GRENZENLOS TOUR 2002
Grenzenlos - A journey on DVD
Hubert von Goisern - Grenzenlos DVD
In spring 2002, Hubert von Goisern fulfilled a long-held wish: to go "out" with his music, to see how other cultures would receive his style of making music.
First stop is Egypt, where Hubert plays a celebrated concert with Mohamed Mounir in front of more than 15,000 spectators. "We have sown a seed," said Mohamed Mounir after this concert, "and proved that playing music together is stronger than blood and war." (The two kindred spirits are playing concerts in Germany and Austria from 19th June this year!)
In Praia, too, the capital of the Cape Verde islands, Hubert makes an appearance together with the native group Simentera at the market place in front of 2,000 enthusiastic people.
A call instilled with respect as one of the most alive cities of West Africa, Dakar, is ahead: there he meets the fashion designer Oumou Sy and in one of the most important concert halls of the West African continent, gives a concert together with the Senegalese musician Fallou Dieng, who, like the up-and-coming star Magou, sings a title from Hubert's new programme with him. The absolute high point however is an appearance at a very different scene: despite many warnings and security considerations, the group venture into the poor district of Ecopol and played there as the first white band in front of a responsive audience perhaps one of the best concerts they had given until then.
Musical meetings of the archaic kind result on the journey into simple, difficult to reach villages in Senegal and in Burkina Faso, where the inhabitants greet the guests with traditional singing and dance in countermove to the songs that Hubert plays on the accordion. In Bobo Dioulasso, where he plays with Farafina Yelemba, and in Ouagadougou, there he stands together with Bil Aka Kora on the stage, the West African adventure comes to an end.
"Wherever I have been, I have always found something: different perspectives".
Let's go to Africa!
Hubert von Goisern: Grenzenlos DVD
HvG fans can console themselves about the "long" barren period between the end of the Iwasig/Grenzenlos tour and the approaching release of the new album Trad II by making themselves cosy on their sofa and taking in the double DVD together with a beer.
Hubert's five week journey through Africa in spring 2002 is documented, compressed into an easily digestible 120 minutes. The following stops were headed for: Egypt, the Cape Verde islands, Senegal and Burkina Faso, where among things Hubert von Goisern stood on stage with Bil Aka Kora and Farafina Yelemba and time again produced the proof as to how well alpine music harmonises with African world music. It was his aim to find new friends and look for musical exchanges. So he got going together with his band and a camera team into the boundless land of drums and rhythm. Or to put it differently, "Er checkt si durch bis Afrika zu einem Dschungelstamm. Dort fragt er dann ganz ungeniert den ersten schwarzen Mann: Heast wo toats ihr euch denn treffen, heast wo toats ihr euch versammeln? Du woast scho was i moan, so mit Tanzen und mit Trommeln." ("He pushes his way through Africa to a jungle tribe. There he asks with no embarrassment the first black man: where do you meet, where do you gather? You know what I mean, with dancing and drumming.") Of course I pinched that from Landlertanz from the Alpinkatzen time, but it fits perfectly.
Entertainingly and often with a verbal wink, Hubert commentates on his trip, which was certainly not just pure sunshine. The whole thing started as a musical experiment and the centre is naturally the meetings with the natives, which stand under the sign of the musical exchange. But strains, frustration and uncertainty do not go unmentioned as true travel companions, which makes the whole thing so exciting and the report authentic. Mind you, there is no doubt that the efforts were worthwhile in themselves and the musicians were richly compensated with the euphorically happy moments, in which you simply internationally jammed together and the chemistry worked at the first attempt.
After HvG played an enthusiastically celebrated concert in Upper Egyptian Assiut together with the Egyptian popstar Mohamed Mounir, it continues to Cape Verde, where Hubert and band appear among other right next to a noisy main road. Tété Alhinho, the singer from the Cape Verde group, Simentera, uses the occasion to study the song Über d'Alma with Hubert and feels her way timidly and in a very sweet way into the Austrian lyrics, which is not especially easy, but she simply dates and this is just one example of many of the musical and cultural self-confidence, so impressive to Hubert, which is lived everywhere in Africa. There is no fear of contact and at their appearances, the band are not reverently listened to, but joined - a girl dances absentmindedly around on the stage and overwhelms the musicians with warm hugs, after the concert, the instruments are tested unabashedly by the curious. People simply radiate an extroverted zest for life, which here you would perhaps call dumbness or naïvety.
In Senegal, Hubert meets the fashion designer Oumou Sy, with whom he feels very connected because on the one hand she is conscious of the tradition of her homeland and on the other hand, she could be at home anywhere in the world. Suiting the motto "without frontiers", Oumou Sy reminds us that there are only boundaries in people's heads. The high point of the trip is a concert in Ecopol, a poor district in Dakar, which takes place despite many warnings and security doubts. A big, bright, loud session comes from it, the microphone flies around, being given to everyone who has something to say, rap or sing. On watching, you automatically wish you had been there and calling "applause, applause" with the charismatic presenter of the event and celebrate along with everyone.
An absolutely contrasting programme follows in the national Theatre Sorano, with plush seats, high society public, live TV transmission and all the fuss, which is felt by Hubert and his band rather as a flop, because the right atmosphere does not want to appear during the concert and in this hall of all places, the equipment and therefore the sound is insufficient.
The band win great respect in a village in Burkina Faso. After they are given one lecture after the other like naughty schoolchildren, because they turned up much too late - with the best will in the world, you can't arrive against a sandstorm - they fall into the house with the "Stadltür" (Barn Door) so to speak, and sing and play with the desired rain, which is usually the task of the native balaphone players. Hats off, the villagers will have thought.
After the DVD, I certainly know more about Africa than I would after a vox tour documentary slickly tarted up into a promotional film, or after looking through holiday photos from my much admired Grandma Lilo, who recently shook touching photos of Krüger National Park of out of their sleeve and commented on them with informative notes like: "this little point here on the horizon could be a giraffe," ... well, in such a big country, the Olympus without zoom, seems like a fart in the universe. The Grenzenlos camera team brought more clarity before the lens and authentically stages the individual stops and meetings. Here a plastic bag also blows through the picture at times and you can partly see the heat really flickering and swallowing the dust.
The whole journey report embodies Hubert von Goisern's lifestyle, which constitutes a combination of his passions, travelling, playing music and communicating. It is worth watching, for everyone who likes world music, distant lands and Hubert von Goisern.
In one African language, the word for "playing an instrument" is the same as the verb "to speak". The relationship between speech and music can barely be more clearly expressed. The Grenzenlos DVD certainly illustrates how the language of music can communicate in international understanding.
On this disc, Hubert von Goisern reports from a very personal viewpoint on a 5 week musical journey through Africa in spring 2002. He and his band travelled to Egypt, the Cape Verde islands, Senegal and Burkina Faso in order to appear there together with local musicians. From it came out nothing other than a support of the thesis - which you could also take as banal - namely that music is a universal language. On this mammoth tour, large-scale rehearsals were not possible and the conditions which met them at the appearances were often very uncertain. In any case they were very excited about the reaction of the audience there. Would alpine yodelling and accordion rock music gentle ears in Africa? Would the harmony of the very different musics work? Because they certainly wanted to play together with the African musicians. There should not be two separate concerts, one after the other. First stop: In Egypt, 15,000 people came, admittedly because of Mohamed Mounir, who is a superstar in Egypt, and not because of Hubert von Goisern. But with it the experiment was started under a lucky star. And it then continued surprisingly successfully. Intercultural exchange is talked about very amusingly and a lot of understanding of Hubert von Goisern's music is won through this 120 minute documentary. The African actually had to take what he does for "world music". Quite simply local musical traditions are carried into the world. Hubert von Goisern also shows another side of himself on Grenzenlos, which until now has not revealed itself to me so clearly through his music: as an understanding and prudent globetrotter who intersperses small views into the culture of the visited country between the musical performances. Exciting!
