Hubert von Goisern in Egypt

EgyptIn 2002 Hubert von Goisern thrilled 15,000 Egyptian concert-goers with his "alpine world music". As part of the German Culture Days in Assiut, 375km south of Cairo, he travelled to Egypt intending to show how cultural differences could be overcome. The high point of the Culture Days was his joint appearance with the popular Nubian pop star Mohamed Mounir. The concert was the start of a tour through Africa, during which Hubert von Goisern and band played concerts in Cape Verde, Dakar and Burkina Faso.

A new day

25th June 2002 | Text: apa/Virgin

Hubert von Goisern on tour

Hubert von Goisern is much more than a representative of folk music. The Austrian takes familiar and long-standing things and places them in contrast to the exotic and completely new sounds. His new album Trad proves this. On 24/6/02 he is to be seen in the Konzerthaus in Vienna and on 21/7/02 in Klam at Burg Clam.

The musician Hubert von Goisern inspired about 15,000 Egyptian concert visitors with experimental folk music and Austrian jokes. Songs like A Neia Tag (A New Day) and Afrika were cheered in the Upper Egyptian city of Assiut despite the language differences. The 49 year old provided for the four hour concert together with the popular Egyptian pop singer Mohamed Mounir. The high point of the evening was a duet.

Home and abroad

Both musicians sing about homeland and origin in their songs as well as about foreign parts. Mind you, the alpine rocker was not totally happy with his appearance: "I felt out of place for long stretches," said von Goisern after the concert. He comes from the village of Bad Goisern and his civil name is Hubert Achleitner.

The Austrian musician will now continue his tour through West Africa. The concert was the high point of the "Culture Days" of the German-speaking countries. They were held for the first time in nine years when the organisation was brought to an abrupt end by terrorist attacks on Assiut. The organisers want to set an example and "show German-speaking presence", as a spokesperson for the Goethe Institute announced.

Alpine world music on the Nile

Bad Ischler Rundschau 21st March 2002 | Text & Photos: Josef H. Handlechner

After almost 4 hours, the concert of the year began in Assiut. "Welcome in Egypt," said Hussain. He is 20 years old. He wants to be a teacher, in three years he will have completed his studies. Wouldn't I like to sit down? He pointed to a chair. Thank you, but I prefer to stand - would he like to sit perhaps? "As long as you are standing I would not sit down myself. That would go against hospitality." Hussain is one of hundreds of young women and men who wait to see what will happen. A few metres away, Hubert von Goisern is giving a TV interview.

The Egyptians have christened him "the one with the saffron" on account of his yellow trousers and quite simply for simplicity. The sun still burns on the forecourt. It is hot in Assiut.

Two days earlier, Vienna airport: for Hubert von Goisern and band, a special journey is beginning. A joint appearance with the currently undisputed most popular Egyptian singer, Mohamed Mounir, in the framework of the Culture days of German-speaking countries in Assiut is certainly one of the high points.

Alpine world music for 15,000 visitors

Just before the flight the first surprise: The Nile Hall with 1,700 seats, originally planned for the concert is too small. Does anyone have anything against doing the event as an open air? No-one does. You reckon with 7,000 to 10,000 visitors, Enzio Wetzel from the Goethe Institute Cairo says to us as he collects us from the airport.

Before the assassination at Luxor in 1998, these Culture Days had occurred regularly. The new beginning should now also forge the first to the outside - no event for an elite circle, but a meeting between cultures with a large impact.

"Artists," says Hubert's manager Hage Hein, "can explain how it is: going away and still being at home." Do you need any further definition? Or does it rather need "artists" to be capable of such openness? "Many are not," says Hage, "but fortunately there is Hubert..."

As he, "the one with the saffron" then steps onto the stage, there wait not 7,000 but a good 15,000 - a vast sea of people. Scarcely one and a half hours are played, then Mohamed Mounir takes over. In the meantime both of them prove, with their joint presence on the stage, just how easy it can be to forge links between such different cultures - if people will only have it.

