Hubert von Goisern


TRAD II TOUR 2004 >> Concert Reviews: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

"Exorcists" of the burden of tradition

Badische Zeitung 30th March 2004 | Text: Michael Baas

Hubert von Goisern with his folk song project in the Burghof

Hubert von Goisern

Lörrach. The last warning came after the fifth piece: the programme contains only folk music, Hubert von Goisern revealed to his audience in the sold-out Burghof. Those who don't like it could now take to their heels - and von Goisern would probably understand it. After all, he himself once cultivated reservations and reluctance towards folk music, preferring to listen to the Beatles, The Who or Coloseum.

The subject is without a doubt smooth terrain: loaded with ideological ballast beneath the surface, full of shoals and undreamt-of pitfalls - like de Gamserln, a favourite song of Adolf Hitler's, which came into the repertoire without that being known and stayed there. After all, Hubert Achleitner from Bad Goisern is catholically socialised and therefore familiar with the "concept of exorcism", as he admitted.

This exorcism is to a certain extent the method of the programme: for his Trad II project, with which he is on tour for a good month, the cosmopolitan from the alpine valley has dug up yodels, marches, country dances, and folk dances from the triangle of the Salzkammergut, Styria and Upper Austria: parts of his life history, which he interprets in a new way without the folky patina.

He became known in the 90s as a dialect rocker with the Alpinkatzen, as an ethno rocker he toured through the country with the Egyptian Mohamed Mounir and in 2003 was also at the Stimmen festival. Now a further moult of the multi-instrumentalist is to be seen: a type of back to the roots. "These melodies are something like the original substance of my musical expression, my ABC of notes," says von Goisern. The five member band (and a couple more) produced the majority of the material in a deserted mountain hotel on the Dachstein plateau - in a seclusion which lets you become a "little autistic".

But the music does this "autism" good: von Goisern (vocals, accordion, harmonica, guitar, trumpet) and his companions Max Lässer (strings), Bernd Bechtloff (drums and percussion), Monika Drasch (violin, bagpipes, vocals) and Arnulf Lindner (basses) show that folk music can be more than German drinking dances, thigh-slapping and Bavarian folk dances.

The arrangements are highly creative and have something of a Tom Waits of the Eastern Alps. The sound of a slide guitar is combined with the accordion, yodel with electronic drum loops, the accordion used a "breathing" percussion instrument, blues, rock and Latin elements are interspersed or a love song with experimental sounds, jazz harmonies and a trumpet played in the style of Don Cherry all become a listening pleasure.

It is embedded in stories which renounce all mainstream and reveals that ironic-reserved course, which the Austrian always had ahead of the Germans, and who recognises romance with a clear view as the preliminary stage of depression.

At the end are a good three hours of music and three encores. And if sometime soon yodellers are seen at the motorway bridges of the A98 between Weil am Rhein and Rheinfelden, they have internalised these tips from the concert. Because yodelling is best learned where you can't hear yourself, von Goisern explains in one of the anecdotes he throws in. He, he continued, needs 35 years and this trick in order to overcome his reservations towards yodelling. Now he can build bridges, reconcile the old with the new, kindle the fire which glows in tradition and also inflame an audience in which there were individuals who had probably expected rather more alpine rock avalanches at the beginning.

Goosebump music with yodels and country dances

Deggendorfer Zeitung 29th March 2004

Hubert von Goisern and band play folk music in the sold out Stadthalle

Deggendorf (she). The interest in Hubert von Goisern's appearance in the Stadthalle on Friday was great. The tickets were gone in 0.0 seconds - and most then presumably did not know that Monika Drasch would be part of the band. The appearance was a home game for the former member of the Bairisch Diatonischer Jodelwahnsinn from Hub bei Hengersberg. On the previous evening, the band played before three times as many people in the Munich Philharmonie. The sold out Stadthalle held barely 1000 people.