"Africa pulls me like a magnet," Hubert von Goisern once said in an interview. "I also don't know where this love comes from. It probably has something to do with the powerful nature, with the wonderful people, with the excellent music." Since the Austrian first visited Africa in 1996 in order to film a TV documentary about the work of the British chimpanzee research scientist Jane Goodall, the continent has not let him go. In spring 2002 he was pulled again to the "Black Continent". For five weeks he travelled with his band and fulfilled a long held wish to go out into the world with his music and to see how other cultures receive them.
A camera team accompanied Hubert Achleitner (his civil name) on this special and have very impressively summarised the stops in Grenzenlos. Here we experience how the artist from the Salzkammergut visits the pyramids in Egypt and gives a concert together the Nubian pop star Mohamed Mounir in front of 15,000 enthusiastic people in the city of Assiut; we are there when he meets the fashion designer Oumou Sy in Senegal and appears for the poorest of the poor in Dakar's poor district Ecopol; we can follow the musical meeting with the band Simentera on the Cape Verde islands; and we can also go to Burkina Faso with him, where the European leads an extremely moving "dialogue of cultures" with native musicians like Bil Aka Kora and Farafina Yelemba.
On this journey into the unknown, Hubert von Goisern searched for the adventure and the challenge. He formed the purpose behind it as: "I wanted to find new friends, look for the musical exchange, discover foreign worlds, let them inspire me." As Grenzenlos shows in enthralling concert recordings, impressions of the landscape and gripping scenes with the people there, all these dreams became reality. With the help of this film documentary, the viewer can now also share these enriching experiences at home and further their horizons. Or, to quote Hubert von Goisern again: "Wherever I have been, I have always found something: different perspectives".
Everybody understands alpine
Europe's Alps embrace Africa
Hubert von Goisern discovered Africa. How, is on DVD and TV
When Hubert von Goisern talks about Africa, his eyes light up: "I also don't know where this love comes from. It probably has something to do with the mighty nature, with the wonderful people, with the excellent music."
On 5th May, the exceptional Austrian musician is releasing two DVDs (BMG Ariola): In Concert, a recording, and Die Reise (The Journey), a tour diary, recorded while travelling.
On 10th May, Bayerischer Fernsehen are broadcasting both films from 22.30. A scene from Die Reise: Somewhere on the flat land under a tree. Goisern and his companions stop, the diatonic is unpacked, a guitar, a box serves as a drum. And one really plays, so really traditionally alpine. The Africans watch, do and finally they dance. Not especially like people from the mountains. But somehow beautiful.
The language of music unites
"Music is a language which unites," says Hubert von Goisern, "no matter where you come from and how your music sounds. You bring your tradition with you, as a basis for conversation so to speak, and must then have the strength and desire to build up on it and to develop the whole thing in dialogue."
And: "Finally I had the chance to combine my two great passions, travelling and music. An invitation from the Goethe Institute made it possible."
Sorry, the Goethe Institute? "Yes," laughs von Goisern, "I also told them that I am an Austrian and that Austria is not in Germany, but that did not bother anyone."
A row of concerts were organised, each time with local musicians on the spot. One of the most outstanding was probably the one with Mohamed Mounir, a native pop star, in Assiut (Egypt) in front of more than 15,000 spectators.
"Naturally they did not come because of me, but simply therefore because something was up again. The security forces were totally overtaxed, and we were worried about everything going well, but finally it was brilliant. Especially the interaction between Mohamed and me. We showed that making music together is stronger than blood and war."
Mohamed Mounir: "Whatever reaction would have shown the public: we tried it and that alone is a success!" Which the concert recording and the journey report impressively prove.
And now, in hindsight? How does the experiment feel from today's standpoint? Hubert von Goisern: "I need a breather, that's clear. It was exhausting. And I learned a great deal about myself and my tradition. And my tradition gives self-confidence, that is right. Without tradition you cannot communicate. Mind you, it can never topple over into chauvinism."