"Ma'a as-salam" Hubert von Goisern calls out to the crowd: "Auf Wiedersehen". Or, somewhat more sloppily translated: "Tschüß". "Peace be with you" would also be a perfectly adequate translation... along with many others.

To West Africa on Sunday

Egypt was just the beginning, on Sunday Hubert von Goisern and his musicians are heading further towards West Africa. They will be there for three weeks and will play concerts on Cape Verde, in Dakar and in Burkina Faso.

Jodleiri Huidiridi

Stuttgarter Zeitung 18th March 2002

Goethe makes it possible: Hubert von Goisern in Egypt

There is really no reason that speaks well for Assiut. The city lies an arduous six hours by car from Cairo up the Nile, has no sights worth mentioning and also otherwise presents itself very dismally. If need be, cultural life happens in the 60,000 student university campus, a centre of the extensive concrete area built in the 90s, which has two approaches from the north and south which are guarded by the military. Here, where there has been conflict between Copts and Muslims for decades, where at the beginning of the 90s the debates made the headlines and today most Egyptians are still convinced that the city is one of, if not the, stronghold of fundamentalism, one simply does not want anything to happen.

At least no foreigners or even tourists should be involved. There these people are strongly escorted along the street and are sent for walks through the city with soldiers as accompanying protection. But exactly because nothing really speaks well for this city, it speaks unbelievably well for it, to therefore accept it. So the originators at the Goethe Institute in Cairo saw and see it, who together with the diplomatic embassies from Switzerland, Austria and the Federal Republic as well as the Assiut University invited this week to the local Culture Days. And so it happened that a couple of days ago, the Egyptian pop star Mohamed Mounir and the Austrian alpine world musician Hubert von Goisern stood together on the stage in the Nile Theatre in front of almost 15,000 people.

But in order. Since one with the Goethe Institute Inter Nationes, as it is so beautifully called, had reconstructed and at the moment more and more people understand that a dialogue between the culture very probably brings something, the employees can again turn towards specialist work. Indeed the 128 institutes in the 76 represented regions with their 1,300 colleagues still need a bit more money, but on the other hand: it could be worse, it also even gone worse. Because the linguistic further education at the Goethe Institutes is not everything and one sees oneself as a culture agent, running through the programme reading, lectures, theatre performances, concerts, film presentations or workshops. Things like this at the Culture Days in Assiut, which one wants to totally hold deliberately in the neglected province. The relationship between Europe and Egypt is lectured on, Tom Tykwers cinema sensation Lola rennt was shown, a photo exhibition was opened - or just, as the high point, so to speak, an open air concert was organised. But how come for Heaven's sake, did the Goethe Institute in overall charge come to the Austrian musician, Hubert von Goisern of all people?

Of course that is interesting. It is namely a wonderful example of how the dialogue between such different cultures like those of Arabic and Western European world can work. Since Hubert von Goisern had developed from his Alpinkatzen image a long time ago, since he has recorded two albums with West African and Tibetan music and had proved again and again that in his music he is very open-minded to other cultures, to the planners at the Goethe Institute, he justifiably seemed to be Mr Right. And how do things stand with Mohamed Mounir? He grew up in Aswan - and shows that one can also have success outside Cairo. His pop-orientated music has unmistakable roots in the most different genres of Arabic and African music. And his lyrics are without exception political and social, in which Mounir sees himself as the spokesperson of the cultural and religious mutuality of the Orient and Occident.

As far the two artists, who had not met until a few hours before the concert, if it had been awkward, then they would have completed their appearances one after the other and would have gone home again.

But both knew that it is not a normal concert, that it is above all about a meeting - and for that you must just meet. So they met before the concert in a hotel room in order to warm-up a bit, to get a feeling for it, how it is to play music with each other. Faster than they thought, the two found a common key, not just in a musical respect. One was enthusiastic about the Styrian accordion, the other about the open-mindedness of the great Egyptian pop star who should later introduce him on stage and play two songs together with him. And because it was so great, they are working on another joint appearance in Vienna - this autumn.

