Berlin yodel school revamping alpine sound of music

Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:53pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Alice Baghdjian

BERLIN (Reuters) - The distinctive warble of yodeling strikes a dissonant note in the middle of a gritty Berlin district that is home to a thriving Turkish population and peppered with trendy bars.

But if you walk down the street from the kebab shops and anarchist graffiti scrawled on the pavement, you will catch the mellifluous sounds usually heard in Swiss Alps -- a noise that grows louder when you enter Doreen Kutze's hairdressing salon.

Instead of perms and highlights, Kutze rents out the space to offer wannabe yodellers lessons in the art of alpine singing.

"It's good to be able to offer this to people here in Berlin, so they can try it out without having to travel all the way to Switzerland," Kutzke said.

Once used by alpine cattle herders to communicate across the open meadows and deep valleys of the Alps, yodeling is usually associated more with the fusty repertoire of the Sound of Music's von Trapp family than the edgy music scene of Berlin.

But the 37-year-old is coaxing yodeling down from the snow capped peaks and into the urban jungle of the German capital, in the hope of stripping alpine singing of its kitschy image.

"Yodeling used to mean standing in the middle of some marketplace in a dirndl (traditional German woman's dress) during a folk festival," she said.

"I do a lot to try to work against yodeling clichés."   Continued...

A participant holds his song sheet during a yodel workshop at Berlin's Kreuzberg district March 31, 2012. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch