Hubert von Goisern

LINZ EUROPE TOUR 2007 - 2009

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You don't feel time

Salzburger Nachrichten 25th November 2006

Hubert von Goisern wants to put together a band and compose. There's no time. There are still issues of organisation for his "Linz Tour 2007/2009" project to clear up. He has stress, "but a pleasant stress, because it looks like it will become something".

Instead of leading the comfortable life of a successful musician, time and again you set off on expeditions, whose outcomes are very uncertain. What is it that drives you out?

It is a desire for adventure, which in the concrete example of the Linz tour, couples with the idea of becoming acquainted with south east Europe and its people. It's an area about which I know barely anything.

How did you come up with this idea?

The idea arose when I was fishing ...

Fishing? You don't have to concentrate much there to catch something.

Yeah. But you have lots of time if nothing bites. Then the thoughts start flowing.

This stream of thought then emerged as the idea of a three year tour on the Danube?

It's actually an idea for the Tanganyika Lake in East Africa, around which many nations live, who - let us put it carefully - don't get on especially well. I was there ten years ago and thought then, it would be great to approach all the countries with a ship. On board should be music groups from each country and we would give concerts. But it's even more complicated to do something like that in Africa than it is here. Last year when I was fishing on the Danube, the idea then came of realising such a project in Europe.

On the Danube you have to cover a distance about a hundred times the Dachstein, a local mountain in Bad Goisern, is high. You think that the Dachstein is "beautiful and challenging". So why must it be a completely new terrain?

Well I don't have to go anywhere. I just always have the feeling: but I still want to do that, because I can't judge what is there. The unknown is more enriching than the known. And when I set about something like that, I don't think for long beforehand about whether it will be stressful or what resistance there can be.

But that's a halfway naïve thought for such a major project.

Right. And then I also think: do I need all that? There's super weather at home. I could stand up on a mountain peak. Instead I'm acting like a fool. You're never free of strife and self-doubt.

So why do you still do it to yourself?

When everything is carbonised, sometimes a big, sometimes a small diamond remains from the journeys, which sparkles and glistens. I then remember more the people, than what we have done exactly. The knowledge that there are people here and there in the world, who are well-disposed towards me - that's enough to make you feel good.

No disappointments?

I lean towards glorifying things in retrospect. But there are certainly disappointments because you always set off full of hopes and expectations.

How do the people at the water differ from those in the mountains?

There are many similarities. Both landscapes certainly carry dangers, even if you often don't appreciate them because of the beauty. While travelling I have found that there is a great seriousness and serenity with those people who have to live directly with the dangers of nature, and an approach that says: it is the way it is.

Whereby we would be once more with chance and the unpredictability of fishing.

I think it's a school of life. Everyone is constantly learning and must draw the consequences from it. In the urban environment it is certainly a different feeling of being alive from the rural area. I'm fortunate that I have brought together a mix. So arises perhaps the drive to constantly feel that there is still something where one wants to go.

Is there a difference between when you travel professionally as a musician, or as a private person?

When I travel alone, I can deal with all adversities more easily. You can adapt easily.

Does such an "easy adaptation" keep up with a strategy such as has been required by the Linz tour or your other concert journeys?

Not always. I want everything to work, that we have good places at which to appear, that the general conditions are right.

The movement on water is in any case more comfortable than that of mountain-climbing.

Especially when you travel downstream. No-one has to exert themselves. You have the feeling that you're standing there and the world is moving past you. You don't feel time. It's something that immensely fascinates me.

But you have left your own tracks behind in doing so, haven't you?

I could certainly make it simple for myself and just travel the region, wander through it, or put myself in canoe. But it's like a gift that I am able to reach people with music, whom I can never reach with words.

That means that one doesn't do such a project totally in a haphazard way - like fishing.

Exactly. I'm success-oriented with fishing. But I've too often failed to catch anything to still think: it has to work now, something has to bite. I've known for a long time: it doesn't have to. And it was then nevertheless a nice day.

But many things can't be planned with even the best organisation.

I think that's exciting and important. I think that if you knew exactly what was coming to you with everything you tackled, then many things would not be as they are in our world.

Linz 09: Music becomes a common language

Radio FRO 30th October 2006 | Report: Nicole Erl

A report about the Linz Europe Tour, for which the Upper Austrian musician Hubert von Goisern will give concerts along the Danube on a converted ship and will also invited local musicians to appear with him. The route of the project in the framework of the European Capital of Culture Linz 09 will lead to both East and West Europe.

Speaking: Vice mayor Erich Watzl, Linz09 intendant Martin Heller and Hubert von Goisern.

Radio FRO report (available as stream or download)

Hubert von Goisern's ark

OÖN 31st October 2006

In summer 2007 Hubert von Goisern will set off with a ship converted to a stage on a cultural Danube expedition between the Black Sea and North Sea. The "Linz Europe Tour" is a project for the Capital of Culture 2009.

When did the idea come to you?

1996, when I was in East Africa at the Tanganyika Lake, which is 1000 kilometres long and 70 kilometres wide. Around it live many people and at least their politicians don't get on well.

I thought it would be super to take on board a ship a music group from each nation, to play in the harbours so that the people can get to know each other. I'm still working on it, but it's politically even more complicated than doing something in Europe. Then a year ago came the idea to realise this project on the Danube.

What does the element of water mean to you?

I like water. It carries. I also like it as snow, as ice, only when there's too much is it not so good.

What do you expect from the project?

It's a totally egotistical attitude: I want to get to know south east Europe, the region, the people, the music, their food, to develop my understanding of it. It's about extending my circle of friends.

You don't want to disembark for three months?

It's so great being on a ship. It's like a floating village. You are always at home and yet in a different place every day. It is a very different feeling of being alive and the people, who live along the Danube are different from those who live 30, 40 kilometres away from it.

What attracts you to the south east European culture?

That it is unfamiliar to me. And nevertheless I feel and know that there are unbelievable musicians there, who have an almost daunting virtuosity.

You want to jump boundaries?

Dismantle them. The boundaries are only in one's head. When you look at the landscape, you don't see that something stops there and something else begins. I may make a contribution to people coming closer together and to the deconstruction of fears that only come from ignorance.

Do you see yourself as an ambassador for Upper Austria?

I do feel like that. I want everybody to take the opportunity to get an idea of us via the music.

Hubert von Goisern: Linz Europe Tour 2007 - 2009

30th October 2006 | Photo: © Linz09

Martin Heller and Hubert von Goisern

In 2009 Linz will be a European capital of culture. The energy and possibilities offered by this great task and opportunity are now being linked together with the unusual plans of Upper Austrian musician Hubert von Goisern - the Linz Europe Tour. Hubert von Goisern will start on his journey from Linz in Spring 2007: firstly to eastern Europe, then to the West and finally - full of new experiences - back to Linz.

Linz 2009 is proud and excited about this collaboration with Hubert von Goisern; manager Martin Heller describes him as an "authentic and rich artistic individual, free from any cliché." And: "From the very beginning there was an unbelievable and essential energy surrounding this project among all concerned and a feeling of necessity - the best prerequisite for a successful and mutually stimulating cooperation."