And how did the audience react who neither understood Hubert von Goisern's language nor his music and who only really came for Mohamed Mounir? Naturally they did not cheer and shriek like they did for Mounir. But with about half the Austrian's songs it is clear that it does not have to be so important: rhythms, melodies and vocals go down well, the lyrics are then not so important - something which is to be seen with the song Heast as nit. Whether Arab or European, nobody has any idea what the refrain "Huidiei jodleiri huidiei" signifies and still people are touched at this point. A potential with which the Goethe Institute organisers can work.

More than twice as many people came to the concert as expected; it clicked between both the audience and the artist as well as between the two artists, despite the immense contingent of soldiers and armed security forces there was no incident. That ought to encourage more mutual events of this kind!

Until the weekend the Austrian musician and Arab musicians tried every possible and impossible thing in workshops, a flugelhorn combining with an Afghan flute, accompanied by the oud, the Arabic short-necked lute. And perhaps you just simply see that there on the other side, that of the Arabs, that of the Europeans, are completely normal people. One is then completely certain that one has reached the point where one talks so happily of dialogue of cultures and the two way street. And since six months ago this should be especially important. At least very many people speak of it. Fortunately some also do something about it.

A yodeller in the desert: Hubert von Goisern in Egypt

Pipeline 15th March 2002 | Text: Antje Glück
Mohammed Mounir and Hubert von Goisern

Cairo/Assiut (dpa) - Exhausted and sweaty, Hubert von Goisern stands in the Assiut University Guesthouse in upper Egypt. The folk rocker from Austria and his five band members just have their first appearance in the Orient behind them. "For me it was a historic event and I am grateful that I could be there," said Hubert von Goisern thoughtfully.

Only fraction of the 15,000 concert guests - mostly students - felt prompted to dance by his yodels and accordion improvisations. But nevertheless many of the listeners had an open ear for the foreign sounds from the alpine country. "I thought the music was great, but I did not understand the songs," said 20 year old Ahmed after the concert. He and his friend Mahmud were especially taken with the singer's accordion. The flute solo in the African song Akipenda also impressed them.

The organisers of the Culture Days of German speaking areas in Assiut - the Goethe Institute Cairo, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German, Austrian and Swiss embassies - had scarcely hoped for more than a "first mutual sniffing out". For Assiut was regarded as the stronghold of the Islamic Fundamentalism in Egypt. After several terror attacks in the 90s, there had scarcely been any foreign visitors to the city, which lies 380km south of Cairo.

Also during the culture days, in which this week - apart from music - theatre, lectures and films were also offered, the Egyptians were concerned about the safety of the foreign guests. The security forces put an escort alongside each German who stayed outside the university grounds. "I knew that this city was a centre of violence. For this reason, an appearance here is much more exciting than a concert in Cairo," said von Goisern.

It is above all heated at the Egyptian/Austrian concert on Tuesday evening when the Egyptian superstar Mohamed Mounir steps onto the stage. The audience push so heavily on every side that the police have to make a free path for Hubert von Goisern with batons, so the Austrian could play two songs together with Mohamed Mounir. "If one is not familiar with the way the security forces treat the audience, it can give you a shock," said Hubert von Goisern later.

The Egyptian fans took the actions of the police calmly and the duet was a complete success. As von Goisern seized the accordion and then also yodelled to Mounir's rousing Nubian rhythms, the Egyptian masses enthusiastically celebrated him. The two musicians obviously had fun together. "See, music is a mutual language which we can all understand, that is much better than war and blood," Mounir called to his fans.

15,000 enthusiastic students cheer Mohamed Mounir & Hubert von Goisern in Assiut

Goethe Institute 14th March 2002 | Photos: © Alex Schütz

As the high point of the Culture Days in Assiut, the Cairo/Alexandria Goethe Institute organised a joint concert with Hubert von Goisern and Mohamed Mounir. Von Goisern, one of the most successful rock exports from Austria, became known in the 90s through his individual alpine rock sound. With his band the Original Alpinkatzen, he successful blended traditional Austrian music elements with modern rock. In 1999 (sic) the formation broke up and von Goisern dedicated himself completely to world music and let these exotic sounds pour into his music. One of his numerous journeys through the world led von Goisern now to Middle Egypt where he met the Egyptian pop star Mohamed Mounir.

