What are some international alternatives to yodelling

Dridihoi-hoo-e, holljo-i-di: beginners and professionals hike yodeling through the Appenzellerland

Dridihoi-hoo-e, holljo-i-di: beginners and professionals hike yodeling through the Appenzellerland

Yodelling is difficult and backwoods? The international Ou-Jodelfest in Gonten proves the opposite when the participants yodel from Heiden to the festival. Between the Appenzell hills, tinkling cows and the sounds of yodelling, you feel like you're in a cliché, but in a good way.

For absolute beginners to yodel everything sounds the same - and at the same time super complicated. Dridihoihoo-e, holljo-i-di. Somehow like with Loriot and the yodel diploma, where Evelyn Hamann stoically stoys over the yodel syllable strings, dödudldö, no didudldö, dödudldö is the second future tense at sunrise.

We have the sunrise behind us. There is still a blanket of cloud over Lake Constance, but yodelling is going on at the Rorschach train station. While the hiking group is waiting for the train to Heiden, yodelling leader Markus Prieth invents a melody, easy for experts, tricky for beginners.

Third, fifth, sixth jumps, switching between chest and head voice. Ho-i-e, ul-jo-e, a train is leaving, another one, and two minutes later it already sounds in three voices. Ho-e, ho-e, ho-i-ul-jo-e.

Yodelling is life and life is yodelling

The hiking group sounds and sings. 13 participants, 2 participants, yodelling leader Markus Prieth, hiking guide Gerlinde Aukenthaler. In three days they will hike from Heiden to Gonten and yodel at the same time, maybe they'll also yodel and hike, one thing flows into the other, one dictates the other. Hiking is yodelling, and yodelling is hiking.

In the inner-Rhodian town of Gonten, in the center for Appenzell and Toggenburg folk music, the international Ou yodel festival takes place on the weekend. Markus Prieth helped to bring it into being four years ago; after having worked in Styria, South Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Bavaria, it is now being carried out for the first time in Switzerland.

80 yodelers will sing under supervision in workshops at Roothuus Gonten, and before and afterwards too, because yodelling is life and life is yodelling. Huljedli-ho-i-o.

Beginners, professionals, everyone yodel together

Beginners like Christa, who has never yodelled before, and yodelling professionals like Hartwig, a yodeling teacher from Vienna, who sings in three yodelling trios. Or Martina, 60, ex-banker from Vienna, who is fulfilling a dream and is currently writing her master's thesis on the subject of yodelling.

Simon, a computer scientist from Biel, who joined the Lyssach yodelling club seven years ago through a colleague. He tells how it almost tore their choir apart because their YouTube video “Hie bini deheim” received over half a million clicks and could hardly save themselves from requests for performances.

Elisa, 70, from Zurich, who has been singing in the yodelling cellar there for a few years. Christine and Susanne from Munich have been yodelling for years “in the only yodelling course at the Munich Adult Education Center”, which has a long waiting list.

Some know each other from workshops and festivals, the yodelling scene is small, especially the alternative yodelling scene, in which archaic singing is cultivated. Others like Simon are at the Ou Festival for the first time. For the joy of singing, learning new things.

You feel like you're in a cliché, but in a good way

Hiking is the perfect way to start, you start a conversation, someone hums, starts to sing, others join in, that's how it goes up and down the Appenzell hills. Cows clink peacefully on the wayside next to pretty farmhouses, Lake Constance glistens in the haze, a freshly washed sky shines above the quay, there is yodelling - and you feel like you are in the middle of the cliché.

But in a good way. Many consider yodelling to be conservative, homeland, or even: those who yodel are nationalistic. Some participants tell of resentments that their hobby experiences in the circle of friends. It is about singing for them. Discover your own voice. To be with yourself. Be loud. Scream out joy.

There is no right or wrong, just music

“Everyone can yodel,” says Markus Prieth at the first yodel stop on the hike. Because everyone has cried, laughed, screamed with joy at some point. For the South Tyrolean musician, yodelling is more of a social institution than music.

He does not differentiate between advanced and beginners. Everyone can sing, support one another. Yodelling is always a common thing for him. A game that impresses with its simplicity and complexity.

He lets his group clap rhythmically, singing first a melody, then the second, the third. There is no right or wrong, just music, joy in singing. And as everyone stands in a circle and yodels at each other, everything becomes sound. Je-i-di yo-i-di joo!

Ou-yodel festival, 6-8.9.2019 in Roothuus Gonten, workshops fully booked. On Sunday, September 8th, 2019, the participants will yodel from 10.15 am to 11.30 am in the center of Appenzell.