Hubert von Goisern


HAUT UND HAAR >> Interviews

Travelling needs no luggage

Wienerin June 2009 | Text: Johanna Jenner

He who doesn't move off, doesn't come home: Hubert von Goisern can tell you a thing or two about that. In the WIENERIN interview the globetrotter talks about what he learned from Filipino headhunters and why he prefers to travel with an empty rucksack.

You have lived in Canada, crossed the Alps, hitchhiked through Asia and have played music in many corners of the world. Your new live album is called Haut und Haar. Are you a complete (with "skin and hair") nomad?

Yes. But it's the flesh that one says is slow-acting. I'm not as good at the nomadic life as I used to be.

Which of your journeys has shaped and changed you the most?

My last big journey. I lived with headhunters in the Philippines for four months and got to know an archaic culture, without electricity, television or radio. Away from civilisation you can take an educational look at your own life.

What did you learn?

I experienced music anew. I experienced what it means when there isn't a constant tootling from the radio or the loudspeakers in the supermarket. In the tribe in the Philippines music only happens when it is consciously played, when the village community gathers and plays together. We often sang to each other. They showed me their songs, I showed them Austrian folk songs. A great deal of communication and getting to know each other took place through music. I often thought: this is how it must have been before ...

Do you listen to the radio at all?

If I do, then it's only talk programmes. I don't have to turn on any music to hear music. It's continually within me. I constantly hear melodies - triggered by what is around me. It can be a car's indicator, raindrops or the noise in the tram. All noises have a harmony when you listen to them. I take in what is around me and hum. Until I notice that people on the bus are looking at me funny.

Does travelling sharpen your senses?

Stepping into a foreign environment means that things don't run as automatically as they do at home. And so the senses are certainly sharpened. But travelling also dusts off the senses. Travelling means ridding yourself of the routine of the everyday and being free to take things in.

What do you take with you in your rucksack when you travel?

Ideally nothing. Anyone who travels with a full rucksack has no room to add anything new. But it's also helpful to travel with a mentally full rucksack and from time to time to leave the residual waste lying at the wayside.

Having wanderlust and being connected to your homeland. Does that work?

Yes, for me love of home is like love of the world and of life. Home gains depth only through leaving. I came home from a tour in the spring and the trees were blossoming. I might not have felt it so intensely if I'd been at home the whole time.

Which journey is coming next?

Mid-August, after my tour, I'll be taking a long break. But I don't have to go away for that. Going up the mountains is a journey for me too.