In front of 15,000 spectators in Upper Egypt: Hubert von Goisern meets Mohamed Mounir

Goethe Institute 14th March 2002

On Tuesday evening more than 15,000 people cheered the two singers Hubert von Goisern and Mohamed Mounir at the last concert of the Culture Days organised by the Goethe Institute Inter Nationes in Assiut, Upper Egypt. "I admit I had weak knees when it was ready and I went on stage. The feeling of happiness was even greater when I felt the delight and affection which was shown for me by everyone," with these words Hubert von Goisern described his impressions after the concert in the Nile Theatre.

The musical meeting of the most popular Egyptian pop star Mohamed Mounir and the Austrian musician and singer Hubert von Goisern was rated as a definite sign against cultural narrow-mindedness. The place of the concert, the Upper Egyptian city of Assiut, attained a sad fame in the 90s as the centre of violent Islamic Fundamentalism. "I am grateful for this meeting with the country, the city, the people, the culture, with Mohamed Mounir and his musicians. I am grateful for the links the Goethe Institute has forged," said an enthusiastic Hubert von Goisern.

This evening (14th March) the Austrian songwriter is meeting in Cairo together with Egyptian musicians, the band Downtown, the oud player Nasseer Shama and the violinist Abdou Dagir. A further appearance of the alpine pop artist is planned for October 2002 at the Modern Folk Festival in Cairo.

Folk musician Hubert von Goisern presents new album in Egypt

dpa 13th March 2002

Hubert von GoisernCairo/Assiut: With experimental folk music and Austrian language jokes, the musician Hubert von Goisern inspired 15,000 Egyptian concert visitors on Tuesday evening.

Songs like A Neia Tag (A New Day) and Afrika were cheered in the Upper Austrian city of Assiut despite the language difference. The four hour concert was provided for by the 49 year old Austrian together with the popular Egyptian pop singer Mohamed Mounir. Both singers sing about both homeland and origin as well as foreign parts in their songs.

Mind you, the alpine rocker was not completely satisfied with his concert appearance: "I felt out of place for long stretches," said von Goisern after the concert. His new album is hitherto nameless and should probably be released this year. Von Goisern will now continue his tour through West Africa.

Desert country dance

WOM 5/2002 | Text: Stefan Krulle

At the threshold from Middle Ages to Modern, the people of Egypt are grateful for each hint. Hubert von Goisern has now bravely carried alpine world music into the Islamic stronghold, far from Cairo.

Your tracks in sand ...

The political issue silences you the first time. Journeys to Arabia are currently as exciting as opportune. When you arrive, you force yourself into the role of the inconspicuous observer, with which you immediately make a fool of yourself because it works for two minutes at best. The pale blonde is never inconspicuous here, but he stands out again and again as something different. In Cairo as a tourist.

"Very good car, German good car" assures the taxi driver, his 66 Heckflosser has not 2 million kilometres on it. The car is almost new. Then he swaps the cassette of Arabian plastic pop for one of German plastic pop and turns it up dreadfully loud. Can Colonial times have been far worse, is it at an end or are the ways just different? In any case, the journey in the Mercedes is also a bit more expensive here, despite the music.

Through the Eastern Sahara at 70, the military does not like to drive any faster, and we are not allowed to travel without the military. Since the Islamic attacks on tourist groups in Luxor in 1997, one is officially advised in an organised panic, so a heavily armed quartet drive in the jeep in front, which changes to fresh personnel at every second road block. Not evaluating at all what makes sense here and what does not. And which perhaps in the end only provokes the Egyptians.

