BRENNA TUAT'S SCHON LANG
Laconic to funny
At the premiere of the documentary film "Brenna tuat's schon lang"
even protagonist Hubert von Goisern is happy
It wasn't exactly burning curiosity, but he was keen to see how his life would look on the big screen. The Austrian musician Hubert von Goisern saw the 90 minute documentary film Brenna tuat's schon lang for the first time on Tuesday evening at the City Kino on Sonnenstraße. Out of consideration for the filmmaker, he says, "I didn't get involved, because I know what I'm like". The filmmaker is Marcus H. Rosenmüller, who made his debut as an opera director a few days before the premiere and on this evening he doesn't give the impression that he wants to fit in another theatre premiere, or start another film shoot in the next few days: "I'm very happy that there's peace a quiet for now." Goisern says later that he always had the feeling that he could trust Rosenmüller the whole time. And so he is also very happy with the result: "Even if there are a couple of things in it that I didn't necessarily want people to see."
They are clips from a TV show from the later eighties, in which Hubert von Goisern comes across a bit like a ski instructor party boy. In the cinema it provides for great amusement and some things in the film are really entertaining, because Goisern can tell great anecdotes with a kind of dry laconicism that makes the stories even funnier.
Being celebrated is clearly not his thing though and his Munich manager and producer Hage Hein knows a thing or two about that. "I came up with the idea of wanting to make a film about Hubert three years ago." The most difficult thing was then persuading Hubert. Rosenmüller was on board straight away and then Hein learned how to produce a film too. Not least thanks in part to his Austrian co-producer Kurt Langbein. Rosenmüller tells that a long time ago he was nearly involved in a film project about Goisern by his film colleague Joseph Vilsmaier. "I was pretty excited, because we were going to meet with him", says Rosenmüller, "but then he didn't turn up, because he didn't want to do it."
But he was interested on Tuesday and celebrated with everyone else in the Oberangertheater. The production company and distributor invited guests to drinks and nibbles. It was something like an industry event. The two cabaret artists Hannes Ringlstetter and Stephan Zinner swapped ideas on how best to prepare for a show in the Bavarian province and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Things don't get serious until next week: From 23rd April Brenna tuat's schon lang will be opening in one hundred German and Austrian cinemas.
The rebel with the accordion
Putting it into perspective, a youthful intoxication was to blame. For it was only once Hubert von Goisern had knocked back half a bottle of schnapps that his touched a hitherto despised gift from his grandfather: an accordion. And his original intent was to break it. "I wanted to rip it apart, put it on and bashed about on the keys", Goisern recalls in the film documentary Hubert von Goisern - Brenna tuat's schon lang.
From this lust for destruction came a great love. While he was mistreating the until then untouched instrument and making sound with it, Goisern suddenly realised with surprise: "This sounds cool!". Goisern goes forth with the accordion, to become famous with it, to skilfully and sometimes euphorically elicit new sounds and melodies from it, to mix these with cutting, romantic and thoughtful lyrics. He becomes Austria's most famous "alpine rocker".
Certainly it's not enough to simply reduce von Goisern's career to a moment of intoxication. Musical talent, creativity, steadfastness, courage and not least staying power are part of it, just as much as faithful colleagues who recognised the potential in the musician from the Upper Austrian province and accompanied him through the years. All this is shown in the film, which opens in German cinemas from 23rd April, in retrospects and new interviews.
The fact that the film turned out to be a calm and unagitated portrait of Goisern's often crashing music is also down to director Marcus H. Rosenmüller. The man from Tegernsee has had success with modern Bavarian homeland films for many years now and understands how to elicit good anecdotes from the now 62-year-old musician and to portray him as a cosmopolitan, always curious, but thoughtful and highly creative person.
In the first setting Rosenmüller put Goisern in a little boat on a picturesque alpine lake, lets him talk freely and returns to this scenery time and again. While angling Goisern recalls his childhood in the village of Bad Goisern, population 6000. A spa location where children were constantly admonished to keep quiet so as not to disturb the guests recuperation.
The musician has always struggled with his conservative birthplace, in which there were seven brass bands, from one of which he was thrown out when he insisted on long hair and female musicians. Changing his name from Achleitner to "von Goisern" was an "act of revenge" on the local critics of his new kind of folk music.
Peppered with concert clips and new meetings between Goisern and former mentors and companions, the film rolls out the career and life of the musician. It shows him on concert tour in countries such as the USA, Egypt and Senegal, as well as on a ship tour through Europe. The film also broaches his difficult beginnings and flops and describes long career breaks too: "I wanted to allow more room for chance".
Goisern isn't having a break right now though, a new album will hit the shelves in a few days. Despite the highs and lows the Austrian seems deeply happy with himself and his career. True to his motto: "Those struggling with the state of things are in a bad position - because it is the way it is.
Film premiere in Munich for Goisern documentary
On Tuesday evening in Munich the Germany premiere of a documentary film Hubert von Goisern went off with lots of applause and jovial guests.
Hubert von Goisern - Brenna tuat's schon lang is the name of the film in which director H. Rosenmüller predominantly lets the Austrian "alpine rocker", whose real name is Hubert Achleitner, speak. Thus Goisern muses on a little boat in on a picturesque alpine lake, or on the train, on life and his own career. He recalls criticism from his home province when he moved out of the little town of Bad Goisern to make new folk music. Unimpressed by his critics Goisern lay down a great career with his unmistakeable sound - even in Egypt and Senegal the audience bopped along to his concerts. The low-key film, looks at many concert clips as well as the flops in Goisern's career, and many of Goisern's companions through his career are interviewed. The film open in German cinemas on 23rd April.