And the beautiful Africa eternally calls. "I want to go there again in a year at the latest. Africa works like a magnet on me."
Grenzenlos & Iwasig
Hubert von Goisern, the superb musician from Austria, is fascinated time and time again by experiencing the musical diversity of this planet and musically pondering on it himself.
Grenzenlos documents a 5 week Africa trip in spring 2002 through Egypt, the Cape Verde islands, Senegal and Burkina Faso, on which he played for and with native musicians, in search of a mutual musical language.
In summer and autumn 2002 he was then travelling in Europe again. Iwasig is a 133 minute concert recording from this tour. Real folk music with heart and mind.
In Africa and "at home"
Hubert von Goisern has two new DVDs in his luggage
On his trip through Africa in spring 2002 Hubert von Goisern played his current programme, Iwasig (which translated means over, above). In summer 2002 he goes on tour with his programme on an extensive tour "at home", which will be one of the most successful of his career. And: for the first time the new songs are presented live before they are to be had on CD. Aside from the complete Iwasig concert the DVD contains additional sequences from the backstage area, interviews and information on the accompanying musicians as further "sweets" (in fine Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound).
The Grenzenlos DVD reflects Hubert von Goisern's trip through the world: in Egypt together with the native superstar Mohamed Mounir he gives a celebrated concert in Assiut; in Praia, the capital of Cape Verde, von Goisern appears together with the native group Simentera; in the poor district of Ecopol he and his band played probably the best concert of this unusual tour. And: musical meetings of the archaic kind come to light on the way to difficult to reach villages in Senegal, where the inhabitants received the guests with traditional singing and danced to the songs Hubert von Goisern played on his accordion.
Hubert von Goisern on tour with with two new DVDs
Hubert von Goisern will be on tour in Austria and Germany from June to August. Those who want to get in the mood perfectly can do so with two simultaneous DVD releases. For one there is a concert recording of his iwasig tour from last year. Naturally here are presented the songs which were later released on the album of the same name. This concert especially shows again the influences with which Hubert von Goisern has become acquainted in other cultures. And it is about that exactly on the second DVD: his journeys to Egypt, Cape Verde, Senegal and Burkina Faso. A total of 120 minutes' documentary allows a look at the preparation of his concerts in these countries and the contact formed there with native musicians. In their simple composition, without impressive bonus material, both DVDs give an impression of the current musical development of Hubert von Goisern. In order to confirm this impression with your own experiences, you can go to a summer concert.
Hubert von Goisern lets loose a DVD avalanche
The DVDs Grenzenlos and Iwasig are the first releases
from Hubert von Goisern on BMG.
They stand for a change of strategy from his label Lawine.
"Actually we wanted to finally help Hubert von Goisern to an international breakthrough, but the good world music ties at Virgin proved to be a one way street," Hage Hein, manager of Munich-base Blanko Musik, justifies the change of his label Lawine to BMG. "Germany and Austria remain receivers in this genre and not sender countries for artists. Now the utilisation in the German-speaking area is the priority for us." But with it Hubert von Goisern is in better hands with the folk music friends BMG. The change of strategy comes at just a time when the singer from the Salzkammergut is making new international contacts.
In the past year, Goisern has toured through Africa in order to test how his music is received there. In Egyptian Assiut the Austrian played at the side of the star singer Mohamed Mounir in front of more than 15,000 people, and the group made an appearance in Dakar in the notorious poor district Ecopol. This trip was recorded on the double DVD Grenzenlos (82876518609), which BMG is releasing on 5th May. Hein: "The travel film shows the positive reaction of the people there. His music only encounters prejudices at the record companies." The new contacts are already bearing their first fruits. Goisern will play in Cape Verde in the middle of May. Afterwards follow appearances in Romania and possibly even a gig at WOMAD in Singapore. At the same time, Goisern and Mounir are touring together through Germany and Austria, starting from 19th June.