Tea break in the Al-Fayyum Oasis. Wherever we get off, we are stared at. Hubert von Goisern, whom we are accompanying to Arabia for his first concert, has become completely silent and shy. Still 40 hours until the concert. The Goethe Institute Cairo invited him, he is to play before Mohamed Mounir, Egypt's superstar.

On the Assiut campus, the Fundamentalist capital on the Nile, where one can no longer sail with cruisers on the Nile on grounds of security. Even Hercule Poirot has to take the train, which is also not safe any more.

Enzio Wetzel and Hubert von GoisernBut there is a reason that the Kulturtage 2002, organised by Germany, Austrian and Switzerland together, is taking place in the diaspora and not in Cairo. "The capital attracts all the money and people, there must be a counterbalance!" says Enzio Wetzel, who runs the Goethe Institute in Cairo. At the moment, mind you, he is handing out very tasty bananas among the passengers.

34 degrees in the shade, nevertheless, the air conditioning in the somehow gets in the way. For hours sand left and right, dusty air. It is annoying at first before calm sets in. The land swallows you like a mire until the minutes seem to be longer. Half an hour to the next checkpoint, twice the man on lookout stretches his legs. That is suddenly exciting. Where do all the tomatoes come from, which they drive to the North in ludicrously decomposing vehicles? And when is Assiut coming? The first trees, with dusty grey leaves. A gate, green and made of iron, heavily guarded.

The university, such a building as the Soviets earlier gave the Egyptians. Nobody else in Assiut lives in such high quality, but nobody else is also guarded so heavily. We are recommended with emphasis not to leave the university square kilometre on any account. There are lunch packets with lots of meat, which is in contrast to the good atmosphere of the guests. The meat is terribly dry, we may be impolite. That is only possible in the group, alone we would have had to have been brave and eat up. Outside, male students gaze at us - and female students. 7000 people indulge in the vocational training here, almost half of them are females. Headscarves are enough in "liberal" Egypt. Women without one belong to Copts. Christians, whose one "freedom" is the women's missing headscarf.

Now a cool beer! But there is not one. Somewhere here in Assiut there should be a hotel with a dark bar and real Pils, but funnily enough nobody knows any more. Where the city centre is, they also do not want to know. We find it nevertheless, right next door. It is not very nice, but wonderfully confused and stranger than anything I have ever seen. In these towns it still smells. Sometimes it stinks. Chickens are slaughtered in the street, clothes sewed, fruit weighed up, lambs legs hung up with damp cloths.

And Europeans are like Martians in the Cologne Carnival. "Welcome to Egypt" they call to us a thousand times, they want to shake our hands, call us a taxi, be photographed. That especially often.

"To be captured on film," it says in our guidebook, " robs the Mohammedan of his face". That is probably a bit right, "but after that you carry a piece of our soul in your hearts!" a brave young girl from Assiut tells us. Almost everyone is a poet here.

The concert moves closer. By European standards, in the afternoon the sound system is ready so that one could play two days later. But five thousand visitors are expected for this evening, approximately. Ones does not know, there are no tickets, everything is free of charge. In the city again, one could withstand it. Children gather around us, one increases the physical closeness here. We take a female colleague with us into the tea house, we are allowed to, but some guests prefer to leave. The city is excited, the first ever concert here. We barely manage to make our way back to the Uni, the 5000 has doubled. Right at the front there are places for the guests of honour, behind us they press against barriers. In Europe one would flee now, but here is does not reach difficulties, even though nobody knows why.

Hubert stands in the footlights and has swotted two Arabic sentences. "I had never had such weak knees," he says the next day. They get a bit weaker when nobody claps after the first song and nevertheless everyone is in a good mood. Someone tells Hubert that in Egypt people do not applaud between songs, Hubert looks happier. They like their music, they dance, smile, climb up on the balconies and in the facades of the five storey university. In Europe there would have been deaths, but there is no beer here. After a good hour comes Mohamed Mounir. We are told that he is a star here. That was understating it. He is rather the Messiah. Drank beer in his room, saw more than a woman without a head scarf, smelled freedom and could go if he wanted to. But they all know that, even in Assiut, where barely one in ten had seen a concert before.

Therefore we are more interesting and we barely get to the steps to the hotel, right next to the stage. Thirty new friends in five minutes, no problem. "Which football club do you like?", "Please, take a photo", "Are you Christian?" - "No, I have no God". Short silence, "No God?" - "No, definitely not." - "We love you. No God is freedom!" One often seems so terribly naïve here. But quite possible that they mean such things honestly. The young girls in the city also asked "our" woman what life without great hurdles meant.

It is deep in the night, I am still thinking about what Hubert's cheerful yodel could have meant to an Egyptian in Assiut. The idea of a vague possibility perhaps. Naturally they do not seldom hate their life here. Without friends and family and with some money, many would have been away a long time ago. And denominations like the Muslims and Copts become more and more of a scourge. With cultural missions like these, not only Enzio Wetzel is convinced about that, can "become a mediator". And a preventative measure.

When people know each other, hate is no longer so easy. A rush, but one of significance. "If the situation in Israel does not change," says Wetzel still very diplomatically, "painstakingly won terrain will be thoughtlessly easily gambled away again. And if the USA possibly attacks Iraq, a volcano will go off here." That sounds dramatic, and it is dramatic. As Hubert von Goisern and Mohamed Mounir sang together for the clueless souls of Assiut, the world was in order for an evening on the forgotten Nile. The next day however, the news does not bode well once again. It seems to matter to the retaliation preachers Sharon and Arafat to bring the aforementioned volcano to an explosion alone. No song will hinder them, and the political situation silences us.

Hubert von Goisern & Band in Egypt

2002 | Photos: © Alex Schütz

Hubert von Goisern and Mohamed Mounir

WOM April 2002

A yodel is a friendly sound and seems like a "come in". Perhaps therefore the expression rises dangerously over the barrier after Hubert von Goisern's first verses, as each of his Egyptian spectators wants to personally shake the hand of the unknown man.

In Assiut, far from Cairo and disreputable as the Islamic stronghold one would have thought that the alpine world musician would have met his Waterloo, not triumphed. Ten thousand young Egyptians turned up for the concert, they were all starved, most had never been to a concert before. Nevertheless: the star of the evening was their compatriot Mohamed Mounir whose glory and significance in these parts can be compared to a Westernhagen. But because the Egyptian men (the Egyptian women also only came here in passing) honour curiosity and hospitality exactly the same, they celebrated with Hubert to the best of their abilities. And really the foreign melodies, the elementary percussive direction of the band lies closer to the Nile than the Elbe or Spree. But what if the star steps into the turbulent circle? Keep calm, celebrating like the Pharaoh's sons, who also without each drop of ungodly alcohol drunkenly provide the star with a choir. We did not understand Mounir, but he must have had something important to say. They hope with him, they do not like their strictly gazed upon youth, they would rather talk about football than surahs and bow to nonreligious people.

Mohamed had beer in the room, Hubert had the idea of the wide, bright world in his voice, Assiut had the evening of the year and we believe again in the wonder weapon of music.

"We have sown a seed"


Egyptian Mohamed Mounir and Austrian Hubert von Goisern in joint concert

GrenzenlosYodelling among pyramids, holleraähdullioöh in the land of the pharaohs, alpine rock in the orient?

Eight years ago the masters of writing would have been only too glad to use this cliché and celebrated the leap of the first representative of "new alpine rock" over the Mediterranean Sea into the Near East. The times of such superficiality and such simpler ways of looking at musician Hubert von Goisern are past. The Austrian developed from folk to world musician a long time ago. Evidence of this was shortly to happen at Assiut in Upper Egypt at a concert with Hubert von Goisern and Egyptian idol Mohamed Mounir.

Hubert von Goisern took this opportunity to present his new programme Grenzenlos 2002. Until the last moment though it was not clear that organisers' concept would work, of musically joining the East and the West and so there was a joint performance by Mounir and Goisern.