Documentary about a life-waster
In "Brenna tuat's schon lang" Bavarian director Marcus H. Rosenmüller
offers a comprehensive, atmospheric portrait of von Hubert von Goisern.
Hubert von Goisern is one of the brightest fixed stars in the Austrian pop heavens. Bavarian director Marcus H. Rosenmüller has taken on an appreciation of the man's rich and broad artistic life in the form of a documentary. What developed was Brenna tuat's schon lang (Still Burning), a comprehensive, atmospheric portrait of a lone warrior, which will be ignited in cinemas on 24th April.
At dawn, under a cloudy sky, the door of a boathouse on Lake Hallstatt opens, and out chugs Hubert von Goisern on a barge, to sail out to the middle of the lake, cast his line and reflect on life. Kitsch-free, country idyll and the condition of complete deceleration - the best starting point for a varied, eventful film biography.
Growing up in the spa town of Bad Goisern with the eternal obligation pressed upon the children to keep quiet so that the spa guests could recuperate, he was assigned a music teacher at the age of 12 years old, whose musicality, "which streamed from him in a philanthropic and friendly fashion", laid the foundation for von Goisern's becoming an artist. "He never gave me a hard time for being a lazy dog. He showed me that music is something cool." Nonetheless the malcontent with the long hair didn't stay long in one of the seven local music bands, "because I missed there being something modern, and women too." The inevitable expulsion followed as well as the bandmaster's waiting in vain for an apology, having counted on his protégé caving.
Quality homeland film
Rosenmüller, a guarantor for quality homeland films from Bavaria (Wer früher stirbt, ist länger tot, Sommer der Gaukler), has delved deep into the archives: never-before-seen photographs of the young Hubert Achleitner, his real name, an appearance on the German TV show flop Nase vorn with a truly gruesome performance, live recordings from the Roter Engel at the Vienna Bermuda Triangle, long before the later Alpinkatzen band and an anecdote, not told until now out of shame, about a booked, but never completed gig in the legendary Viennese club Tunnel. The explosive discussion of the now famous son of the town with a an elderly man about the term folk music shows why: "The stage name Hubert von Goisern is practically an act of revenge."
Rosenmüller stays at a distance with the camera, while von Goisern searches out places from his past, quite literally outside the door, looking in the window, observing. And von Goisern's metaphorical midwife and monument conservator comes into focus: Hage Hein, manager from the beginning, talks about meeting, difficulties in the beginning, the Bayerisches Rundfunk's telephone banks lighting up after a show at the Munich Nachtwerk, of the inconceivability of disbanding the Alpinkatzen. Andreas Weineck, former record manager, reflects on his game-changing decision to release Hiatamadl as a single.
A steeply ascending career
Early on in his steeply ascending career Hubert von Goisern played in the USA too, thrilling label owners there, who described his music as "alpine grunge", he met Jane Goodall and Tibetan musicians, gave concerts in Egypt and Senegal, dedicated himself to the prime substance of genuine folk songs (Trad), sailed up and down the Danube as a fisher of men ("my artistic eight thousander"), tried his hand as an actor (Hölleisengretl), played in taverns and made it to number one in the single charts in 2001 with Brenna tuat's guat. The look back reaches right to present day with clips from the premiere of the most recent tour.
With the words "I want to build a bridge, not so much between cultures, but between people" he pushes on as a kind of Song Contest ambassador. He sees himself as a "life-waster". "If there's something I intend to do, then it's to be wasteful or extravagant with what I have." Even though this fascinating documentary, which is also being shown as part of the Crossing Europe Film Festival (23rd - 28th April), will look good on TV - and is out on DVD in October -, a trip to the cinema is by no means a waster of time. Finally, back again, out on the lake, a fish seems to have bitten.
Willkommen Österreich with Hubert von Goisern
There are boring musical instruments like the noseflute and there are boring sports like angling. But there's nothing more entertaining than listening to Hubert von Goisern, Sternmann and Grissemann talking about these things. The cinema film Brenna tuat's schon lang shows Hubert von Goisern musical creativity from his breakthrough with Koa Hiatamadl in 1992 to his current album Federn, which will be out in May. In Willkommen Österreich he talks about the "most embarrassing" points of his career, which aren't shown in the film.
At the end of the show the noseflute-playing angler Hubert von Goisern proves that he has real fire as soon as the band Russkaja start the polka beat. With his song Poika he catapults the audience out into the night.
Make music not war
Film tip of the day: Marcus H. Rosenmüller has made a film about the
Austrian alpine world musician Hubert von Goisern
Many big directors have set out to make a film about their favourite band. The most famous is probably The Band by Martin Scorsese. During the opening titles it says: "This movie must be played very loud." Now Marcus H. Rosenmüller has made a music film too, about the Austrian alpine world musician Hubert von Goisern. Should anyone come up with the idea of adding a volume requirement in the opening sequence to this one too, it should be: "This movie must be played very low." Because here a subtle director has found a quiet, thoughtful protagonist, who tells the story of a ludicrous career as if still amazed at how things managed to work out in the music business. Hubert von Goisern plays a lot of music here of course and you can follow the stops along the way of his discovery process. But the most wonderful thing is when he talks.
