Hubert von Goisern


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New sounds from the Alps 2000 | Text: Gunther Matejka

Hubert von Goisern, the founder of alpine rock disappeared for about six years. Six years in which the Alpinkatzen boss from the Tyrolean Bad Goisern made journeys to Africa and Tibet, recorded two ethno albums (Gombe and Inexil), tried out as an actor and found himself again with lengthy walks in the Austrian mountain world. The break was good for Hubert Achleitner, as the tanned nature boy is called according to his passport. His comeback CD Fön is convincing due to great stylistic variety, creativity and playing pleasure. Although Hubert von Goisern experiments in the most different style directions and does not offer a new rehash of his hit Hiatamadl, he can nevertheless satisfy his old friends. The thoughtful, stubborn man justified himself to

Six years ago, you claimed to no longer have any interest in tours and concerts. Now you are back again. What is the reason for your change of mind?

About two years ago it caught me again. I was in Vienna at a Sting concert. It touched me deep inside. I realised that Sting had managed to put people in a better mood with his music. There I knew that I wanted that again too.

So at the beginning there was also the wish to play live again?

That was first of all the most important. But like anyone knows - no tour without a new CD.

The Alpinkatzen are not in on it any more. Why not?

On Fön we play jazz, hip hop, soul, blues, rock - I would have had to force the Alpinkatzen to play such music. For example, the title Mercedes Benz, the Janis Joplin classic. I had already written it eight years ago and tried it out with the Alpinkatzen, but it simply did not work.

Why not?

Quite simply because they could not play reggae.

What music did you listen to before your comeback?

A real assortment. Lots of old things from Bob Marley to Sting, but Queen, Miles Davis and classical too.

You are singing in Tyrolean dialect again - do you nevertheless hope for international regard?

Yes, I wanted to develop and singing and musical style that had something completely of its own. Something that affects people without them understanding every word. Apart from that: even if I had sung in High German there would be scarcely anyone in Australia, Japan or Africa who would understand.

You have already tried it in America with the Alpinkatzen. What was that experience like?

It was super. We played in New York and in Austin and we were really successful. People liked it. But naturally, I also know that America is a hard place, since so many people play there. It's extremely difficult to be noticed there at all.

You were right at the top in 1994. You had hits, played in sold-out halls and were a media darling. What was the reason for the sudden end? The mountain climber knowledge that you can only go down when you have reached the summit?

Yes, perhaps. In any case, I have never regretted finishing. In these six years so many things have happened that have confirmed to me that it was the right decision. I would not have gone to Tibet, to Africa, would not have been able to make any films, or compose any soundtracks, would not have been able to make the acquaintances of the Dalai Lama or the chimpanzee research scientist, Jane Goodall. They were all enormously important experiences for me, which furthered me. Apart from that, at that time, I simply had to come down again, gather peace, strength and ideas and set myself a new goal. The history with the Alpinkatzen drained me, I achieved everything in this context. I could certainly have produced a few more records, but that would have just been a repeat performance.

When everything was suddenly over, didn't you miss the almost daily adrenalin rush and applause?

It was the proper withdrawal symptom. In the first two months after the last appearance, from 8pm to midnight, I was always full of beans and the adrenalin was pumping and I was probably unbearable for my environment.

How did you work it off?

I went for a walk, or met people. But that is not the same. You sense the addictive behaviour of the body, but that also breaks down in the course of time.

With the Alpinkatzen you also kicked off a craze of (partly dubious) imitators. Are you sorry about that?

At the moment where it is about commerce and turnover, the real heart of the matter is lost. Only these shells remain that will be commercialised.

Customs as a design on a buying request.

Exactly. I am sorry about that too. I do not want to be involved in it now.

Could there have been Anton aus Tirol without your pioneering work?

I cannot say. Karl Kraus once said: "In times when the cultural sun is low, dwarves also throw long shadows". And he is right.

In the past months, Austria has been in the stocks politically. Is the timing of your comeback a coincidence?

I simply wanted to be on stage again. But it's right. The circumstances also motivated me to become active again. I know that I cannot correct the picture of Austria abroad, but I can at least supplement it.

How did you feel about the sanctions against Austria? Was it the right stylistic device?