Yes it is successful: 15,000 euphoric visitors cheered the performance. "A seed has been sown" says Goisern, or as is evident from the point of view of Mounir "that making music together is stronger than blood and war".

However until the last moment the effort was felt behind the stage, until the last moment neither Mounir or Goisern were convinced that "it" could work.

This spectacular joint meeting was organised by the Goethe Institute in Cairo (footnote: already the old privy councillor was an admirer of oriental art of poetry and also considerably influenced by it). The programme department manager, Enzio Wetzel, intentionally chose Assiut as the scene. The German Days took place there until 1996, before the terror attacks on German tourists brought an end to this joint initiative of the German-speaking countries.

Admittedly the 11th September did not make the situation any easier. And this city beside Cairo with its 60,000 student most important university town, nevertheless offered the right platform for this bold experiment.

Whoever asks an Egyptian (and it is an Egyptian newspaper seller in the Salzkammergut) about this city, will get a negative response, for a long time Assiut was considered to be the centre of the fundamentalists and is still identified with the origin of the assassins of President Anwar el Sadat. The university was an Islamic stronghold. Accordingly radically the state power also proceeded with the fight.

Hubert von Goisern and his band experienced how strained the atmosphere still is (state of emergency) through the fact that they could only go on journeys protected by a military escort. Even the visit to the rest of the peaceful and pleasant-looking city without armed personal security was only possible for the guests from Austria and Germany after repeated and substantial references to the requirement of hospitality!

Nevertheless, good conditions for a "cultural clash" in this way: the people are starved and long for a cultural meeting. Hubert von Goisern is convinced that "they did not noticed any tensions on or behind the stage." In the end the perspective "being defeated victoriously" was nearer to him.

The audience itself pressed on the barriers and finally stormed the back and side stage in excitement, some hundred curious onlookers made themselves comfortable in the windows and on the roof of the half-finished hotel behind the stage. Hubert von Goisern assessed that "the danger that something happens, that is comes to riots against he police or that someone falls from the roof which was being danced on 30 - 40 metres up was greater than the chance that everything works out well." And a single incident would have had only one consequence in the face of the contingent of security forces: "That something like this concert ought not to take place any more in the foreseeable future."

Hubert von GoisernThe fact that it did not come to the possible incidents is above all because of "Magician Mounir" (Goisern) who succeeded in "making the people friendly". Hubert von Goisern quickly recognised a congeniality of spirit in Mounir: "he does indeed come from another culture, but he stands for the same things as I do: he admits his regional roots, but translates to the international world."

Therefore it was easier for the Austrian to explain with Mounir's music as for example with the Tibetans' music: both cultures has fascinated me since childhood. Mind you, I have found it easier with his music than with the Tibetan music, which stands as protection of old traditions. He stands in the here and now with his music."

Mounir draws from the Nubian traditions, which above all the rhythm through his four member percussion group (here above all the Nubian Duff and Egyptian Darabuka come into action) and the melodies clarify. The modern view of his music playing certainly explains the reggae guitar and the jazz trumpet in his band. And also the form and length of the numbers points to pollination from outside.

The Nubian minor key pentatonic, which Mounir falls back on in almost all his numbers makes it easy for Hubert von Goisern in the end "to 'take them away' with the accordion and in a major key and to unfold an individual story."

Mounir and Goisern are agreed "that it was somewhat unusual and must be done again." Goisern: "It is not permissible to judge from it any other situation from another place, but to hope for a better intercultural understanding, and thus mistrust and be afraid of fewer people receiving nourishment through this action" and called the evening 'legendary'. The daily TV pictures from the neighbouring countries of this region let us assume that this style of meeting is supposedly unthinkable.

The experience addict Goisern is travelling again with his band. Cape Verde, Senegal and Burkina Faso will be travelled for three weeks, some concerts and meetings with musicians will take place.

Afterwards he will go into the studio with this experience input in order to record the new programme and to appear in the German-speaking countries from May. It is astonishing that Hubert von Goisern has obviously already renewed his concept: lots of rhythm and 'party' characterise the concerts of 2002.