Hubert von Goisern - Brenna tuat's schon lang: Germany premiere, 8pm, City, Sonnenstraße 12, attended by Hubert von Goisern and Marcus H. Rosenmüller
Goisern film celebrates premiere in Munich
Hubert von Goisern has been on stage more than 25 years and now here comes the first film about the Austrian "alpine rocker" to the cinema: Hubert von Goisern - Brenna tuat's schon lang is the name of the documentary, which is celebrating its German premiere today in Munich. The film shows Goisern's personal and artistic development since his first big hit Koa Hiatamadl in 1992. Aside from the musician himself, numerous companions also speak. The film was directed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller, who found fame with the film Wer früher stirbt ist länger tot. The Goisern film opens in German cinemas on 23rd April.
Between folk music and rock
Hubert von Goisern is known as an exponent of "Alpenrock" ("Alpine rock") as well as a political artist. Although he is successful, he has never rested on his laurels, instead leading a life that has seen him travel the globe. This life is the subject of a new documentary film.
Two things are immediately apparent when you're seated opposite Hubert von Goisern. And neither of them are to do with his clothes, which look as through he were about to depart on a hiking tour at any moment. His long, slender hands, which never stop moving even when his arms are crossed in front of his chest, are utterly fascinating. The other remarkable feature is the smile that lights up his entire face completely unexpectedly, like a ray of sunshine bursting through the cloudy peaks of his Austrian homeland and suddenly bathing a pasture or valley in a golden glow. This afternoon the von Goisern sunbeam frequently lights up Munich's Café Kosmos as the artist talks about himself, his life, the new documentary film Brenna tuat's schon lang (showing in German cinemas as of 23rd April), his new CD Federn (released on 8th May) and his forthcoming tour beginning on 12th May.
There's an anecdote doing the rounds that tells you a lot about Hubert von Goisern. Approaching a toll booth one day, he is asked by a surprised toll officer: "You're von Goisern, aren't you?" "Yes, I am." "What a shame you're not performing any more." That was in 2011, not long after von Goisern had achieved his first No. 1 hit in Austria with Brenna tuats guat, which was a huge success in Germany too. And yet he was supposed to have retired.
The artist that is Hubert von Goisern certainly doesn't operate according to the normal standards of the music industry, about which he says: "A lot of it functions well and is still dreadful. But I don't just want to function." That was never an aim for Hubert Achleitner, as his stage name alone demonstrates. He calls himself von Goisern after his Austrian home town of Bad Goisern: as he states in the film, it's an act of revenge for never having felt accepted there. As the son of newcomers to the town, he was soon so sick of his life as a second class citizen that he quit the local brass band (where he played the trumpet) before quitting Austria to spend a great deal of time in South Africa, Canada and the Philippines between 1972 and 1983. He subsequently returned both to Austria and to his music, which he reinterpreted as "Alpenrock" ("Alpine rock") in his own inimitable fashion. His breakthrough came in 1992 when his band the Alpinkatzen had a hit with the single Koa Hiatamadl and the album Aufgeigen stått niederschiassen. Just five years later he left again, this time to visit Africa and, above all, Tibet: "I was so fascinated on the one hand and so powerless and furious on the other – about the political situation and the fact that you couldn't really speak your mind. My emotions were stirred at so many different levels, and I was near to tears almost the whole time." After a pause he adds: "I love the mountains too, of course. And there's no getting away from them there." Von Goisern treats us to another broad smile.
"For me, the Creation is a miracle," says von Goisern in both the film and in our interview, where the 62-year- old enlarges on his theme: "I don't believe in a personal God, as I have problems with His portrayal as a father figure. But equally I don't believe that there is nothing apart from us humans here on Earth. There's definitely something up there above us." The concept of nature as God's Creation, the silence and the language of nature feature prominently in von Goisern's life and music. We chat about all this and related matters – in much too much detail for this article. Two themes constantly recur, however: "Whether it's a quiet mountain lake or a vast ocean or rapids that rush along before finding sudden areas of calm, just as in real life, water plays a very important role for me. I believe, as Heraclitus said, that you cannot step twice in the same river. I wouldn't want to anyhow. I'd rather head for the springs. I want clarity and simplicity in my life and in my music, and the water is clear and pure at the source. Of course it's always an approximation, but if you like you could say that all the music I make is a quest to find something akin to a primeval melody. And at the same time, as on my ship tour (editor's note: the Linz Europe Tour from 2007 to 2009, where he navigated through Europe on various rivers, playing alongside musicians from the countries he visited), I also want to head for the river delta. I want to see what has become of the original spring and how the water has expanded." Or, to use another key word in von Goisern's vocabulary: how wasteful or extravagant the spring has been.
"Life is an extravagance." What on earth does he mean? Isn't that a negative thing to say? "Not at all. When you are extravagant with something belonging to somebody else, then yes. When you waste the resources of nature, then yes. But when you are extravagant something that you have been given, it's a very positive thing. That way you are sharing an aspect of yourself with others: you can help them to shift their perspective and see things through new eyes. That's what I mean when I say that my music is an extravagance . It wouldn't be right if I could still run 10,000 metres after a concert: it would mean that I hadn't given my all, that I hadn't invested all my energies in it. I wouldn't have been wasteful in a positive sense. But what I try to achieve in my life is positive extravagance."
