Hubert von Goisern

LINZ EUROPE TOUR 2007 - 2009

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When alpine rockers yodel on the Neckar beach ...

Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung 22nd July 2008 | Text: Peter Wiest | Photo: Bernhard Kreutzer

... then it means that Hubert von Goisern has dropped anchor on his "Linz Europe Tour"
- a great concert in a unique setting

Hubert von Goisern & Band

Hirschhorn. Hubert von Goisern has a mission. But he's no missionary: not at all. No, an hour after the start of his concert at the Neckarlauer in Hirschhorn the 55-year-old stands there with the total serenity, routine and composure of a trained musician and talks a little. He tells of the people in eastern Europe whom he met when he was making preparations for the Linz Europe Tour - and the experiences he had, which he can sum up in just one sentence: "Up here we think that they want to take our prosperity from us. And they think that we want the shirt off their back".

That goes deep. And you don't need to say any more, either: mission accomplished. So quickly back to the music: because Hubert von Goisern has a passion too. And he lives it like never before on this unusual Linz Europe Tour, which is taking him on a 77 metre long cargo ship that has been converted to a concert ship along the Neckar, Main and Rhine to Rotterdam - with, to put it mildly, astonishing results.

For two and a half hours Goisern gives a concert of superlatives with a more than solid, in places fantastic band and music that simply cannot be pigeonholed. Should one nonetheless wish to categorise it, one would perhaps have to call it "ethno crossover world music" - or something like that.

Such word monstrosities are of course complete nonsense - and wouldn't come close to describing what Goisern conjures up with his musicians on the planks of the ship. One mustn't try to describe it with words: one must just listen.

Like on Sunday evening, where Goisern's barge attracted perhaps 3000 people, who experienced an extraordinary concert. Just the ambience alone is unique: nearly all the spectators are asking afterwards why there haven't been open air concerts here on the banks of the Neckar before.

When accordion then meets electric guitar, it's not just the man at the front on board the ship who yodels: again and again the alpine audience pitches in. "Showtime" Goisern called out at the start - and with that he doesn't make an empty promise. A couple of old, familiar songs are still there, as well as lots of new ones, most from S'Nix. One blues or another, a fantastic Austro Mercedes Benz - and lots of great solos from guitarist Severin Trogbacher, from the wonderful Bulgarian gadulka, from the master himself, who is a perfect multi-instrumentalist and, aside from the accordion, handles the trumpet like an inveterate jazz musician.

The weather gods can do nothing else and, despite threatening dark clouds, keep the heavens closed on this wonderful evening, on which everything is perfect. It's a shame that things like this don't happen more often in Hirschhorn.

Hubert von Goisern: Live in Hirschhorn - 20th July 2008

28th July 2008 | Photos: © Sarah Marchant

"Xavier Naidoo is part of our crew"

Westdeutsche Zeitung 24th July 2008 | Text: Christoph Forsthoff

Hubert von Goisern sails along the Rhine and makes a stop in Düsseldorf.

Düsseldorf. Alpine rock is intrinsically tied to his name: Hubert von Goisern has combined the traditional songs of his homeland with blues and rock, world music and Caribbean elements. The 55-year-old is someone who for his projects looks to get up close to musicians from other countries. Von Goisern is currently on a ship journey through Europe on his Linz Europe Tour and will be mooring in Düsseldorf on 28th July for a concert with Xavier Naidoo.

What drives a man of the Alps on board a ship?

The curiosity to follow the water. I grew up in the mountains in Bad Goisern and there is a little spring that flows into a stream. The little stream flows into a river, the Traun, and that flows into the Danube, with eventually discharges into the Black Sea - and I've long had this romantic notion of going with the river to see where it finishes up.

But you're now following a kind of "cultural eastwards expansion" with your Linz Europe Tour.

The actual idea of travelling through countries with a ship converted to a concert stage came to me eleven years ago in Africa when I was at Tanganyika Lake and had the idea of having a festival to bring people together, with musicians from all the countries that border that lake. A few years ago it then came to translating the idea, because it seemed to me that there was a pent-up need to get to know people towards the southeast and the Black Sea and to dismantle the fears and resentments.

You're now on the second part of the tour, the west route - what are the differences?

I'm very pleased that I can now say a few words to the people too (laughs) ... because although I am first and foremost a musician, I suffered a bit with not being able to speak to the people on the eastern leg, because I don't speak a Slavic language. And I'm looking forward to collaborations with other artists...

