a little: a really full house. But Hubert von Goisern sings in a dialect that the Northerner just understands like formerly in the sixties when a lad from the Salzkammergut would have understood the Low German of holiday guests in a family-run bed and breakfast. "Perhaps that is the revenge now," ponders the 49 year old Austrian at his northern concert. And the audience enjoyed the revenge to the full.

Onto the stage steps Walpurga Höller, the attractive girl on the violin, in professional walking boots. Roebuck and edelweiss adorn the soft waistcoat. And drummer Bernd Bechtloff makes the sticks dance on an old milk churn from the Alps. But also an African djembe is being played, the alpine souvenir remains as a winking concession to image expectations. In any case, this band is as far away from Musikantenstadl-like folksiness as from the Bayernzelt in the Ostseehalle.

Von Goisern blows up the armour of his native tradition, without even cutting his roots, lets what a man in his late forties - who is blessed with countless talents - has absorbed flow into the alpine folk music: the rock music of the Woodstock era, refined by the fusion sounds of the seventies, which the great bass player, Antonio Porto, embodies - almost a reincarnation of Jaco Pastorius.

Once anti-genre instruments make quotations from reggae, rock and funk unfamiliar: accordion, old horn, wooden flute - whatever Hubert von Goisern takes into his hand and mouth becomes music. One drop of bitterness in this celebrated concert: a man at the mixing desk, who in the last third, pulls the control over the pain barrier.

With regard to pain: Goisern's earthy yodels have the blues. Full of longing and more stately than the merrily fast tongue zappers from the Tyrol, they ground the universally open world music in which the dialects from Tanzania and the alpine valleys harmonise like old friends. The content also shows depth, which still comes over more understandable than with most English acts. It is about water, truth and love. About the prayers for the moment and for eternity. About near and far.

A key sentence - written by hand on the bus - accompanies the tour of the traveller, who before his most recent project, had a long creative break in Tibet and Africa: "weil es is' die selbe stråss'n, die di' hoam führt oder fort" ("because they are the same roads, that take you home or away"). Hopefully they will also lead to Kiel again soon.

"Juchizer" into the concrete cliff face

Donau Kurier 12th October 2001 | Text: Norbert Schmidl | Photo: Herbert

Hubert von Goisern prays and yodels in the Festsaal

HvG in IngolstadtIngolstadt. Can't you hear it? No, you can't hear it. Luckily. Since he does not like Koa Hiatamadl as before. Only with the difference from earlier that he also does not play it any more. Because now Hubert von Goisern will also be recognised without his rowdy sing-along sing. And quite rightly so.

He was "weit weit weg", travelling in the world after the end of the Alpinkatzen era. But Hubert aus - excuse me: von - Goisern seems more strongly rooted with his alpine homeland than ever. The best proof is his newest release Trad with exclusively native tunes. "Trad" means "Traditional" for him, like "folk tunes" like "folk wisdom". And he also performs it in his concerts. Far away from the stupid folksy alpine twaddle à la Moik & Co. and yet - or exactly because of that - so natural.

Can't you hear it? A yodel, a "Juchizer" in the midst of the concrete cliff faces of the Ingolstadt Theaterfestsaal, in which Hubert von Goisern must have felt almost as if in his Austrian homeland. The reverberation, or better: the echo, which broke among the concrete stalactites hanging down alarmingly from the ceiling, and which Hubert found fault with down on the stage. Only praying helps, says the protagonist, so that the reverberation goes away. However, "that can take time", just as the fulfilment of his prayer for a Mercedes Benz and at the same time for eternal life or a halo.

Then perhaps indeed a blues number, the musical incarnation of the fundamental Catholic principal according to Hubert von Goisern, "through sorrow to salvation"? Or after the time of suffering, which the sound technician put an end to with near perfect sound quality, world music brought by Hubert von Goisern from his journeys, for example samba style or alpine limbo?

Can't you hear it? Almost the only connection to the Alpinkatzen remaining today. And that is in spite of the indisputable quality of Hubert's ex-band and their many good songs.

David Bowie once coined the sentence: "On the day on which you think you cannot get any better, you begin to always play the same song." If this sentence belongs to the musical branch of universality, then Hubert von Goisern will become even better even if at the moment that seems difficult to imagine. Concrete - it just depends what you do with it. Can't you hear it?

Hubert von Goisern mixes old mountain farm songs with reggae music 2001 | Text & Photo: Sanja Zec

The audience in the sold out Stadthalle go wild with enthusiasm

Hubert von GoisernMarburg. "I didn't understand anything, but the rhythm was good," was the comment of one listener at the concert that Hubert von Goisern gave on Monday evening. Really it was a little trouble to understand the Austrian dialect of the musician, and certainly some people in the sold out Stadthalle were linguistically completely denied one passage or another. But hardly anyone seemed to let this bother them, on the contrary, the hall went wild with enthusiasm.

Before, in 1994, Hubert von Goisern was on everyone's lips: he enjoyed international success with his band the Alpinkatzen, he could sell over one and a half million records at the time. Today, more than seven years later, he has long since departed from his old band, and also from music which is first and foremost organised commercially. At that time, his hit Hiatamadl still resounded from all the radios, so scarcely a song on his current CD Trad seems endowed with hit qualities.

For that reason, Hubert Achleitner alias Hubert von Goisern offers the audience modernly processed traditional mountain farm songs from his homeland as well as reggae and sounds from Africa with which he had become familiar during his creative break in the middle of the nineties.

At his concert in the Stadthalle, Goisern with his four band members was really on the ball from the start, speaking only occasionally to the audience - and if he did, then he philosophised for several minutes about Catholicism, red traffic lights and the bird catchers. The auditorium seemed entertained, had obvious fun with the sarcastic observations by the bandleader and appeared to be anything but deterred by his new musical orientation. But the 49 year old also did his best and proved that apart from the guitar, he also excellently masters the accordion, flute, brass, harmonica and drums.

Finally, there were standing ovations in the Stadthalle. At any rate, after a more than three hour long concert, the people of Marburg still asked for encores, which the Austrian could also not refuse.