Hubert von Goisern: "Brenna tuat's schon lang"
Hubert von Goisern is a musician whose messages blaze and continue to glimmer within us. The film Brenna tuat's schon lang (in cinemas from 24th April) gives an unusually close view of the person and globetrotter.
He loves the silence that lies on Lake Hallstatt at the crack of dawn when he casts his line. Because, as Hubert von Goisern says, "angling is such a healthy dialogue with nature". He likes travelling, but is still connected with his homeland, rooted. With his hometown, whose name he bears as a title. Von Goisern. It's: that's where I'm from! He has the alpine blues in his throat, plays the squeezebox until his fingertips bleed, takes the national to the traditional and peps it up with rock. Cheeky dialect rhymes collide with social critique. And he is a fisher of men - as the frenetically celebrated concerts across the German-speaking region prove.
The documentary Brenna tuat's schon lang, directed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller, follows in the tracks of the musician, wordsmith and philosopher von Goisern, who, when lauded with praise quickly retreats into his modesty, as if retreating to an isolated farm to observe life with fitting detachment - and then pack it in sound and lyrics. A familiarisation with someone who burns for what he does.
The title of the film, Brenna tuat's schon lang (Still Burning), sounds passionate. In the similarly titled song Brenna tuats guat (It Burns Well), social criticism burns.
Yes, it's about the burning of food to make fuel. There's something out of whack when at the same time people are dying of hunger. An empty stomach burns too.
So it's a really angry song?
No, anger alters one view of things and allows a loss of focus.
How do such songs come about, in what mood do they take form?
From the situation, or thinking about, or following something. Pondering is such a wonderful word, which summarises this creative process. And then at some point concrete thoughts arise, forming ripples, like throwing pebbles into water.
Does a songwriter get lyric block?
A struggle for words? Not really. When it flows, it flows. A carpenter can't afford a planing block either.
How digestible are the music terms like "alpine rock" or "world music" for Hubert von Goisern?
I can identify with mountain rock. There was once something exotic about world music, it sounded like musical new land. Then the term degenerated into everyday music. I like traditions, long-standing things. And original ethnic sounds. Archaic sound pictures that come from the people, wherever they are.
You are a virtuoso master of many instruments. Accordion, trumpet, guitar, harmonica, piano …
Sure. Master is overstating it. I play them. Or more accurately, I mistreat them. But they always forgive me.
One of your songs is called Halt nit an (Don't stop). Is travelling part of the life philosophy of a musician?
Well, people who just sit at home don't have many stories to tell. I have my phases like that. This resting, waiting. And this leaving. Most of my travels just happen to me. Out of curiosity.
What does a creative person such as yourself search for while travelling?
I don't search. Chance is the best travel companion. It provides for unexpected encounters. Or for a sunrise that you never forget. Landscapes that give me a lot of room - to breathe, to think (von Goisern's travels have included Africa, Tibet, Canada, Greenland - Ed.) - are generally more to my taste than an urban tangle of people.
Heast as nit is a hit with great staying power. Do you take much acoustic notice of the sand falling through the hourglass?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Time is an envious thing. Those who lose sight of it have more of it. Sounds like a Chinese fortune cookie, but that's the way it is.
The world musician on the silver screen
A film documenting Hubert von Goisern's career.
The singer-songwriter had to warm to the rough cut.
MUNICH. Dawn on Lake Hallstatt, an angler sits in his barge, everything is calm in him and nature. "That's the way it is", the fisherman says to the camera. And half the film has gone by before the first fish bites. One otherwise knows the angler from the stage. Because director Marcus H. Rosenmüller is dedicating a documentary film to a musician: Hubert von Goisern. The starting point for the idea for the film with the title Brenna tuat's schon lang (Still Burning) was the success of the song Brenna tuats guat, which has been igniting the atmosphere at parties or aprés ski since 2011, even for the "crooks" that the lyrics are damning. Someone like Hubert von Goisern isn't surprised. "Many people didn't realise that Brenna tuats guat and Koa Hiatamadl are by the same musician", the 62-year-old said in the MZ interview in Munich.
On the train and on the barge
So, a film. A film that sets these good 20 years between the two alpine rock hits to music, illustrates and explains them. And because Hubert von Goisern - to put it mildly - doesn't exactly look for the limelight, Rosenmüller and his cameraman Johannes Kaltenhauser takes detours to follow the protagonist, for example on the train, or barge. Hubert von Goisern is an early riser and an angler. Rosenmüller uses this for the self-evident metaphor to show a man who readily takes the risk of ruination, who patiently throws out bait time and again, thinking about his strategy.
The lake interview forms the parentheses around everything in the film, which illuminates from the early phase to the breakthrough with the Alpinkatzen, to the time of journeys to Africa and Asia and the ship tour through Europe ("the 8000m climb of my career") as well as the modern times with extensive archive material and interviews with companions, as well as anecdotes.
The private side remains in the dark
In contrast the private person remains unknown. The story of how he ran away from his first show as a blues musician in Vienna is told, but not why he was called Hubert Sullivan at this time (he had taken the name of his then wife). It wasn't until later that the man born as Hubert Achleitner changed his name to Hubert von Goisern out of "revenge" on his hometown of Bad Goisern.