... whom you take on board so you can play with them.

Exactly. Although it's not exactly non-taxing because every artist - including me - has a pretty big ego, otherwise they'd never go on stage. But you have to take a step back with such collaborations - and find this point where you say: now I'll leave the arena to the other person, that's not easy.

Does it ever backfire?

It can at least smoulder until you are able to carry it off. But it's exciting too, because only when you make a collaboration do you really get to know something and see how the other person goes about their music. Then you often hear your own music differently, like with Siagst as for example, with Xavier Naidoo: a good artist simply has a magical way of taking something and making it his own.

You will also be appearing with Naidoo at the concert in Düsseldorf - how did you meet?

I met Xavier Naidoo at a show in Austria and was immediately overcome by his geniality. The way he communicates with his fans from the stage is simply brilliant and you get the feeling of having become a member of his family during the concert.

Critics say he bogs himself down with emotion and his work with bottomless pathos.

The critics who say that have probably never personally had anything to do with this excellent musician. Xavier is one of the guest artists who has best understood the thought behind our project and he lives it with us too. When he came on board the ship he was part of our crew within ten minutes. He has no fear of contact and is simply a wonderful person at heart.

Hubert von Goisern and band with Klaus Doldinger: Live in Heilbronn - 19th July 2008

26th July 2008 | Photo: © Sarah Marchant
Hubert von Goisern and band with Klaus Doldinger

Music under the sign of the dragon

Stimme 21st July 2008 | Text: Leonore Welzin

Even if it was more of a "Listening..." than a "Singing in the Rain", since the musicians were in the dry: the first open air in the harbour was, despite a heavy shower, a complete success. Two globetrotters and excellent musicians at anchor: Hubert von Goisern and band meet Klaus Doldinger's Passport. After 29 stops on the trip along the delta to the Black Sea delta the Linz Europe Tour 2007-2009 concert stage is now sailing west along the Neckar and Rhine. Three thousand people made the pilgrimage to the Austrian alpine rocker's concert.

"So far anywhere we've sung the song Regen, it's not rained," says von Goisern. Fine, it's still spitting. A line like "weather is like love, you must take what comes and wait to see what will come of it" suddenly carries enormous importance. So what will come of this evening? As warm up there is an hour of Doldinger's Passport. Fit as a fiddle The 72-year-old saxophonist trots across the stage as fit as a fiddle, firing up the mood with guitarists and percussionists, calling forth memories of Marrakech and samba rhythms. His famous Tatort music, spun out by the band into a marvellous improvisation drives the excitement to boiling point.

"People are busy holding their umbrellas, so they haven't got a hand free to clap". So the men and women in hoods take care of it. Time to reset the stage and for a quick visit to the toilet, then there he is, the master of mature world music.

With lots accordion and acrobatic yodelling, the former brass musician plays a couple of old and new songs. Then presents his team, some of them in kilts. Along with three swinging shepherdesses the Bulgarian gadulka player Darinka Tsekova is also part of the crew. Von Goisern chats about the experiences on the 7000 kilometre long Danube expedition and the slower approach to life on the converted stage cargo ship.

A high point of the concert under the sign of the dragon, which hangs resplendent as a large motif in the background, is the posthumous bow to Janis Joplin. The rock icon's Porsche-driving friends don't feature in Goisern's adaptation, he's asking God for a halo to go with his Mercedes Benz. The pithy live version shows Goisern's great art as an arranger.

Video picture, flickering lights and stage smoke reflect in the water, on the surface of which raindrops make concentric circles. In front of dark clouds a grey heron flies majestically over the stage towards the town. In the face of so much poetry damp clothes and wet socks are soon forgotten. Thunderous applause for the unique evening.

The world yodeller at the Mittelkai

Reutlinger General-Anzeiger 22nd July 2008 | Text & Photo: Armin Knauer

Concert - Hubert von Goisern sails as a cultural ambassador through Europe and makes a stop in Stuttgart

Hubert von GoisernSTUTTGART. On this Friday evening the storm clouds pile high above Mittelkai 16 outside Obertürkheim. The bottle green Neckar water sloshes up against Hubert von Goisern's concert stage cargo ship, which is moored at the pier to fill an audience, who are gathered in the cargo hall on the quay, with sound. A gurgling arm of the Neckar pushes in between, but the Austrian bridges the distance from the audience with his charisma and his unleashed band.