As is well known, the new CD Trad II came to life on the Krippenstein at more than 2000m above sea level. Evidently Goisern wanted to bring this atmosphere close to the concert visitors. On the stage at least it looked like this: on the left a sign to the Mittelstation, on the right the sign to the Hirzkarersee. There was even the view to the Dachstein massif as a bonus. Right in the middle of it, Goisern and he told of mocking yodels, of the difference between sisters-in-law and dairymaids, the semolina dumpling and the liver dumpling and how Kohler became the title for a yodel. Then followed song after song and you wondered how Goisern managed to practically newly invent these folk songs in next to no time. How does he do that? He mixes accordion, violin, drums and bass with the slide guitar, mandolin or bagpipes (funny: Monika Drasch), brings in another tempo, another rhythm and already it's happened. With the help of the lap steel guitar, a country dance sounds almost as relaxed as a song from the American West Coast, or as exotic as a melody from Nepal.

Goisern calls the folk music "goosebump music" and he's right. After all, an evening with almost exclusively country dances and traditional folk songs is an experiment that could also fail. But it doesn't. The mostly more mature audience are enthused by the music, the fans clap, many know the songs, giggle about Goisern's dry comments. Monika Drasch, who is a real win for Hubert von Goisern, works as a wonderful accompaniment with her bilious green violin, clarinet, flute, bagpipes and above all her beautiful voice. It is just a shame that she does not sing a solo piece. The show lasted almost three hours. As an encore, Goisern sings Hiatamadl, a great conclusion, a lovely gesture.

Hubert von Goisern: Live in Munich - 25th March 2004

28th March 2004 | Photos: © Elli Christl

The art song of the mountains

Süddeutsche Zeitung 26th March 2004 | Text: Karl Forster

Hubert von Goisern with Trad II in the Philharmonie

To the left it goes to the Mittelstation, to the right to Hirzkarersee. Above a signs warns of mountain pine fires, beneath on the Philharmonie stage a man in white conducts the great bewitchment of the audience. This bewitchment seems so easy and yet is so difficult. "You don't," Hubert von Goisern says, "need to understand the lyrics at all, you just need to think of your own stories for them."

And as if all the mountain spirits of this world are flying through the room, peaks and valleys appear, glaciers and mountain pastures, chamois and yaks and llamas and marmots and grow to a unique fantastic paradisiacal mountain landscape. Just because someone in front is singing "Hollaräduioh".

Hubert von Goisern has made his CD Trad II the centre of the current tour, a work which was recorded in a deserted mountain hotel at 2100m above sea level and breathes the spirit of the place. Here the world-travelled multi-instrumentalist and sound collector has gone further on his way with his own feeling of sound and with great precision and has combined traditional music material from country dances, gstanzls, folk dances and yodels with his own musical ideals. Beautiful, good, wonderful.

But offering this highly sensitive mixture of kitsch and art as a concert is a tightrope walk, whose riskiness can only fail to frighten a Dachstein-experienced man like Hubert von Goisern.

No cliché is left out. The chamois black and brown, the poacher and the hunter, the dairymaid, even if she's called a Schwoagrin here, and of course the original sins, which are inherent in many folk songs, at times crudely, at times hidden. But Monika Drasch with her own musical presence on the violin, at the microphone and much more, the sensitive bass player Arnulf Lindner, Bernd Bechtloff as the singing drummer and Max Lässer on a variety of guitars and similar (pestered by technology now and then), they all wove a multi-ethnic carpet of sound in dozens of colours, on which the master flew through his musical worlds and took his (naturally faithful) audience on the journey.

There are only a few harmonies, usually in six-eight time, which had to be enough for two and a half hours. But through the subtlety in the arrangement - here a little blue note, there the suggestion of an unusual change, there a rhythmic shift - these simple pieces get drive and groove and become timeless art songs.

And whoever closes their eyes, before them grow all the mountains of the world into a dream picture, painted only with music. Oh yes, there was Hiatamadl as an encore. That fitted too.

Hubert von Goisern: Live in Linz - 24th March 2004

28th March 2004 | Photos: © Elli Christl

Hubert played beautifully

Sächsische Zeitung 15th March 2004 | Text: Jonas Grashey

Freely translated: Hubert von Goisern hat sehr gut gespielt (Hubert von Goisern played very well)

"Before my concerts you must read up, like before an Italian opera," Hubert von Goisern recommends to the 800 listeners in the Alten Schlachthof on Sunday evening. When the neo-folk musician from the Austrian Salzkammergut begins to talk in broad dialect, devout silence prevails.