The unpleasant thing was that an anti-EU atmosphere has arisen that was not there before. I think that is a shame. Due to these sanctions the people have moved still closer together, become still more nationalistic. In this respect, it was rather counterproductive.

Goisern is coming

Salzburger Nachrichten 22nd August 2000 | Photos: SN / Christian Sprenger
Bernd Bechtloff and Hubert von Goisern

Atmosphere good. Work almost ready. In a few days, Hubert von Goisern, with producer Wolfgang Spannberger (below right), will have completed his new album. It is released on 6th November. Five years have passed since the Goiserer let himself be heard musically with the live album Wia die Zeit Vergeht and the soundtrack to Schlafes Bruder. At the exclusive SN photo shoot in the studio, Hubert von Goisern only wanted to say so much about the musical direction of the new work: "We are looking for another female yodeller".

Hubert von Goisern: "Love is security and adventure!"

Bild der Frau 2001 | Text: Rudolph Hertel | Photos: Bild der Frau

He composed the music for the film Schlafes Bruder, can yodel, plays at least fifteen instruments from accordion to zither, is an actor - and a super husband and father

Hubert von GoisernHe is a full-blooded musician and intellectual. Fighter against oppression and thirsty for knowledge. Hubert von Goisern (48) loves folk music. But the true original stuff. He mixes the songs our forefathers sang with modern music trends and instruments. With that, clever lyrics in the dialect of the Salzkammergut. For he was born there is Bad Goisern - and Hubert Achleitner also named himself after his hometown. Bild der Frau met the multitalented artist.

Apart from your current CD Fön on which you sing your own songs, there is now Trad. On which there are only old folk songs. What has stimulated you?

I have had the project Trad - meaning traditional - in my head five or six years. The old folk songs are almost holy for me. Because they tell wonderful stories! And they are mostly very simple but masterly melodies. It would be a shame if they were lost. Through this work I also noticed that today too little is sung. Earlier we could draw from a large repertoire of songs if we wanted to sing: folk songs, gospels. Children today scarcely sing.

What is the reason for it?

Last year, I taught at a school in order to find out. I had heard from music teachers that children did not want to sing any more. I saw red! If children say: Maths or English or German does not interest me - but music?! And then I noticed that children wanted to sing what they listened to on the radio. Mambo No. 5 for example. But that is much more complicated to sing than a folk song! Mostly there are not singable melodies, but rather a monotone, things based on three notes. Naturally, that makes singing difficult. What it needs in order to be able to sing is something like a musical ABC - and that is what folk songs are.

You have lived in South Africa and Canada, travelled to Tibet, the Philippines and America - and now you are living in Austria again. Why?

I think the world is simply too beautiful and too diverse for me to have to tie myself to a place just because I was born there. I have spent ten years abroad. But now my children are going to school in Austria. It is probably not good to live somewhere else.

Hubert and SabineYou went to South Africa and Canada with your wife at that time...

I am in my third marriage. My first wife came from Goisern like me, my second wife, Kate, was Canadian. Both relationships lasted seven years. The separations were very painful for all concerned. It is true it was also liberating because you can freely go your own way. But nevertheless we all have the need for certainty. That things remained unchanged.

Love means certainty?

Certainty and security on one hand certainly. But on the other hand, you are also always looking for adventure, something new. Most of the time you must stall one of the two because you cannot have both at the same time. Unless you are totally in the middle. If you experience such a love - security and adventure, then you are enlightened. That is the most desirable!

Adventure and security. What does that mean?

Security is the intensive feeling that you have with people with whom you have been together a long part of the way. But at the same time I need the opportunity for adventure. That is the freedom that I know: I can do something which until now I have never done without everyone around me wanting to talk me out of it.

For example your Tibet journey in 96 where you gave your support against the oppression from China.

Yes. We only have one life and this life is wonderful, valuable. We should make the best of it. Each for himself.

Why is it important for you to marry?

With the first two marriages, the outside conditions were simply such that we had to get married in order to be able to stay together. That is connected with visa and residence authorisation. I have been together with my current wife, Hildegard, for 15 years, our children are now 12 and 7 years old. Two years ago we got married because we wanted to celebrate our relationship with a ritual. With a wedding you confess, make others aware of the relationship.

