Yodeller to Egyptian pop

Allgemeine Zeitung 30th June 2003 | Text: Albert Hoehner

Zeltfestival today with Hubert von Goisern and Mohamed Mounir

Austrian and globetrotter, trained musician and autodidact, folk musician and rebel: Hubert von Goisern combines blues, rock, reggae, loans from heavy metal and the groove from bongo drums with the sound world of the Alps, which is shaped by the accordion and by the yodel, to an unrestrained style mix. In Assiut (Egypt) in the previous year, he met Egyptian pop star Mohamed Mounir. After some joint songs at the concert (in front of 15,000 people) and after a long evening together, the two recognised that "we must simply do something together". This evening, 19.00, they stand together on the stage at the Zeltfestival.

How dangerous was your trip to Assiut?

From terrorist assassination attempts in the past, Assiut had a very doubtful reputation and was considered the stronghold of Islamic extremists. The joint concert from me and Mounir was the first musical event there in a long time and the people seemed to me to be really "starved" of cultural events. The safety precautions were very extreme, armed security personnel, , the festival area blocked. But the concert ran completely peacefully - although in the long run, the people celebrated over all barriers, in front of, beside and even on stage with us. All in all, things happened very peacefully during the trip.

But in the long run, did the common groove show that the people on the spot are further along than (party) ideologists and dogmatic believers would like to fool you. Did that correspond with your experience on the Cape Verde islands, in Senegal etc ?

My experience as well as during the Egypt tour as also during the West Africa tour, was that music, above all, playing music together, can be a connecting link between all cultures. Like a common language, which everyone can understand. The starvation of the Egyptian audience - and naturally the presence of Mohamed Mounir, who is a superstar in Egypt - certainly contributed to the liveliness which reigned there. In West Africa, the fact that the people are so poor added to it, that culture has another worth. At home, people consider whether they want to spend the evening at the cinema, at the theatre or at home in front of the TV. The listeners are more curious where the offer is smaller.

Music as a universal language, as international understanding, as a power of change - should you not hang that too high? With us, music and culture are frequently only adorned election additions of politics which looks for short-term contact to those at grass roots level.

When music and culture manage to create contact to the base, then that only speaks for the significance of music as a universal language. Naturally such a thing is also exploited, but that also lies in the judgment of the artist, whether he wants to support such a thing or not. For me, world music is open and attainable for everyone; we can link up with our listening habits. Music does not only arise in the head of the musician, but also in the head of the listener - since a nonverbal understanding beyond preconceptions arises.

Had you thought that the yodel, the accordion would harmonise with the Egyptian, Nubian music?

Mohamed Mounir does not play Arabic folk music, but pop music, you find a way into that with Western ears much more quickly. The Nubian music strongly goes into the African, which relatively simply comprises of plain rhythms. I always try to understand Mounir's music in its totality. Then it is revealed where which accordion sounds, which yodel fits.

How has the joint music arisen? You began to play joint pieces on the spot, then you and Mounir sent music files to each other via internet and the music, your programme developed further?

The sending of sound files here and there partly worked; it only then clicked when you played music live. Mohamed Mounir came to Bad Ischl with his band a few days before the start of the tour and we had the opportunity there to practise the joint pieces.

The audience are "voyeurs" for you, who sit in the dark and watch how you do your "crazy things" on stage, "live it up". What do the people expect at your "peep show" at the Mainz Zeltfestival?

First of all, there is a concert with just Mohamed Mounir and his band. After that, a complete concert from me and my band. Following that, we stand on the stage with joint pieces as "encore".

"There is a need for cultural exchange"

Forging the first link: Hubert von Goisern and Mohamed Mounir make a joint appearance today

Hubert von Goisern, world musician from Austria, undertook a concert trip to Egypt in 2002 under instruction from the Goethe Institute. In Assiut, von Goisern and the Nubian star Mohamed Mounir appeared in front of 15,000 people. The cultural exchange also works in reverse. Mounir is accompanying the Austrian on his tour, which leads him today to the Killesberg (20.00). Henning Dedekind spoke to him.

Mr von Goisern, how was your music received in Egypt?

Well, the people there are naturally not cut off from the West. There are record shops and the internet. In Assiut, mind you, something like an information backwardness rules. That is a realm hermetically shielded by the army, from which it is claimed it would be the centre of Fundamentalism.

How do you feel when you step onto the stage in the centre of Fundamentalism? Were you worried?