Von Goisern, born in Bad Goisern and actually Achleitner by name, does not miss this: "In Dresden, people are so quiet and attentive, it's almost uncanny. I really like that." Relieved to have understood something, the audience laughs and listen to the sounds of the albums Trad I and II.

Old traditions developed

Goisern's five member combo at the same time mixes traditional things with the new. The electric guitar with yodelling, the violin with diverse exotic percussion instruments, which Goisern himself does not know what they are called - "everything that rattles. Biscuit tins and so on."

Without traditional rags, the alpine rocker is an agreeable alternative to the comrades who try to mouth to music from a tape in the different Musikantenstadls. He also clearly distances himself from them and asks: "How do you want to develop a tradition when you concrete it in?" He himself worked, above all in the 90s, on his music, being inspired on journeys to Africa and Tibet.

The lyrics retain their characteristic simplicity, traditional things are transported in the sounds of his modern music. A passage from the song Eiszapfen: "Znagst han i die ganze Nacht Eiszapfen brennt, koan Mensch hats nit kennt, dass koane Wachskerzen send". Into German: "Zunächst habe ich die ganze Nacht Eiszapfen angezündet, kein Mensch hat bemerkt, dass es keine Wachskerzen sind." (Recently I burned icicles the whole night, nobody noticed, that they weren't candles.)

Goisern then says to such verses: "In everyday dialogue there are also things which you understand, but actually you don't." For more than three hours Goisern's band entertained with such nonsense from the foothills of the Alps and with excellent instrumental control. Goisern's accordion and harmonica interludes and his crystal clear voice showed that folk music does not have to be sleep-inducing droning from ranked make-up shells.

Although at the beginning he had his doubts: "70 concerts with just folk music - that can also become just a burden. Not for you, but for us." Dresden was number 16. "That's your good luck. At the beginning we haven't become cynical yet."

Hubert von Goisern: Live in Dresden - 13th March 2004

17th March 2004 | Photos: © Elli Christl

Bard from Austria plays folk music of a different kind

Mitteldeutsche Zeitung 17th March 2004 | Text: Hendrik Kranert | Photo: Chris Wohlfeld

51 year old musician presents new record in sold out Jena Volkshaus

Hubert von Goisern

Hubert von Goisern knows to value the historic towel, which fans threw to him on stage in Jena

Jena/MZ. The man torments the accordion like rock stars their electric guitars. At beginning as shadows behind the screen - just like a rock star. But he modestly calls himself a folk musician: Hubert von Goisern. The Jena Volkshaus is sold out as the 51 year old Upper Austrian (from Bad Goisern, that's why the "title") plays the piano to present his record Trad II. "Traditionals," says Goisern ironically, "Folk tunes, understand?!" Clearly those who go to Goisern understand, not expecting any folksy droning from the Moik-like barn. "Because folk music has something threatening in its exclusiveness," says Goisern. And he does not want to be exclusive.

The man doesn't disappoint: Of course Hubert von Goisern, who is actually called Achleitner, yodels and of course he plays his accordion. But steel guitar, mandolin, bagpipes and an unbelievable number of percussion instruments leave you in no doubt that Goisern was on a world trip before he clambered up the 2100m high Krippenstein many time together with his - in Jena excellently tempered - band and equipment, in order to record the album.

In a disused hotel, far from civilisation. Trad II has certainly turned out calmer because of that, the audience must now sit. Back then, when the Alpinkatzen were still around, that would have been unthinkable. In the 1990s, Hubert von Goisern had revolutionised alpine music with his band and even caused a sensation overseas. But at the peak of success, he disbanded the group without further ado and travelled to Africa and Asia to be inspired by folk music there.

But the singer and globetrotter did not abstain from old hits like Iawaramoi in Jena either. Folk music, at time political. Goisern swiftly brought the lyrics up-to-date, not just Serbs and Croats shot and die, "Araber und Jud', ich und du" ("Arabs and Jews, me and you") too. He also strives very seriously to take back the Goisern dialect, which can be barely understood seven kilometres away in Bad Ischl.

But he also gives lessons at times in Upper Austrian dialect and explains the Dadaist lyrics of semolina and liver dumplings who are fighting. Otherwise the slogan applies: listen and simply put something together right. Folk music can be so beautiful.

Hubert von Goisern: "Wer das braune Bier nit mag..."

Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten Online 15th March 2004 | Text: Christian Ruf

HvGWell, he didn't have to speak "nicely", Hubert von Goisern from the Salzkammergut was allowed to deal with his appearance in the completely sold-out Schlachthof on Sunday in fairly authentic alpine dialect. You would probably even wince if he, mainly known as a musical refining artist of alpine folk music, started speaking high German. You mainly understand him, in any case during the short statements he makes, in which he explains, among other things, that the Ausseers, that is the residents around Aussee in the Salzkammergut are very nice, but "pig-headed" and would like to announce that "they are not Austrian at all". Once in a while Goisern also explains one or two important words. In the song D'Schwoagrin, it's not about a Schwägerin (sister-in-law), but about the occasional inhabitants of a Schwoag (one of the many words for alpine pasture), who looked after the cows and calves up there.

In the end it did not matter what you understood or didn't. Goisern himself warned that the lyrics are not always arranged so that they make sense and gave the tip to find your own story when listening. Indeed, must you know what happens when semolina dumpling and liver dumpling don't get along with each other? In any case, the song Stadltür was really great, having what it takes to be a kind of secret hymn of diverse dark beer drinkers, saying in the first verse: "Wer das braune Bier nit mag / der kommt in das kühle Grab / i mecht aber krank nit sein / Kellnerin, schenk ein" ("Whoever doesn't like brown beer / he's going to a cold grave / but I don't want to be ill / waitress, give me one").

It was a folk music evening of a different style, comparatively calm and melancholy. But naturally it still goes unusual and straight to the crunch with enough songs, alpine folklore was mixed with blues and rock, which made those present from the folk music faction go out of their minds. Goisern, who travelled again and again for months at a time through Tibet and Africa, in order to discover as yet unknown sides of music for himself and in himself, to develop fusions, to experiment, still wants to play everything else which is kept under a glass cover and "encased in concrete" as folk music. The traditionalists among the lovers of folk music, who are not only in the Salzkammergut, but from Goisern's experience, in Senegal too, could of course not do much with this attitude. But they were not in the auditorium either.

Musically, the appearance barely left any wishes open, which was also down to Goisern's four exquisite accompanying musicians. What was acoustically drawn from the drums and "double woks", violin and above all of course, the accordion, satisfied tone upon tone. Goisern even played the trumpet, although he once said in an interview that he has never been good at it. But lo and behold, it was alright after all. The musician didn't display the classical upright posture of Mross's trumpet playing, but it was live nevertheless.

Yodel king rocks with pep and irony

Westdeutsche Zeitung 13th March 2004 | Veronika Pantel

Hubert von Goisern: folk music in the Forum

Wuppertal. Kohler, Stadltür and D'Schwoagrin - titles from a new series of Musikantenstadl? Anything but: Hubert von Goisern made a stop on his tour in the sold-out Forum. What the founder of alpine rock had to offer was to do with folk music, but not folksiness at all.

He has fulfilled a long cherished wish with the songs of his CDs Trad I and II, "to record dusted off songs I am very fond of". It sounds wild, coarse and ribald at the same time, but also soft and melancholy, without reaching the borders of kitsch. Because von Goisern saves his arrangements from that, by jazzing them up contemporarily. He does deny respect for what has been handed down, very much in the spirit of Gustav Mahler, for tradition is "the passing on the fire, not the worship of the ashes".

At the side of the musical multitalent stand full-blooded musicians, Max Lässer (strings), Bernd Bechtloff (drums), Arnulf Lindner (bass) and Monika Drasch (violin, vocals) who carry and bring over the richly exciting conflict of down to earth alpine folklore with blues, rock and pop elements.

You wonder that the enthused fans remain sitting there so well, only carefully tapping their toes and almost furtively beating the rhythm on their thighs. Because lots would probably like to do Bavarian dances and rustic stamping about, because the music is stirring in its fascinating primitiveness.

When he associates with the trace of fine irony, which Hubert von Goisern so splendidly knows how to use, there's no holding him back: "folk music has such an unbelievable potential for depression, which is music in inbreeding, it goes to your mind." But then he lets rip again with unrestrained desire at the simple rhythm and with tremendous yodelling talent.