Rosenmüller presumably didn't always have it easy with his misfit star, who was "completely horrified" by the rough cut of the film a year ago. Perhaps only because Rosenmüller's work did not correspond with his own sense of self. But without this strong-mindedness, many of the folk music guerilla from Goisern's courageous musical projects would never have happened. Including his new balladesque dialect version of the hymn Amazing Grace.
Professional and a bit crazy
Federn is the title of the new album. Hubert von Goisern made two research trips to the southern US state of Louisiana, to add country and Cajun to his mix of folk music, blues, rock and pop this time, as usual, professional, diverse and a bit crazy. Those just looking for a successor to Brenna tuats guat will be served by Alle 100 Jahr, those who take more time will discover a series of beautiful blues ballads and a new version of Ganz alloa from the Alpinkatzen past. What has Amazing Grace (So a Segen) lost among that? The American present.
Amazing Grace has historical ties with the abolition of slavery in the USA. But a great deal of inheritance remains from the time of slavery. "Racism is still terrible in the southern states", says Hubert von Goisern, "there are a tonne of Cajun clubs, but no black people go there." He himself has seldom found it so difficult to play with local people. "Over there they just play for money", says the 62-year-old, "and with such a contradiction between their own image and reality I couldn't change my ways." That said: a pedal steel guitarist (Steve Fishell) was nonetheless found for the album.
Under consideration: a USA tour
Hubert von Goisern wants to continue working on Project USA, perhaps even in the framework of a small tour. Even though the mentality there sometimes makes him uneasy. "Music can make a community, independent of cultural background", he says, however a good many Americans are as "fanatical" as many are in the Islamic world. It's wrong to endow books such as the Bible or Koran with a "sanctity" that excludes everything else and to persist with only the knowledge of the time in which they were written. "We've learned quite a lot in the last 2000 years."
That's the way it is. Says the angler Hubert von Goisern, but he doesn't mean it deterministically. "From time to time you have to do something." Perhaps some day he'll bait the Americans too.
Hubert von Goisern: Brenna tuat's schon lang
A warm-hearted film about homeland, music and foreign lands that gets under your skin
Hubert von Goisern – Brenna tuat's schon lang. Still burning - the title of a portrait of the alpine rocker Hubert von Goisern filmed by cult director Marcus H. Rosenmüller and being shown at the Wasserburger Kino in April. With his protest anthem Brenna tuat's guat von Goisern hit a nerve in times of greed and financial crisis and landed his first number one hit. Now the cult director of the modern Bavarian homeland film is honouring the globetrotter from the Salzkammergut and his alpine rock that lies between poetry and provocation ...
Not for nothing does this stirring homage bear the name Brenna tuat's schon lang. For Hubert von Goisern has been proving for a long time that the true sound of the alpine region is far from Musikantenstadl and folksiness.
In personal conversations with the musician, as well as his companions, Rosenmüller's film gives an authentic representation of Hubert von Goisern the person. Archive material, some being released for the first time, traces the important way-points of his musical career, tracking both the highs and the lows.
A warm-hearted look at homeland and foreign lands and above all music, it is a film that gets under your skin.
Hubert von Goisern: I look for adventure
It seldom happens that the protagonist of a documentary freely admits to not feeling overly happy. But Hubert von Goisern is not someone who can be pigeonholed, no matter how many times you try and tag him with "alpine rock". Just one thing was clear to him as a teenager: "I always wanted to be like George Harrison.
For someone as well-travelled as yourself, how does this journey back in time feel?
The interpretation of my own life by someone else is a bit weird. There are things you're proud of, and things that you're not at all proud of. And of course you can't make a film that's just a homage - it's only right that these failures and unsuccessful periods are shown too. I was able to hide a couple anyway, because nobody had the material but me (laughs). When you go out among other people you show your best side. You sort your hair out as is most advantageous for your face, not the other way around. I wouldn't have been able to make the film, it would have been deathly dull (laughs).
Can you only write or sing about homeland once you've got around a bit?
Yes. That doesn't mean you have to go far though. But you need to get out into society and become acquainted with people who live very different lives and with different situations, so as to avoid the risk of finding a simple formula for life. Life is very complex, there are so many truths. If there's one big lie, then it's that it would be smarter for us to all do the same thing.
You tried living without music for four years - what stayed with you from that?
I travelled a lot in that time, saw a lot and had the feeling that I had no clue what life was about. I had no aim, I just wanted to watch. I wanted to be inconspicuous. I hated being tall, I would have loved to have been 10cm shorter. I wanted everyone to leave me in peace and go through the world like Will o' the Wisp and be left alone.
Do you know what life's about now?
For me, yes. It's that I have this talent, to be musical and that I can push open a window with music that goes beyond the banal and the material. It's a magic that affects me first of all while I'm playing, but it clearly also goes beyond to my surroundings, to the people who are listening to me. Then I feel at one with everything and everyone and am in harmony. When I'm in a good mood there's no wrong note. Anything can happen and it doesn't matter when, a little second can appear it doesn't grate, but instead something sparks. When I'm in a bad mood, it's barely possible to tune my instrument, because everything sounds out of tune.
At the start of your career you lived in Vienna for a few years and played a lot at the Roter Engel - what did you think of the city back then?