At first, I did not think much about it, when in the run-up to the journey, everyone threw up their hands at the name Assiut. I just remembered that people also live there who have all the same needs - namely to lead a life in peace and security and at the same time to celebrate one party or another. But then as the presence of the security forces increased, the closer we came to Assiut, this feeling stuck on me. I went on stage with shaking knees.

You already had 5,000 enthusiastic listeners at the soundcheck. Does music have a different status from here?

Concerts are not everyday things/ Mind you, there are four or five TV channels which broadcast music around the clock and is received from Morocco to Iraq. There, they don't just run things, as they do here, that should or must be sold, but music contributions from the 50s next to modern things or three minute songs next to twenty minute pieces. There is a bright variety which I envy this culture.

Have your host and your yourself profited from the meeting for your further musical creativity?

It cannot be understood so concretely. It is about a fundamental openness with playing music, which you train and promote through such meetings.

The project has gained a political dimension with the Iraq war. Was that your original intention?

When we planned the tour, the subject of terrorism was not on the table at all. But it was already clear at that time that there is a need for cultural exchange, for a cooperation and a better understanding for the cultural area of the Arabic countries.

Do you believe that music can really unite people?

Music can really make something happen with people. To exaggerate, a concert is something like a mass, something that unites people. In the case of Assiut, 15,000 people concentrated on the same events. A tape recording cannot achieve that.

Do you see yourself in the role of a musical ambassador?

Earlier I travelled alone a great deal and sang from my cultural area for the people in other countries. Some people find it funny or strange, but most are interested and listen. I would like to not leave this understanding between people from different cultures to industry or politics. Funny things always emerge when you reduce culture to diplomacy or economics.

A chain of memories

Süddeutsche Zeitung 21st June 2003 | Text: Michael Zirnstein

Hubert von Goisern on his concert with the Egyptian singer Mohamed Mounir

Shyly smiling, the unknowns, who do not understand the language of the other, greet each other: Mohamed Mounir, Nubian pop star, and his guest from Austria, the alpine and world musician Hubert Achleitner, called Hubert von Goisern, before their joint concert in the Egyptian Fundamentalist stronghold of Assiut. Outside jostle 17,000 curious people. 20 minutes to become acquainted. It is easiest with music since they are the same: two liberals, who "translate their regional roots internationally". 15 months later, after von Goisern's adventurous Africa tour (documentary release on DVD on Blanko Musik) it comes to a return visit in Munich: Von Goisern and Mounir (including a 14 member orchestra) appear in the series Roots & Routes on Sunday at 20.00 in BR's Studio 1 (Rundfunkplatz 1). Before, at 18.30, von Goisern spoke in a specialist circle in Studio 3 about world music.

When Mohamed Mounir and his people began to play at your first meeting in the hotel, you seemed very concentrated. What goes through your mind when you hear foreign music?

I try to feel the melody (he closes his eyes, folds his hands), come into the rhythm and get the formal course. It is different in every culture. I try to get a feeling for it. And when I don't manage that, I simply count in my head, where the one is, where the melody begins. I concentrate in order to understand and recognise where there is a place for me. I listen in myself to what I could sing along or play with the accordion, that happens in your head by itself.

Does Nubian music use the same tuning as the Western music, or does everything have an unharmonious quirk?

Mounir's band had a well-tempered keyboard. There is indeed also special keyboard tuning for Arabic music. But Nubian is different from classical Arabic music. That enters into Black African and is strictly pentatonic, which means simpler, plainer, and so not as complicated.

Above this concert are the keywords "musical dialogue of cultures". Is that not an elitist thought, because predominantly experts communicate it, who know the technical language of music?

I don't think so. Busoni (the musical innovator Ferruccio Busoni, 1866 - 1924) said, the audience determines 50% of a concert. Music is first music when it is heard. You make a sound: "Baah". And it's gone. It exists only in your memory. A melody is a chain of memories. When Mounir and I do something together, then it first becomes music in the minds of the people. The listeners have to get involved. The coming in, if I start from myself, is always a little demanding. But relaxing too. And Mounir makes pop music, a language which is understood the world over.

World music for beginners?

What is world music for advanced students? I only ask, because the term world music is rather problematic. Is world music ethnic music from Goisern, or with the Eskimos, as they only play it there? Or does world music, as I understand it, very probably have an ethnic centre, but stands in the here and now, and not only in an area with its one tradition. It is not isolated, and in the moment where there are open ends, we can link up with our listening habits.