Goisern also tested the programme from his CD Iwasig - which in autumn 2002, still under Virgin, reached number 52 in the German album charts - for the first time in front of an African audience. Before the release he presented the new numbers on his hitherto most successful tour in the German-speaking area. Despite the new band lineup and largely unknown music, the audience were moved to storms of enthusiasm, as the concert DVD Iwasig (82876518599) also shows, which apart from a recording from the Iwasig tour, also contains recordings from backstage, interviews and information about the musicians.
An exceptional artist up close
Hubert von Goisern: Grenzenlos, Iwasig
Hubert von Goisern is spoiling his fans with two simultaneous DVD releases in the merry month of May: Iwasig is a recording of the 50 year old's most recent tour, and Grenzenlos is a kind of travel film for Hubert von Goisern's spectacular world music project, which led him all over the world. A bit much at once? Very much even, and that won't bother true fans.
The DVD of his Iwasig tour will be especially important to those who love Hubert von Goisern's music. Goisern, that alpine ethno enthusiast who is able to unite the folk music of all countries thanks to his Styrian button accordion, plays his complete concert programme of 18 titles here. This is not only complete, but also in quite extraordinary sound quality, at which the maker of the DVD has efficiently tinkered. The very intimate camera direction, which makes you think rather of a small club stage than of the usual large arenas, also raises the concert experience to an unbelievable concrete sound picture experience. Not just fans who left the ticket window empty-handed, but also concert visitors who came no closer than a metre are offered a great perspective.
Otherwise the DVD does not offer wonderful gimmicks. The presentation of the individual musicians in the form of interviews is helpful and endearing, the accompaniment, made possible via menu, of Goisern through a concert day too. But the strength of this DVD is the concert film of which you almost feel a part, the direct and immediate stage presence of the musician himself.
A piece of luck that he disposed of the rubbish from his old raging rock Alpinkatzen and hoisted these wonderful multicultural chaps into the boat. They are jazzy, ethno, rocky, poppy, Caribbean, alpinesque and sometimes all at once. Goisern primarily plays pieces from Fön, the Trad CD and the Iwasig CD, plus new numbers which will be found on his new studio CD expected in the autumn. It is great that the encores offer the immortal Heast as nit and the Kohler yodel.
When Hubert von Goisern received the offer from the Goethe Institute, to present his alpine music in Assiut / Egypt, he took the whole thing to be a mistake at first. A concert should be played together with the wonderful Egyptian-Nubian musician Mohamed Mounir, before which the two bands could only meet for a few hours. A hazardous business! By the way, an old acquaintance played the oud with Mounir's band, namely Roman Bunka, member of the first German ethno band Embryo. Thanks to this knowledge of language, the meeting also then led to a wonderful concert, even if only one piece was worked out together: this one piece is great! Instructed by his two main interests, music and travelling, after the Egypt experience, Goisern also moved to Cape Verde, Senegal and Burkina Faso, accompanied by a sensitive camera team which he had organised to his taste.
Who ever loves Goisern's concerts, they stick with his Iwasig DVD. In the case of the Grenzenlos DVD, you can rather speak of a calm travel report, which is suitable for fans who are interested in the person. Fans of non-European music, the people who go with it and foreign countries, can also have fun with this double DVD. Long breaks and a very personal leadership from Hubert von Goisern himself, who also entered these countries as a newcomer, let the journeys blend together to a beautiful report, which offers not only countries, people, adventures, but also a very thoughtful look at Goisern, the world and its music. The peaceful, beautiful view of the unknown countries, neither glossed over nor reproachful and underlined with Goisern's music, demonstrated without many words that we all live on one world, that we are people of one family. A universal language of pictures.
The small Munich Lawine label, Goisern's musical home, changed to agency of BMG Ariola with these ambitious publications. After the hoped for international breakthrough was missing with the past partner Virgin, one is now obviously betting on the folk music background in the BMG house, in order to at least advance into new dimensions in the German-speaking area.
Verdict: Film: very good; Sound: good; Picture: good; Extras: good