Mind you, Hubert Achleitner from Bad Goisern can't communicate with the audience in A Goiserer Jaga, a hunter song, with a mocking yodel, although it is quite simple: The people from Wuppertal failed their yodel diploma!

Unrestrained yodelling and applause from the wrong corner

Göttinger Tageblatt 11th March 2004 | Text: Peter Krüger-Lenz | Photo: pek

Hubert von GoisernHubert von Goisern is a wanderer between the worlds. He is one of the founders of alpine rock, later emigrated to world music, composed the film music for Schlafes Bruder and is now back again. At his concert in the Kassel Stadthalle on Wednesday evening, he above all played traditional folk music.

A breath of mountain hut evenings went through the Kassel Stadthalle. Von Goisern wore a red checked shirt for yodels and juchitzers. "I've never been here before," he called to the Kassel audience in the well-filled hall: "Every day I play somewhere I haven't been."

Hubert von Goisern, a nobleman who devoted himself to the folk music of his Austrian homeland? Nonsense. Hubert is simply called Achleitner and comes from Bad Goisern in the Salzkammergut. His stage name is down-to-earth, and the music on his new CD Trad II, which he above all plays during his current tour is also just as down-to-earth. And he brings the world together with it.

In the audience sit mainly people of around 50, whose rocky past you can see. But fans who have specially dressed up in all kinds of traditional costume also appear. Von Goisern gets them all.

There is a lot of yodelling during the programme, passionately too, which is above all characterised by respect for tradition. Of course, the Goiserer introduces electrically amplified instruments. Of course he newly arranges all the old pieces.

Now and then, the 52 year old builds in instruments which give the pieces a breath of the South Pacific. He interprets the "simple, but masterly songs" "respectfully and full of relish" as he himself assesses - and sometimes unrestrained. Because: "You must be unrestrained with yodelling." So: alpine folklore in its best and only tolerable form.

Von Goisern is accompanied by fine musicians, like the multi-instrumentalist Monika Drasch, with whom he fought out a high-energy yodel duet. Or Max Lässer, who operated a barely manageable number of stringed instruments in the background. But finally von Goisern also has something to say, where you notice that applause sometimes comes from the wrong corner.

Thus he philosophised a little about stepping out of history and the possibility of saying: "I have nothing more to do with the crimes of 60 years ago." The applause of some audience members disturbed him a little. Because: nobody can live without the past, so goes his credo.

"Goodbye, good night. That was great," von Goisern calls to the standing, applauding crowd after some encores. You're right, Hubert.

Everything liver dumpling, or something

Frankfurter Neue Presse 9th March 2004 | Text: Walter Fischer

Alpine rocker Hubert von Goisern made a guest appearance in the Frankfurt Alten Oper

A couple of years ago he played in the Hugenottenhalle in Neu-Isenburg. This year Austrian music in Hubert von Goisern's treatment was ennobled through an appearance in Frankfurt's Musentempel.

It's a bit tricky with folk music, particularly in Germany. Heino takes care of German songs, and the Wildecker Herzbuben link arms and sway comfortably from Musikantenstadl to Musikantenstadl. Then we still have Hannes Wader, Zupfgeigenhansel and Ougenweide, who all strove for German folk songs - but perhaps just too much.

You barely find the ironical ease with which Hubert von Goisern deals with the music of his Austrian homeland here in Germany. He does not even look for depth content-wise; it does not matter to him if he sings about "semolina dumplings" or "liver dumplings". Especially in the lyrics, Hubert von Goisern recognises a close relationship between folk music and Dadaism. What should you think when he sings about an old musketeer, who "plays his double bass" "behind the barn door", but "it has no strings"? After all, the Austrian yodel has a long Dadaist tradition: "Huidiridulie" or "hollere diri diri-dulio" - how could such sound creations be exceeded by a Dadaist poet?

Hubert von Goisern, himself a multi-instrumentalist, has gathered exquisite musicians around him: Bernd Bechtloff on drums, Arnulf Lindner on bass and the red-haired Monika Drasch on the bright green violin. As a highlight, Max Lässer sits with his lap steel guitar or with the mandolin. And in duet with Hubert von Goisern, the two replaced another typical plucked instrument, the zither. In order not to confront the listeners with the depths of dialect, von Goisern plays a " relaxing instrumental piece" from time to time. You don't need to speak Austrian for that.