I went to Vienna once or twice in the seventies and thought it was such a city. It was the east back then down there ... (laughs). At the beginning or middle of the eighties I came to Vienna and thought it was ever so exciting. I instantly fell in love with the city. I met unbelievably cool, very friendly and helpful people - and if that hadn't been the case, I wouldn't have been able to have lived there for seven years. I lived hand to mouth and that was only possible because people caught me and supported me. I felt very, very happy there. I didn't like leaving.
Is is healthier to experience fame at a later age, like you did?
It certainly makes a few things easier. When you're 40 people can't pull the wool over your eyes as easily any more. But it's probably a matter of mentality, upbringing and your environment. Success is addictive, no question, and when you've experienced it, you want to feel it again and it could be that you are prepared to make compromises, or throw your ideals overboard. But that's all speculation, in my case it was simply the way it was.
You circumnavigated the danger of finding yourself on a treadmill with room to spare ... or was that chance?
It's always been the case that when I realise that people know how I tick, it's got to me and I've had to stop. I want to maintain this unpredictability - there's nothing worse than someone confronting you and knowing what you're going to say before you even open your mouth.. You need to maintain this curiosity until your last breath.
Changing every year requires a certain amount of courage. Isn't something practised more comfortable?
It's not courage. It would have been more courageous to not disband the Alpinkatzen and see what else could have been done with them. But instead I thought, nah, I really can't do this now. It's actually the fear of being heteronomonous. If there's only this line I can travel and there's no left or right, then I prefer to get off the train and walk instead. Perhaps because I'm someone who looks for adventure.
Do you need noise or peace more?
I find peace much more exciting; I make enough noise myself.
And where do you find this peace?
In nature. The natural world is a great inspiration. In nature I hear the birds, the wind, the water whooshing, it's cool, it's all music. I never feel that I need to cry out myself. Where that happens is where I'm in action myself - for example it can really happen skiing, when you're going down a really cool slope and you're flying through the snow ... But in terms of making music and being loud, I need an urban environment. But peace and quiet is really what I'm looking for.
You have travelled an unbelievable amount. How do you pick your travel companions?
They find themselves (laughs), the same as with your partner for life, or having children. The moment you're travelling, you meet people. And then there are those who are at your side for some of the way. And if they prove themselves, you do it again.
The documentary "Hubert von Goisern - Brenna tuat's schon lang" is in the cinemas from 24th April. Directed by Marcus H. Rosenmüller (Wer früher stirbt, ist länger tot").
Hubert von Goisern – Brenna tuat's schon lang
The new film from Marcus H. Rosenmüller - in cinemas from 23rd April!
A lot of water has flowed down the Traun since his first concert in a Chinese restaurant in Vienna, or the days he performed a punk version of the German national anthem in Germany. In the meantime the Upper Austrian Hubert von Goisern has become a legend, inventing a new musical genre with the term "alpine rock" and in his incomparable way broke the mould of the traditions and dusty dogmas of Austrian folk music. Hits such as Hiatamadl, Heast as net and Brenna tuat's guat have been played on the radio up and down the country for years and have earned cult status - just like his idiosyncratic accordion-playing.
In Brenna tuat's schon lang Bavarian filmmaker Marcus H. Rosenmüller tells the story of Hubert von Goisern's personal and geographical journeys and paints a portrait of a big-hearted rebel, who has, as he says himself, "successfully landed between two stools right from the start". You see Hubert von Goisern up close in the film, the wild free spirit, level-headed and stubborn, the thoroughbred musician who's loud in the quiet and quiet in the loud. For more than a quarter of a century he has been delighting fans old and new in Europe with his charisma, his clever, often critical lyrics and even in the good old USA his "alpine grunge" was met with approval in the mid-90s. Many of his songs have a sense of fun - and yet songs like Weit, weit weg have what it takes to be heart-rending evergreens.
Director Rosenmüller ably weaves interview sequences with archive material of various journeys and tours, conversations with companions and the protagonists own stories give insight into the exciting life of a curious and courageous musician. While fishing on Lake Hallstatt Hubert von Goisern talks of his first musical steps in the idyllic, but narrow-minded Salzkammergut, where he never quite feels accepted and often feels misunderstood.
From the accordion given to him by his grandfather, which he spurned for a long time, he drew until then unimagined sounds - which were not appreciated in the local traditional society mind you.
In the film a young Hubert has a very simple answer to the criticism being voiced by a strict member of the traditional band, who argues, "it's inexplicable to me that you have to jump around while playing your wonderful music". "I like jumping around!", Hubert says, quite simply.
He has learned to deal with criticism and opposition of all kinds. He has continued in spite of them all. And in his own way too: wild, free and without borders.
The most striking project in terms of bridging borders is the Linz Europe Tour – a ship tour that took Hubert von Goisern from Linz along the Danube to the Black Sea and up to Rotterdam between 2007 and 2009. Along the way he took on board musicians from the countries through which he was sailing. And thus this journey became a kind of cultural convoy, in which musicians such as Konstantin Wecker, Claudia Koreck, BAP, Xavier Naidoo, Bulgarian gypsy bands and other famous and unknown bands participated. A project as unusual as its initiator, who facilitated meetings and exchanges across all borders and joined the many different influences together into a new kind of music.