Is the readiness of people in Africa generally greater, to listen to strange, ie your, music?

Yes, everything is different there. The people are so poor that the culture has a very different worth. At home people consider whether they should go to the theatre, watch TV or have a party. The curiosity is greater there, where the offer is modest, than with us.

In your film it looks like the people would also rather join in.

Certainly. With us, there are still only specialists: trained listeners and trained musicians. In Africa, music is an ingredient of life, everywhere is danced, sung, drummed, at football, at births and deaths.

Does the cultural dialogue work better where all "music speaks"?

I think so. At concerts there is not the demand: I am the artist, you be quiet and listen. And nobody there says: "I can't sing".

In Africa, many people know you as "the man with the saffron trousers". You have many requests to play music here and there with African musicians.

It is a recognition. The tour should forge the first link. And when a bridge is there, it should be stepped onto. Unfortunately I cannot do everything. It is exciting to really to get involved with one another and you can only do that with a handful of people.

In the current situation, do you worry about accepting invitations to an Arabic place?

I would love to go down there again, perhaps to Cairo. Certainly there is a risk. But I don't like such generalisations, the whole population of a belt of land is radical. I mean, I come from Goisern, a place where Haider comes from too. At the moment I worry that something will happen to Mounir or his family, or that he perhaps cannot come away any more. The two female singers who he had with him the last time, cannot come with him any more, but have to run around in veils because of the Muslims. There are hotheads everywhere.

An Egyptian, an Austrian, a groove

AP 4th June 2003

München (AP) The Goethe Institute was to blame. In spring 2002 this institution, which carries the German spirit worldwide, brought a temporarily rough-and-ready folk musician to Egypt and brought him together there with a like-minded soul: Hubert von Goisern with Mohamed Mounir. Now they are going on tour together.

At their first meeting, Goisern and Mounir had twenty minutes to find a mutual musical line. The few minutes were easily enough.

"We plonked away together a bit and immediately noticed that we liked each other," Hubert von Goisern says of the first meeting: "Without speaking we quickly found a mutual groove. You meet so many people in the course of your life. But with only a few does it immediately go 'click!'. Mohamed Mounir is such a case." Three hours after their first meeting, Mounir and Goisern played a concert together in Upper Egyptian Assiut, documented on the recently released DVD Grenzenlos, on which Goisern has condensed his appearances and his experiences in Burkina Faso, on the Cape Verde islands, in Dakar and in Egypt into a fascinating musical travel report.

Especially amazing is this fast harmony between Mounir and Goisern, but on a second look it is not. Where Goisern mostly opens new worlds and audiences as comfortably and calmly presented alpine folk music with rock guitars and ethno grooves, Mohamed Mounir does similar things with the Nubian-Egyptian music of his homeland. He had to leave his domicile, when the Egyptians built the Assuan dam in 1972. Like many other Nubians, he went to Cairo and there, with a mixture of original Nubian music, Egyptian sounds and western pop influences, he found his own voice and his own style - and many fans, but also Fundamentalist criticism.

Mounir is a protest singer, who has already worked with the Munich ethno legend Embryo, nevertheless he is not a protester. "He indeed addresses many disagreeable things," Hubert von Goisern explains in interview with AP, "but all in all, you must look at that more diversely from our point of view: in the Third World the circumstances are often so unfavourable that it is the first job of an artist to show that life is still beautiful. That is a completely different starting point."

New ways in foreign cultures

In the meantime, Hubert von Goisern knows what he is talking about. After the commercial breakthrough with Hiatamadl, it wasn't long before the Austrian from the Salzburg area searched for new musical ways, which mostly led him away from western-style pop. It pushed him to Asia and Africa. Self-awareness blended with foreign aid and with joy to the experiment. "We have great fortune here. If you live in Salzburg or in Munich or in Bremen, you can see almost all cultures of the world. Almost every musician comes past at one time. In Africa or Tibet, you have practically no chance to see a concert which brings you closer to another culture than your own. It was so exciting to see at the concerts there how the people react. And naturally you learn a lot about yourself when you move in a sphere in which things are not obvious which you consider to be obvious."