Barely recovered from illness, the 55-year-old Hubert von Goisern gives his all again. Entering into thrilling duels with his guitarists, helping the backing singers into the life belts and simply amazing his audience in the harbour hall.

The musician has covered thousands of river kilometres with his team, in order to build bridges as an ambassador for Linz, European Capital of Culture 2009. Up and down the Danube, down the Main, up the Neckar. The flotilla now consists of tug boat, stage cargo ship and a floating bungalow outside Obertürkheim and, as ordered, rips the sky apart.

Guest singer Rolf Stahlhofen

But first of all, it's part of the concept that an artist from the region through which they're travelling should come on stage. In this case it's Rolf Stahlhofen, at one time a singer for Söhne Mannheim, a sturdy, bald-headed guy with "a rough shell, soft centre". With catchy German pop he roams the Bermuda Triangle between Xavier Naidoo, Klaus Lage and Hartmut Engler, swearing to the power of love and animating the audience to sing along. It's good and has pep, but set against such an independent thinker as Hubert von Goisern it's still very streamlined.

Von Goisern, now a sailor, soon shows how to flout all conventions with his first number. It emerges as a showdown between rock guitar and button accordion and you're soon tripping head over heels in a merry cocktail of polka and rock, Balkan heat and Afro flair, with which Goisern secures himself a special place in the musical Olympics.

Boisterous yodels take over from pithy guitar riffs, a Bulgarian fiddle mixes with driving rock beats and the master shines variously on a mini tuba, a trumpet and a cow horn. The three backing singers also shine with drums and violins when they're not cutting up mean polkas or performing hula hoops with life belts - a funny sideswipe at their crazy ship tour.

After an hour things become a little calmer. The rasping sound of the Bulgarian fiddle lies over a grooving blues, from the dark centre of which von Goisern lets flash cries like a tomcat in love. And his flugelhorn, which has just been streaming evening splendour, now roars enquiringly like a stuffy elephant.

Von Goisern brings forth laughter with his Austrian version of Janis Joplin's "Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz" - because the Hedelfingen Mercedes factory is just two hundred metres away. But von Goisern concerns himself less with buying cars and much more with wanderlust ("I want to leave!") and returning ("The roads that lead you home") and love. But even in these quiet numbers he remains unconventional, always singing of the longing for something unseizable.

In between von Goisern tells stories of his journey on the rivers, making fun of eastern European laxness and German narrow-mindedness. He remains sceptical as a Euro-ambassador. The EU has given rise to fear in the eastern European countries, bankers, property sharks and company bosses have flushed in - "so that's everything forbidden by God". But the opportunity to travel without sentry gates counterbalances everything for him, the man who is at home everywhere and nowhere.

Then things get really heavy. The violin solos get ever faster, the yodels ever more excessive. You don't see any sign in von Goisern that he's still under the weather and by a hair's breadth would have had to have cancelled the Stuttgart concerts. He still has a lot before him, the tour continues up the Rhine and onwards; then in the coming year a big festival in the Capital of Culture Linz is being planned as the finale.

Hubert von Goisern: Live in Heilbronn - 20th July 2008 23rd July 2008 | Photo: Andreas Veigel
Hubert von Goisern & Band

Hubert von Goisern live in Stuttgart

Kulturwoche 21st July 2008 | Text: Manfred Horak

The Linz Europe Tour 2008 from Hubert von Goisern and his fabulous band continues. The ship is currently chugging through Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. On the 18th July it stopped in Stuttgart harbour, where HvG's showtime delighted a crowd of several thousand.

"A song will lift / As the mainsail shifts / And the boat drifts on to the shoreline / And the sun will respect / Every face on the deck / The hour that the ship comes in", sang Bob Dylan in When the ship comes in, a song about overcoming (political) enemies, realising that things will only get serious when the ship comes in: "Then they'll raise their hands / Sayin' we'll meet all your demands". Politics is also a theme of the Linz Europe Tour led by Hubert von Goisern, who after a short, but all the more serious bout of illness made the ship ready again and gave his best at an exceptionally powerful concert on the 18th July 2008 in Stuttgart harbour. Having sailed east from Vienna to the Black Sea and had there concert experiences, which went towards the album S'Nix, but even more to the DVD Goisern goes East, now going in the other direction is the plan - Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. So away from the improvisations of the tour in the east to the bureaucracy tour in the west, along the Neckar and Rhine to the North Sea, including detours along Belgian and Dutch waterways. And finally back to Linz, along the Rhine, Main, Rhine Main Danube Canal and Danube with the finale in the Capital of Culture Linz 09.