In summary: the film opens in German cinemas on 23rd April and the curt editorial team heartily recommends it. Anyone interested in culture, music and free spirits is well advised to take a look at this film. Intensive, inspiring and full of entertaining anecdotes, it is an entertaining journey through the life of a pedigree man and musician, in whom passion will hopefully burn for a long time yet.
Folk music revolutionary
The Austrian musician Hubert von Goisern has been reinventing and redefining himself for more than 25 years. He revolutionised folk music and toured Europe on a ship to build bridges between nations and people. The film Brenna tuat's schon lang (Still Burning) by Marcus H. Rosenmüller tells the story of the many stops the artist has made along the way. A conversation about the development of the film, the synthesis of the traditional and modern, as well as the meaning of homeland.
A recurring motif in the film is fishing. When did you first start?
I started fishing when I was ten years old. I've always been fascinated by the fact that you can live off nature. When you gather mushrooms, or go fishing or hunting, you have to become one with nature and understand the natural world. I really like this melding with nature. Being a part of the larger whole. It puts my mind at ease too, that you don't necessarily need to go to a shop and have money to buy something. And this passion has stayed with me.
A romantic idea.
I think I'm a very romantic person.
How did the idea for the film come about?
Hage Hein, my manager, had the idea. He used the opportunity of my 60th birthday. I didn't want to work on the project, because I'm prejudiced as to a view of myself and can't help in shaping it. I didn't want to look at the film during the development process either. When I forced myself to look at the archive material I was appalled.
The archive material goes so far back into the past. Maybe it was great back then, but I'd do everything differently now and I find some of the excerpts extremely embarrassing. But maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that I looked at it. I told Hage that I felt very honoured that he was investing so much energy, time and money in a film about me. But he's not a filmmaker and if he wanted it to be successful, then he needed to get someone who knows how to make a film. So that it has its own language, a rhythm, a thread. I made him look for a director and I'm delighted that he was able to get Rosi.
Did you know Rosi before?
No, not at all. I knew some of his films and thought they were great. As we got to know each other, my expectations were exceeded, because he's simply a really lovely person.
Did you then work together on a concept for the film?
Rosi thought about the concept of how these different parts and steps of my life could be put together. It's not about smoothing out the jumps, but rather working them out. Then he had the idea of taking the binding element of water and going out onto Lake Hallstatt and filming reflections on my life there.
You had your proper breakthrough with the song Koa Hiatamadl. Why?
The time for something like it was right and thank Good, it all took off. Back then there was this folk music scene, the fundamentalists who didn't allow anything to be changed and rejected anything modern. They didn't just say that their music was to stay that way, but also rejected anything that came from the radio. But I grew up with blues and jazz and never wanted to have anything to do with the folk music scene, because it was so exclusionary. On the other hand, there was the phenomenon of Musikantenstadl, which can't be surpassed in embarrassment levels. It had its own entitlement, but for young people of the modern world it was abhorrent. Of course there was also a longing for identity and the roots of the society in which one lives. Suddenly there was this great sense of relief that someone like me had come along and was playing with the roots, but bringing them into the here and now. When I managed this synthesis between old and new, I was preaching to choir.
Did it lead you abroad too?
I always wanted to leave and said that it couldn't be it, confining oneself to this little alpine region. I was also concerned with this feeling that we are constantly flooded with things from America, England or China. That's how things should be, but it can't be that you don't have this transfer out from here in the opposite direction. So I was always very much for us opening up and saying, hey, listen up, this is how we are.
How do you explain the international success of your music, in particular in the USA?
The new music I'm releasing soon has a great deal to do with America. Emigrants took our music to the USA and it became country music and was them mixed with the blues of the black community. Blues isn't far from our folk music and there is a close relationship between the two. So I was preaching to the choir there too, because I was playing what the Americans know and what unites us. I've also never met an American who didn't talk about their roots or have ancestors from Germany or Austria. Americans still feel this old soul they carry. And then along comes someone like me, who brings it to life with music.
When you return to your old village, is your style and interpretation of folk music accepted by the people there?
There used to be the fundamentalists in music and then the political fundamentalists. Back then there was Jörg Haider, who came from Goisern too. I pulled him to pieces and made clear at every concert that I was ashamed to have any sort of connection with such a person. But he had more than 30% of the voters in Goisern. And they felt attacked too and made it known that they considered me to be a denigrator of my own country and I was dirtying tradition with sounds that had no place here. But most of those people have died since.
One of your big projects was the Linz Europe Tour, for which you sailed down the Danube to the Black Sea and went up to Rotterdam too. On board were musicians from the countries through which you travelled. Where and how did you find them?
I drove the whole journey in the car. Once in spring, once in autumn and I talked to all the people and sought out their music in advance. I met with a lot of politicians, harbour authorities, concert agents and musicians. I was actually only wrong on two fronts. I thought it would be easiest to find musicians in Hungary and Slovakia, since the countries are so close. I didn't work as intensively there and realised too late that I wasn't so happy with the musicians and organisation there. Those are the only points where I'd say things could have gone better.
What was the most defining experience on the ship tour?
There were a number of really, really great, surprising moments. In Serbia, for example, I drove to a little village in 2006 and didn't intend playing a concert there. But then we gave a completely impromptu, unannounced concert there to which 2000 people came. It was an enormous party. Actually I would have loved to have done the whole tour like that. Standing there and playing past the authorities. It was great in Ukraine too, where the mayor wanted to cancel the concert, because he was pro-Russia and the musicians were going to be singing in Ukrainian. I then challenged him to tell the crowd to go home. Then he scarpered like a coward.