That is all to be experienced on the Grenzenlos DVD. But the musical worlds which open for Goisern in the process even also became almost too much for him. "So many projects could have arisen from it. But I don't want to constantly work and make music. As nice as it is."In any case, ethno-folk-pop fans can look forward to the summer tour and the cooperation with Mohamed Mounir.

In Africa with the accordion

Teleschau May 2003

(tsch) Hubert von Goisern sits relaxed in his manager's Munich house, fruit juice and tea in front of him, and again he looks damn good! In a quiet, nice atmosphere, Mr Hubert Sullivan (50, looks 40!), who became world famous with his alpine ethno, tells of his musical experiences in Egypt and Africa.

Hallo Hubert, what is the exact occasion for this interview?

Actually I never know why I am doing promotion because it does not interest me.

Among other things, it is about your DVD Grenzenlos. It contains few current pieces...

Right, the new pieces from the Iwasig CD from September 2002 and the whole new programme are to be found on the concert DVD Iwasig.

How did you come to the musical travel report Grenzenlos?

The idea actually came from the Goethe Institute. They invited us to Assiut in Upper Egypt on the Nile. At first I thought it would be a mistake and said to them: "You are a German institute, but I come from Austria." But evidently they have few reservations there. So the concert journey to Egypt came about, during which I met together with Mohamed Mounir. The idea to follow the whole thing with the camera I had myself, we put the team together ourselves and it was also paid for by me.

But how did you then come to Burkina Faso, Senegal and Cape Verde?

I organised that myself. I suggested to my agent in Bad Ischl, he has a good relationship with Africa. I had wanted to travel to East Africa since 1998. It was a lot of work before we managed everything!

What did Mounir say when they said to him "watch out, now someone is coming from Austria with the squeezebox who wants to make music with you"?

He has no reservations whatsoever. He knows Germany well, because he did something with Embryo twenty years ago. He also has some Germany tours behind him, but always only within the Arabic community.

It is astounding, how fantastic Egyptian and Austrian musicians can sound together on the stage. You can imagine that it would work with African musicians. But it is great how you harmonise with Mounir!

Mounir is actually a Nubian musician, which means they move in a different scale, a pentatonic. With lots of ornaments and other drums. But I believe that I could play together with musicians from almost all cultures in the world. The most fascinating thing is the relationship to the accordion: seeing what really all comes out of this box and that you should not only use it for alpine folk music.

Has all that spurred you on to look for further challenges with musicians from outside Europe?

No! No! These meetings, the Tibetan one too, all happened because they were first and foremost human meetings. Such things happen to me, but it is not that I sit down and plan: I like somebody, am on a wavelength, and then I want to do something with them. I work a great deal and most people who are good are also very productive. So you simply find a common project in order to spend time together and to present something on stage together.

Is it really so difficult, as a famous or hard working person, to hold contact?

Yes, clearly. When you are travelling in the whole world, but live in Austria, and the other is travelling in the whole world and lives in Cairo, there is scarcely a chance.

In the summer you have joint concerts in Germany. What is the sequence of events?

We have two days to practise. In this time we must handle bringing together twelve Egyptian, seven European and one Brazilian musician.

Will you play with the Nubian music again? Or what songs will there be?

Mohamed wants to play along with two to three of my songs with his musicians, we will see how that goes. It is certainly possible because his drummer can certainly keep up with me. Mounir also has keyboard, bass, drum and a super flute player, guitar. His singers have all refused. And he is not finding any new ones.

How come?

They can now only appear with veils and don't want to. The Fundamentalists are getting ever more power and if they were to appear with Mohamed without veils, then they wouldn't get any more jobs in Egypt.

But they could not sing veiled with you two?

I suspect that they would also not get married if they did something so "dishonourable". Like the oriental dancers. When you decide on a career on the stage, you will not get married. I also thought that it would be possible to get hold of at least one singer in the whole of Cairo. But it was not so. I noticed that I should also not keep on at this point.

What is planned otherwise?

I am working on a new CD which is coming out in the autumn.

A CD each year!

Yes, it really drives me! So much was bottled up inside me! I know exactly what I want to do and I know exactly how it goes! Also again with the band you see on the DVD.

How do you currently live?

I live with my family in Salzburg in one house, my studio is in another house. But I would like to now combine that because I always have to go through the whole city in order to go from one place to the other.

Are you still together with the same woman?

Yes, still with the same, with my third wife. For 17 years. Our son is 15 and our daughter is 9 years old.

How does your wife live with the star fuss and with the fact that you are away so much?

We have always tried to keep the family out of the fuss. My wife simply has no interest in appearing in public, even though a number of tabloids have been determined. And with the travelling: my wife and I are both constructed in such a way that we know that we would never have managed 17 years without the long separations, during which you can also then really look forward to being with the other person again.

Do you have a favourite CD?

Yes, Jennifer Warnes sings the Leonard Cohen songs. Amazing! And I also bought myself Norah Jones.

What was with the rumour with Alpine Sabine: relationship and separation, and that she then had to leave the band?

There was never anything. People could simply not imagine that something clicked so much between two musicians and that one is so harmonious. Everyone then thinks that they cannot look like that without there being something. And the band: I disbanded the whole group because the Alpinkatzen were simply too rocky and hard for me. I was even the brakes for them. It was fun for me for a long time, but then I wanted to play freely, play music in a more relaxed fashion. I wanted other musicians with a different spectrum, more subtle, more jazzy. It was hard for a long time, and they were also very angry, but now we can get together with each other again.

How come you look so fresh? You have not aged at all! Mountain climbing? Oxygen showers?

You think? (laughs) No. Not at all. I even smoke a load of cigarettes during production. But otherwise not (laughs), and I never have my own, I only scrounge.

Mountains of the world unite!

Jazzthetik June 2003 | Text: Thorsten Bednarz | Photos: Michael Felsch

Hubert von Goisern and Mohamed Mounir

Hubert von GoisernIt was really in the middle of the so-called new German wave that a record company noticed the singing and yodelling queer fish from the small town of Goisern and contracted him. At that time a lot was possible, as long as you only sang German. At that time he still traded under the name of Alpinkatzen feat. Hubert von Goisern.

The traveller

A whole 15 years later, the band still bore his name and the musical open-minded thinker had established himself somewhere between so-called world music, the good old soul of Marke Stax and rock music. A niche product, the big record company would say, but the niches are in constant demand and so Hubert von Goisern can refer to to current DVDs, the last open air tour was the most successful of his career and never was the media interest so big as in recent times. And never was one of his tours presented by a cosmopolitan jazz magazine (yours truly)!

You could think that Hubert von Goisern has every reason to be content. But contentedness does not suit this tireless traveller, it would assume a look back into the past. However, where others throw a glance into the past, Hubert von Goisern apparently makes another two plans for the future. And always, when he has an idea, you first throw your hands up in horror before relief, then you and convert to the idea. And each idea put into action, as exotic as they may be, only implies the next seemingly more exotic - but also logical continuation of everything achieved. The Dachstein massive moves together with the Himalayas and the Congo mountains and blends into Hubert von Goisern's music, because he has already been everywhere, left his musical scent mark and even collected others. And with it he also indirectly became a living dogma of the anti-globalisation movement, which manifests itself in the cosmopolitan emphasis of local peculiarities. But does Hubert von Goisern want to be so high up? Not at all. He just wants to make music. His music and to realise his dreams with it. That we can have a part of it is more than a necessary evil. It is a luxury for him, since many people evidently share his dream, and a luxury for us to be able to take part in his realisation.

Accordion and tape machine

HvG and MounirHowever, everything began rather reluctantly, as Hubert von Goisern explains, because naturally as a teenager he had nothing to do with alpine music. And just as naturally the story sounds so fantastic that you are almost willing to spontaneously believe him. "I once came home from a party, pissed as a newt, when I was about 16 and saw the diatonic from my grandfather lying on the table, I took it and began to play. I played half the night and when I woke up the next day and thought it had all just been a dream, I could still play. Since then I have never put it down." And you should consider that the diatonic is an accordion which produces different sounds depending on whether you squeeze or pull the bellows. So an instrument which requires undivided attention and not an alcoholised brain in order to really learn to play it. No matter whether true or a fib, Hubert von Goisern can in any case say that he is probably the only musician to have put this instrument into a rock context - and with growing success.

It was not necessarily the intention that the (still) current album Iwasig turned out so straight and linear. "When I was in the studio, it also occurred to me at one point that this album sounded much less ambitious than Fön, but had a certain ease however. I felt good with that and simply let it run. I needed this different sound for Fön at that time. But when I then went on stage with it, there were sometimes difficulties, because the audience also wants to dance." The reason why he then recorded such an ambitious and perhaps also a little introverted album like Fön and did not let his feelings have a free run at that time sounds simple. Typical Hubert von Goisern even. "You know when you are in the studio, then you are mostly sitting down and therefore you do not immediately notice if something does not go to your legs. I would never have the idea of getting myself an armchair on stage! And evidently he was finally so happy with the result that he now also more often simply lets something "run".

