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.
Hungary’s Orban Bashes Liberal Immigration Policy 2014 08 29 Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday lashed out against immigration, setting one of the main policy objectives of his next term in power after winning parliamentary elections in April.
“The goal is to cease immigration whatsoever,” said Hungary’s prime minister. “I think the current liberal immigration policy, which is considered obvious and morally based, is hypocrite,” Mr. Orban said.
At a ...
China’s “Duplitecture” Cities Mimic the World’s Greatest Architectural Hits 2014 08 29 The best knockoffs in the world are in China. There are plenty of fake designer handbags and Rolexes, but China’s knockoffs go way beyond fashion. There are knockoff Apple stores that look so much like the real thing that some employees believe they are working in real Apple stores. And then there are entire knockoff cities. There are Venices with ...
Kiev loses control of Novoazovsk, rebel troops advance in southeast Ukraine 2014 08 29 Kiev’s troops had to leave the eastern Ukrainian city of Novoazovsk to save their lives, said the country’s Security and Defense Council. The authorities admitted that self-defense forces are advancing and leading a counteroffensive in the southeast.
Along with Novoazovsk, Kiev troops have lost control over the villages of Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo in the Donetsk Region of Eastern Ukraine.
According to Ukraine’s ...
Mohammed is most popular name in Oslo 2014 08 29 For the first time in the capital city’s history, Mohammed is the most common name for boys and men, said a study on Thursday.
Statistics Norway (Statistisk Sentralbyrå - SSB) has counted the population of Oslo and found that Mohammed is the most common male name in Oslo for the first time ever.
Jørgen Ouren of SSB said to NRK: “It is ...
Beaten to Death at McDonald’s 2014 08 29 To the four clean-cut college freshman out on a double date, it had seemed like a typical McDonald’s: spanking clean, well-lighted, and safe. It was in a good neighborhood too, right next to Texas A&M University in College Station -- a campus known for its friendly atmosphere and official down-home greeting: “howdy.”
Shortly after 2 A.M. that Sunday, they pulled into ...