Were you able to build bridges between the countries?
It needs to happen a lot more. The ship was a start. It needed someone to buy the ship for a million Euros and let it keep sailing a cultural platform. So much money is doled out for shit, billions, and nobody wanted to finance this ship for a million.
Do you see yourself as a political musician?
I'm a politically-minded person. But I'm not someone who acts politically. I see myself as an artist and I take this role seriously, because you stand on stage and have a reputation and status as a role model. Artists who have become politically active have often done so rather awkwardly. I've always thought that you have to watch what you say.
Movienet will release the film in German cinemas on 23rd April.
Hubert von Goisern - Brenna tuat's schon lang: Film review
In a time of greed and financial crisis, alpine rocker Hubert von Goisern hit a nerve with his protest anthem against the system, Brenna tuat's guat, and landed his first number one hit. Now cult director of the modern Bavarian homeland film Marcus H. Rosenmüller has honoured the globetrotter from the Salzkammergut and his alpine rock that lies between poetry and provocation with a film. Not for nothing does his rousing homage bear the name Brenna tuat's scho lang (Burning a long time). For after all Hubert von Goisern has been proving to us that the true sound of the Alps is far from Musikantenstadl and folksiness.
"Koa Hiatamadl mog i net", Hubert von Goisern sings with his Alpinkatzen and almost rips his accordion apart. Sweat drips from his brow. His fans cheer. The industrious musician from the Salzkammergut has reached his first summit. Soon everyone knows Hiatamadl. His rocky infusion of the traditional dance song storms yodelling up the charts. With it, the now 61-year-old musician made his breakthrough at the beginning of the 1990s. But cult Bavarian director Marcus H. Rosenmüller chooses a very different image as starting point and leitmotif for his coherent documentary, which shows Hubert Achleitner the person unusually close.
Slowly Hubert von Goisern steers his barge out of the dark boathouse and onto the glass-smooth Lake Hallstatt at grey-blue dawn. The artist as a fisherman, who sails the rapids of his career with patience and perseverance, casts his line with thoughts and confidences on his good fortune. Connotations like these lead authentically from the provincial constrictions. "The stage name Hubert von Goisern is practically an act of revenge", the cosmopolitan man of the mountains reveals, looking from the lake to the camera, "because I never felt properly accepted".
One of the first flashbacks shows emphatically how the die-hard traditionalists in his Upper Austrian hometown of Goisern didn't make it easy for him. A little uneasy, the young Hubert enters a packed tavern. "I don't know, do you really think that what you're doing is future folk music?", one man in traditional costume wants to know of him, shaking his head, "and it's inexplicable to me that you have to jump around while playing your wonderful music", he continues. "I like jumping around", he answers with a shrug.
Not least because of his long hair Hubert was thrown out of his local brass band and went to Vienna to find his fortune. As Hubert Sullivan he endeavoured to get a gig in the various trendy bars. The anecdote about how he mucked up his first show is wonderfully witty and touching. For that reason, it shouldn't be given away here. The award-wining musician open-heartedly tells the story of his misfortune at the scene of the crime, to where he had never returned.
That he can laugh about it today he says is actually thanks to his grandfather. For he was the one who gave him an accordion. "At first I threw it into the corner and didn't look at it for years", says Hubert von Goisern in his barge on the lake. The sun has risen now and the passionate angler has caught a fish. But one evening the Styrian accordion just appealed to him. Angry and drunk, he actually just wants to stubbornly rip it apart. But then the furious sounds fascinate him. And they give his career the first push.
Of course the zeitgeist helps him too. For on the other side of the Alps, over the border, anarchy has long been brewing from Bavaria's primordial soup. The first bands cut paths into the jingoistic folk music scene. "We're not going to leave folk music to the lederhosen-wearing partiers and yodelling idiots, who fall everywhere on the saleable remainders of a folk culture that has been almost destroyed by commercialism", announces Carl Ludwig Reichert of Sparifankal. And so it makes senses when Hubert von Goisern meets his manager, friend and companion of many years, Hage Hein, in Munich.
He battles with him through all the highs and lows, absorbs the shock when Hubert von Goisern announces the end of his successful Alpinkatzen, is at his side as the musical globetrotter sails Europe's rivers for three years as an ambassador for the Capital of Culture Linz, to oppose the altercations with the powers that be with the magic and variety of the sounds. But what is certainly his hitherto most spectacular project also brings Hubert von Goisern to the brink of exhaustion. Pneumonia forces him to cancel one of his shows.
Bavarian cinema wonder Marcus H. Rosenmüller (Wer früher stirbt ist länger tot) shows how his protagonist sets off to new shores time and again over the course of his 25 year career, building bridges with his enthralling passion for playing, ripping down walls and remaining grounded in spite of constantly being on the move. The 41-year-old director from Upper Bavaria has made a music film that resembles an intense journey through time that is well worth viewing for more than just Goisern's fans. The excellent montage of archive and sound material is fascinating, put neatly dramaturgically together. The editing brilliantly interlaces the exciting collage of concert excerpts and snapshots with companions such as Goisern's old music teacher. The only downer: no female companions are interviewed. And that when Hubert had missed having women in the brass band.