Let's play music
Music in the soul
The "Gimpelinsel Saitenmusi" from the Ausseer Land region not only wants to entertain people. With their partly ancient folk songs, the five young men also carry a piece of culture into the next generation.
Moritz Jaeger, one of two violinists in the Gimpelinsel Saitenmusi, sits relaxed on the terrace of his parents' house and points to the summit of the 1,837-metre Loser: "I was already up there this morning". His ancestors in the Middle Ages had also been drawn to this peak,but they did so to hear the noise of battle from the Enns Valley. That's where this mountain got its name, because "losen" means "to listen" in the Ausseer Land.
A piece of local culture
The people of Aussee have always loved to listen to the sounds of the musicians, who sprout here in a density like hardly any other region. "I believe that music is part of the soul of the people here," says Moritz. Also to his and his colleagues Fabian Egglmeier (violin), Simon Amon (double bass), Johannes Rastl (guitar) and Bernd Fettinger (Styrian harmonica). Six years ago they met at "Jo" Rastl's parents' house for their first rehearsal, and because it is located on the Gimpelinsel, where the Traun divides for a short stretch near Bad Aussee, the name for the music group was quickly found.
Just as the Traun divides in front of the Gimpelinsel, only to flow on again as one river, the path of the five boys to each other was not a direct one. Moritz Jaeger originally devoted himself to classical music, a few of his colleagues went wild with hard rock before they found their roots, the genuine Ausseer folk music.
"I am fascinated by the fact that we have songs that everyone - from little boys to old women - knows," enthuses Simon Amon, double bass player and main singer.
The young men are also attracted to these songs because they give deep insights into the living conditions of earlier generations, opening a kind of time window, so to speak. "Certain pieces bring up a lot of emotions in me, when you imagine what the situation was like for the people back then, for the alpine dairymaids or the lumberjacks," reveals violinist Fabian Eggl meier. His colleague Simon adds: "Singing a little or going to dances was fun - but that was it, because life otherwise consisted mainly of hard work."The repertoire of the Gimpel insler is not limited to folk music; the musical wanderlust of the individual members is too pronounced for that: "We sometimes arrange our programme as a round trip, starting in Ausseer Land and returning via Russia and the USA, for example.
This diversity comes not only from the musicians, but also from the audience, which always asks for one or another well-known title from musical genres other than traditional folk music.
This is no problem for the boys, because they like a lot of it themselves. But they never cross the border from folk music to so-called folk music - and they also tell the audience this, usually as charmingly as Simon Amon puts it with a wink: "We can only play what we can do well anyway. And what we don't want to be able to do, we just don't learn.
Music in all situations
There is no shortage of opportunities to perform, because in the Ausseer Land is music in all walks of life all year round. From carnival to Christmas, at church festivals, weddings and funerals, music is in the air here. In the beginning, making music together was a pleasant way for the group to get together and earn a little extra money as students, but since everyone has a job and some already have a family, the motive has changed a little:"It seems to me that it is important to all of us not only to carry on the music, but also the culture of Ausseer Land, from the garb to a certain attitude to life," Moritz believes.
For all their love of concert performances on various stages, this attitude to life also includes social gatherings at musicians' regulars' tables. Fabian calls it "our natural habitat", and that consists of two things: making music and listening.
TEXT: Wolfgang Maria Gran PHOTOS: Raphael Gabauer
Text & photos were published in Servus Salzkammergut Magazin 2021.
Booking enquiries to Moritz Jaeger,
Tel: +43/664/473 12 09 or by email
Customs and tradition in the Salzkammergut
Six selected recommendations to get to know the country and its people.
Did you know that fairy tale telling is part of Austria's intangible cultural heritage? In the Salzkammergut, this heritage is particularly cultivated: Helmut Wittmann, at home in Grünau im Almtal, collects and tells stories - and has made this passion his profession. At events and special occasions, for example, he brings the giant Erla and his golden-haired mermaid to life or immerses the audience in the world of "Hasenherz und Schlangenzauber" (Rabbit Heart and Snake Magic).
Every year in July and August, Mondsee becomes the venue for great theatre. On six Saturdays, Hugo von Hofmannsthal's "Jedermann" in dialect version goes over the open-air stage in the Karlsgarten. Unlike the famous Salzburg version, "Jedermann" does not change so often in Mondsee. In the ast 100 years since the first performance in 122, only six actors have been "used up".
When Emmerich Kálmán's operetta "The Csárdás Princess" or Franz Lehár's "The Czarevich" are performed in Bad Ischl's Kongress & TheaterHaus in July and August, melodies to hum along to are in the air - the famous Volga Song, for example, which was already belted out by Ivan Rebroff and so are Karel Gott. For the 60th anniversary in 2021, a new play is also on the programme: "Dein war mein ganzes Herz" - a tribute to the life and work of Franz Lehár.
It starts with the "Watschinger", and the "Holzhacker" is not long in coming. D'Dachstoana reliably make their audiences cheer with traditional Schuhplattler dances at folk evenings or alpine pasture dances. The fact that the dances, which have been handed down for generations, are not always performed correctly does not bother anyone. Because for the young members of the Gosau traditional costume group - all of them well under thirty - one thing counts above all else besides tradition: the fun.
Wirlinger Traditional Shooters
It's crashing around Lake Wolfgang, and it's crashing and crashing again. It's clear: this is a place of celebration. According to old tradition, festivities are accompanied by firecrackers. And the Wirlingen marksmen are among the last to be allowed to practise this art. Art? Yes: perfect firecrackers are only fired when the echo of the first shot blends seamlessly into the following shot. The firing times also follow clear rules. If there's a crash at four o'clock in the morning, there's a wedding.
The old Mühlgrub smokehouse is located in Hof near Salzburg. It is a typical Flachgau farmhouse in which the stable and living quarters are housed in one building. Why smoke house? Because here the smoke from the open cooker comes out without a chimney. In the cosy rooms visitors can see and smell, feel and experience tradition. Historical furniture and tools are on display in the museum, and the house can be rented for events. Advance booking is required for visits.
5322 Hof bei Salzburg, Riedlstraße 1,
Contact: +43/6229/22 04 14