As with the recordings for the as yet unreleased album Trad 2, which he recorded in a deserted hotel on a mountain peak, which was only accessible via a cable car. One of the musicians had a dog with him and in one piece one could simply not stop him from howling along - no matter how many takes were recorded. So, the dog will also be heard on the album, and the perfectionist Hubert von Goisern thinks it is charming. He can only amuse himself about what others find charming or worse still authentic. "There was once an unbelievably expensive photo shoot and a flight was paid for for me and in order to parade the country idyll, a cow was also flown out, to be in the photo too! And then, before the story and the photo appeared, the magazine folded. Today, fortunately, you don't need to put a cow next to me to know that I come from the mountains. When you photograph me today at the Hamburg Hafen, then that already has an excitement because it is about me. But when you need a cow for the excitement..." Nevertheless, he would really like to have the photo from that time. As a souvenir.

Partner choice

Mohamed MounirAnd it was also many years ago, when he could still be persuaded to enter into a compromise. Today he sets the tone and undertakes many of the important decisions himself. "In politics I think a lot of democracy. In a band it is perhaps also ok, but in a project like mine I cannot do anything with it. I once worked for half a year in Vienna, in a theatre which was built as a collective. There were 15 to 20 people and all had a lot to say. But only two of them did anything, but had to let everyone interrupt. And when I asked how much money there would be and when, it was bad. But when I then also required another small fixed sum, from which I could have at least halfway covered my expenses, I was just a comrade pig. It was a true release when they threw me out after half a year."

Now he chooses his partner better. And he chooses worldwide on his travels. The second current DVD, Grenzenlos, which documents the travels of Hubert von Goisern and his musicians to Egypt, Cape Verde, Senegal and Burkina Faso reports on that. In Senegal they are the first white group who, despite all the security doubts, dare to enter the slum of Ecopol and play an improvised concert there, which ranks as one of the best in Goisern's whole career. And in the Egyptian Assiut, notorious as an Islamic stronghold, he appears with the superstar Mohamed Mounir and plays with him before 15,000 cheering people. From the meeting arose an "affinity", which the two musicians gave their name to the current tour through the German-speaking countries.

Mind you, the venture recently stood under a bad sign. When Mohamed Mounir recently stayed in Berlin for the Disorientation festival, the Iraq war had broken out shortly beforehand. On the evening of the concert, hundreds of war opponents in the Egyptian capital were brutally drive apart by police with cannons and batons and from everywhere was to be heard that the war had paralysed the box office, a host of concerts had to be cancelled. Mohamed Mounir also did not come to the organised interview. Was it really an upset stomach from the German food, or had the political situation worldwide and in his homeland struck his stomach? Don't know. Hubert von Goisern also looks shattered this morning. "Fortunately I have not yet heard that anyone would try to cancel our concerts in this situation. In any case I am happy that we will go on tour and the situation in Iraq and the world's attitude towards it only strengthens my belief that such projects are important. But with us it is about music. I see it as a great chance, though, to spend these days with an Arabic friend and be able to talk to someone from the supposed "other side", as the USA wants to persuade us. I am also curious to see what comes out."

However, Hubert von Goisern does not worry that the implicit political statement of the joint tour puts the musical statement in the shadows, as he admits after a (unusually long for him) pause for thought. "The political situation is part of our life and independent from this current war, the tour would be exciting enough, because since 11th September one talks more about the differences instead of the common ground between Europe and the Arabic area. And the point is to discover the common ground in music and through music blotted out by politics. There are lots of musical things in common if you take the development of Spanish music, which would not have gone in such a way without the Arabs, and on the other hand, the Spaniards have influenced the whole of Europe and Latin America with their music. So why should we deny ourselves , even if it sounds exotic at first, that I go on tour together with Mohamed? It is just a shame that in a time in which everyone talks about dialogue, we receive no support from institutions whatsoever. That makes me furious and I am very disappointed. In the past year I have financed the tour to Egypt and West Africa from my own money and I am also pre-financing this tour. It would be great though, if on the part of those who preach the dialogue between cultures one would also take on such a project of direct dialogue."