Austrian Cultural Forum:
Hubert von Goisern. 7:30 pm.
NOTE: Free show but advance RSVPs are full. You can sign the wait-list at the door however.
Hubert von Goisern grew up in a small Austrian mountain town, where Alpine music--the nationalist vibe, the folk schmaltz--was everywhere. He hated it. The radio offered a much-needed window into other worlds of rock, pop, and blues, the funkier sounds found on the European airwaves at the time.
Just listening wasn’t enough. Von Goisern eventually wandered far and wide as a young man, taking in whatever musical elements he could along the way. His travels through South America and Asia for non-musical reasons led him to a revelation about his own heritage. “My fascination for other musical traditions developed during those times and made me question and reflect on my rejection of my own tradition. It was during my stay in the Philippines, that I decided to deconstruct Alpine music and give it a new perspective. One of our slogans back then was: let's snatch the lederhosen from the Nazis.”
The Nazis didn’t stand a chance. von Goisern started wrestling with Central Europe’s peculiar past, wresting the wild, fresh sides from the cloying and tainted. He picked up the old accordion his grandfather had given him years before and forced all sorts of inspiring sounds out of the instrument. With a few like-minded musicians, von Goisern started Alpinkatzen, a group that tore apart folk music, only to rebuild it into something that struck a powerful chord with young Austrians, as well as with the music business. The band was busking in downtown Vienna, when a music exec from CBS Records heard them and offered them a deal.
“There was a craving for unburdened, uncaged music, for music that had a connection to our past, but without the shame, for music without the sticky candy-sweetness so inherent in most folklore,” reflects von Goisern. “It was the desire for identity without the constrictions and demarcations that usually go along with traditions.”
The band’s second album sparked several major hits in German-speaking Europe and put von Goisern on the map. After several years of touring and regional stardom, however, the band played its last show. But von Goisern has continued as a solo artists traveling the world to share his re-invention of Alpine music and collaborate with artists from across the globe.