Sabine + HvGWhat makes your wife so special?

Hildegard is a special school teacher, a gifted teacher. She is simply a completely wonderful woman. We are joined by the knowledge that each has to go their own way through life. That it is not the point to go together. Actually each one is alone. Even if you know someone for fifteen years, you only think you know them. I do not really know what happens to her. We sit at the same table, drink the same coffee, have breakfast - but each one feels their life differently. Sometimes, in completely special moments, one has the chance to see the world through the eyes of others. That is then like lightning, unbelievably enriching.

HvG + Rudolph HertelAffinity?

No, that means that each one has the same view of things. I mean being different, with which there is an exchange. That's how it is with Hildegard and me. Nevertheless I do not know what would happen if I completely fell for another woman. I cannot actually imagine it, but if it happened, I would have to think about whether I want to give up what has meant so much to me for so long. I cannot explain it better. Just as I cannot explain God.

Are you a believer?

I was brought up a Catholic, and if you grow up like that God is always there. But I don't feel as if I belong to any church. Perhaps just because I believe in God. For the churches' picture of God - a pure man, either forgiving or furiously punishing - is not mine. I believe in a power that gives human beings a soul. In a greater consciousness which is not only restricted to the Earth.Hubert von Goisern

Hubert von Goisern

NP 2001 | Text: Matthias Halbig

Hubert von Goisern (47) is back again. "Fön" is one of the most shimmering pop albums of the year.
The Austrian spoke to NP about the pleasure of musical adventure.

Doesn't Austrian dialect bring a level of inhibition for listeners who aren't Austrian?

I don't believe so, I haven't experienced it. In the first place I am a musician and so everything is done at first without words. I can listen to music from Africa and not understand the lyrics. Nevertheless something happens there. Words certainly often only describe the truth and sometimes they are just a hindrance.

Are lyrics second class?

No, I take words very seriously. That is unbelievably stressful for me too. Because it must not become too full. Because there ought to be some space, a place for the listener to add their own experiences to it.

Your voice exceeds the words. Such yearning, tormented yodelling has never been heard before.

I experimented a great deal. That has to be closed to the public. Because I am ashamed, because much of it is unbearable. Sometimes I go to a waterfall and sing there. That is so loud, it goes much deeper than hearing. You don't hear the notes, but you feel the vibrations, the capacity of the voice. It really hurts.

As a young man, you went out into the world because you were not allowed to make your music.

I did not want to rub people up the wrong way, just to go my own way. I have always felt that as "I hurt people" - with long hair, with the electric guitar. And because I did not have the courage to battle on, I went away.

And you have come back.

Because I realised that there are intolerant people all over the world and quite wonderful friends at home.

At the high point with the folk rock music of the Alpinkatzen you applied the brakes. That would have been an affluent machine.

It was a long, hard, eager road to success. I was glad of the pleasure of hurdles. When there weren't any, there was no excitement. And then I want to get away from this straight rock beat. It ought to be funkier, more like soul, Caribbean, mercilessly offbeat. The resistance of the Alpinkatzen was so great that it was unthinkable with them. It was painful to stop, but I am an adventurer. And if someone says to me, "I am not going with you, this way is not for me", I can understand that.

Was the feeling on stage lost?

It would have happened. The stage is my area, where you are 100% in the here and now. There is only the music. It's like climbing a mountain. If you lose your concentration you are in danger of falling.

What does the title of your album Fön stand for?

Fön stands for creativity. Despite an area of low pressure, beautiful weather prevails, you see things very near to you, transparent, but it is also painful, you have to endure it. So it is when you compose and write. Sometimes the pressure is so great that you would like to run away from it.

With the song Kålt you come out against the FPÖ right winger Jörg Haider. What did you feel when the FPÖ came to power?

Disappointed, I was horrified. It had been talked away, explained away. It would not come to that. Then it did. Now I don't want to go on about it so powerfully. If I tell people what they have to do, I put myself on a par with Haider. I want to give them the courage to listen to their inner voice. And trust in a happy ending. Let Haider remain an Austrian Franz Josef Strauß - a problem at state level. And indeed that is bad enough.