The harbour rocks

The whole team on the ship has long since become a closely-knitted party and the band plays intimately and freely enough with each other that you can justifiably claim to have seen and heard the best Hubert von Goisern band ever. Yes, the band, it really is sensational and consists of Maria Moling (vocals and percussion), Elisabeth Schuen (vocals and violin), Marlene Schuen (vocals and violin), Darinka Tsekova (gadulka), David Lackner (keyboard), Alex Pohn (drums), Helmut Schartlmüller (bass) and Severin Trogbacher (guitar). After the alpine invasion onto the stage, the band rocks through the song Showtime from the current album and once he's arrived in rock, this is where HvG spends the most time. The songs sparkle, interwoven with elegance and rawness, with rough edges, dipping into jazz passages and classical singing, alpine yodelling, Balkan moments and all kinds of reggae rhythms, always dancing and open for the moment. After the turbo power the tempo slows, the breathers bringing softly smoothed ballads from HvG's extensive repertoire, for example probably his best-known ballads Heast as nit and Weit, weit weg, but also more recent ballads like Regen and the hungover jazz ballad Fön.

Those there and us here

HvG was most cheered by the audience when his music touched on Austrian folk music and the singer buckled on his accordion. Excellent during Weltuntergang from S'Nix and his alpine firecracker oben und unten from the 1994 album omunduntn, still a really catchy song par excellence. His adaptation of Janis Joplin's is also tremendously cool, being performed live a good number of degrees hotter than his studio version on Fön. And between all these euphoric, high performances, as mentioned at the start, the political massage - erm, message - was kept in the minds of the thousands at Stuttgart harbour. HvG shared anecdotes from the ship tour that went down to the Black Sea and spoke of the worries and fears of the people, that they are afraid of the EU and of us from the older EU states, because they think that we'll take away from them what little they have. He also told of the beginning of the ship tour through the west and of how the people in Germany are afraid of those in the east and that they will lose their prosperity. And he, who sings about nomads on new paths, told of the enslavement to bureaucracy in the west and the "it'll be fine" mentality in the east - and how important open borders are. The message will be carried further, from harbour to harbour by the ambassador of faith in the good. An impressive tour. You have to see it.

The waterway is the destination

Der Standard 21st July 2008 | Text: Philipp L'Heritier | Photo: DPA

Being fine, playing music together: Hubert von Goisern is now carrying the message of his "Linz Europe Tour"
into Swabia. Understanding between nations rocks!

Hubert von Goisern

Stuttgart - In the cargo port of the capital of Baden-Württemberg, in an area in which the storage areas are inscribed with the rather uninviting labels "metal recycling" or "raw materials & recycling" and where mountains of scrap metal are accordingly piled up, in a little niche near a mooring point, around three thousand people are cheering a concert that is being offered to them from a ship.

Last Friday Hubert von Goisern's Linz Europe Tour 2007-2009 brought him to the city on the Neckar, which was to immediately offer him a really warm welcome. With his freely meandering musical amalgamation between alpine rock and influences blown from all directions in the world, which isn't welcomed with open arms everywhere, the musician from Upper Austria sees himself as a mediator between styles and - above all - between people. For this tour he is travelling the rivers of Europe as a kind of cultural ambassador for Linz, which, like Vilnius in Lithuania, will be the European Capital of Culture in 2009. The noble cause: on numerous stops along his route he acts as an inter-European bridge builder.

A cargo ship, a barge underwent complex conversion, being fitted with a specially designed hydraulic stage, which can be retracted into the ship's belly, sound and light engineering, and - as von Goisern puts it himself - being turned into a "floating village": with kitchen, a spartan living area, built-in sanitation and a huge dining table, as a quasi heart and centre of gathering and exchanging.

The tour is split into two ten-week stages: in 2007 the journey led von Goisern and his 30-strong team of band, technicians and ship's crew, who live on board for the duration of the project, eastwards along the Danube to the Black Sea. With support from guest musicians from the various regions they played in towns in Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania. The idea of the project is that the collaborating artists spend a few days on board with the team before their show, developing a joint programme with von Goisern's band.

Of course something can be found in musical beginnings between orientally-coloured pop, "ethno punk" à la Goisern, or the feverish brass music of the Bulgarian band Karandila. As von Goisern puts it on this evening in Stuttgart, it needs to be about "find what we have in common and living it without levelling out the differences, each person's peculiarities".

