In the 1965 film musical The Sound of Music, her character Maria sings how The Lonely Goatherd yodeled and how it sounded “lusty and clear from the goatherd’s throat.”
Clearly neither she nor Oscar Hammerstein II knew anything about actual yodeling.
“With yodeling your voice jumps from deep in your chest up to a high-pitched falsetto in your head,” explained Swiss yodeler Amadé Perrig. “If you try to sing it in your throat, it won’t work.”
Amadé is not a professional yodeler per se, but he is Swiss and grew up as a cowherd in the Alps near the mountain town of Zermatt and he’s been yodeling longer than The Sound of Music has been in existence.
He calls it “singing” but he normally means yodeling.
“As a boy, I sang all the time. We didn’t have TV. On Sunday afternoons, all of us in the family would gather round the kitchen table and just sing and sing.”
Amadé also grew up milking cows every morning. He yodeled in the hills with his cows, as it’s been done in Switzerland for at least a thousand years (even the Romans remarked on Swiss yodeling).
Cow- and goatherds used yodeling as a way to call across from one mountain to another. It was a rudimentary (albeit beautiful) way to communicate. Certain sounds and notes actually meant words, so in a way, yodeling began as a kind of melodic language of the mountains.
Although you couldn’t see a fellow cowherd across the valley, you could hear him, and you would yodel back. Like bird calls, sending out feelers to see who’s out there and listening to the responding calls that come back.
Still, I’m happy that the first yodeling I heard in Switzerland was 100% authentic. This was not some choir greeting me on cue as I pulled into a railroad station, nor was it some “Swiss Folklore Show” played out in front a group of Japanese tourists as they fondled their fondue.
No, my first yodeling was improvised in the Alps of Zermatt by a true-blue Swiss cowherd. Nowadays he spends his winters in Arizona on the golf course, but even in the American Southwest, he says he lets out a very special yodel every time he hits a birdie.
The other golfers may think him a little odd, but when they hear that certain yodel, they know exactly what it means: “That crazy Swiss guy just hit a birdie!” Sending non-verbal messages across the green with a bit of vocal flourish, just like it’s been done in the Alps for centuries.
Water rationing hits California: limit of 50 gallons per person per day or face fines of $500 2014 09 29
Millions of Californians are about to be hit with strict water rationing -- daily "allocation" numbers that represent the maximum amount of water you’re allowed to use for any purpose. Households that exceed the allocation limit will face stiff fines of hundreds of dollars per violation.
"In July, the State Water Resources Control Board passed stage one emergency regulations, giving powers ...
Much of Earth’s Water is Older than the Sun 2014 09 29
Much of the water on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system likely predates the birth of the sun, a new study reports.
The finding suggests that water is commonly incorporated into newly forming planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy and beyond, researchers said — good news for anyone hoping that Earth isn’t the only world to host life.
“The implications of ...
Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap? 2014 09 29 A Yale historian wants us to rethink the terrible tales about the Norse.
This illustration shows the stereotype of Viking marauders wreaking mayhem, even on clergy. The scene depicts the monastery at Clonmacnoise, Ireland.
The Vikings gave no quarter when they stormed the city of Nantes, in what is now western France, in June 843—not even to the monks barricaded in the ...
David Cameron Says Non-Violent Conspiracy Theorists Are Just As Dangerous As ISIS 2014 09 29
David Cameron told the U.N. that "non-violent extremism" is just as dangerous as terrorism and must be eradicated using all means at the government’s disposal. He references 9/11 and 7/7 Truthers as examples of the type of extremism that must be dealt in a similar fashion to ISIS.
If you thought Obama’s War is Peace speech to the U.N. was creepy, ...
NY Times: Europe’s Anti-Semitism Comes Out of the Shadows 2014 09 28 NY Times Whines about European "Anti-Semitism"
In the wake of the conflict in Gaza, three communities became flash points of violence and began contending with hatred they thought was buried in the past.
Read the NY Times hit piece on Europe here
Below is a rebuttal from Mike King’s The Anti-New York Times at tomatobubble.com:
Strike up the violins and break out the barf ...