Drive from behind

On this evening in Stuttgart, von Goisern's presentation levers out any cynicism: his speeches are humorous and behind him he has a really great, very young band driving powerfully in the direction of rock behind him. In terms of their high spirits in playing the violin, singing and all their clatter, it's a band you would more expect to see at a concert from the exuberant Canadian combo The Arcade Fire than in action conserving tradition. This year's leg of the tour will be taking the ship westwards to Cologne, Brussels, Antwerp and Rotterdam until the end of August, supported by the great calibre of entertainers such as Xavier Naidoo, BAP and the Belgian band Zap Mama.

The finale will take place in the namesake town of the project, Linz: From 3rd to 5th July 2009, the year in which the Upper Austrian capital will also be the European Capital of Culture, - if everything goes to plan - a harbour festival is to bring Hubert von Goisern and band together again with all the musicians and allies they met during the course of the tour, in order to once more support the great European cultural exchange in the best celebratory way.

Hubert von Goisern: Live in Stuttgart - 18th July 2008

23rd July 2008 | Photos: © Elli Christl

Changes in the weather on the ship of sound

Stuttgarter Zeitung 19th July 2008 | Text: Michael Werner

"Duliei, Jodleiridldudieiourie!" - Hubert von Goisern and his band dock in Stuttgart harbour

Behind are cranes and scrap, further back are gardens. Ahead, on the river, the concert ship. Hubert von Goisern's floating stage in the Stuttgart harbour could be a hallucination if this man in his mid-fifties from the Salzkammergut hadn't worked so valiantly for decades on making his vision a reality. The fact alone that this ship is in the harbour is a triumph of fantasy.

The ship projects crystal clear sound to the bank, where on Thursday a thousand and on Friday two and a half thousand people were given a musical injection against gloom. As a spectator you don't see the otherwise usual tour buses of rock music, all the lorries. Hubert von Goisern's ship however symbolises moving on, while wonderful musicians on board celebrate the closeness. It's hard to take without an injection. But with the way Hubert von Goisern handles it, it is a uniquely touching experience.

"You're now so far, far away, so far, far, away from me. It's hurts me and how", he sings in the son Weit, weit weg, a song that is 16 years old, but as if tailor-made for this tour, which has been brewing inside him for a long time. He sings the song as the penultimate encore, staging it as a moving catapult of desire. And as the excellent Severin Trogbacher lets his guitar cry without restraint, Hubert von Goisern is right there. At the end comes Heast as nit: "The young have grown old and the old have died. Duliei, Jodleiridldudieiouri!" Now the anchor can be raised. Hubert von Goisern's songs have always grooved in harmony with the vital cycles of life.

In consistence with this he opens the fantastic harbour concert with the song Solide Alm from his very first album, which put him in the position twenty years ago to thenceforth let others share in his sensual experiences. Totally alone he plays the accordion, it sounds as though a storm is brewing and then the band join in and a moment later you are acoustically soaked.

Then it's Showtime. This song is very new, on the one hand it is seductively foreign and on the other it is very familiar. Musically it represents what the heavens are giving people to cope with, while the lyrics are about their strength. Showtime is a hurricane in the harbour, one of the many that the exceptional drummer Alex Pohn heats up in the most creative ways.

Hereafter, in the similarly brand new song Auseinandertreiben the three singers Marlene Schuen, Elisabeth Schuen and Maria Moling stretch a wonderful canopy of sound over Hubert von Goisern's indefatigably confrontational rap.

When the boss, who has only just recovered from flu, yodels he makes this canopy himself. By contrast when he sings he either furiously tears down any kind of protection, or slips touchingly inside. Die Liab is one such song, a meditation in the middle of the hurricane, making it easier for when the wind threatens to blow you away. Von Goisern is totally present in such moments and holding onto those buffeted by the storm.

Then he steps back into the background as musical circus director - at times appealingly awkwardly - to give his musicians space. What spray from the Danube the gadulka player Darinka Tsekova pours into the Neckar and what bass player Helmuth Schartlmüller and keyboarder David Lackner lay out for your attention to illustrate all Hubert von Goisern's highly musical changes in the weather is almost enough on its own to make people happy. But Hubert von Goisern's overflowing musicality this evening is enough to take your breath away. He could drown in the crowd's enthusiasm. He will continue.