Archive for October, 2008


They yodel in Switzerland !: Aristide Padygros

26 October 2008

Even if I didn’t post a lot of Swiss yodels, I’m sure you’ve heard them before. They mostly come from the German speaking part of the country, the French speaking part being underrepresented in yodel terms. But they exist, sometimes in strange and crazy forms. This week, I would like to speak about Aristide Padygros. Be ready for big moustaches and long hair !

The band was founded in 1970 by Olivier Cabanel in Geneva with Swiss and French members. They were part of the folk revival movement in Europe and made a name in the folk circuit with their not so serious albums, their sense of improvisation and party. The repertoire was inspired by the folk musics of different countries like France, Belgium, Switzerland and American styles like cajun or Canadian music. In the seventies, they made lots of concerts, playing at Paris famous Olympia, meeting French humorist and stand-up comedian Coluche, making a tv-movie for Swiss television in the Monty Python vein (L’irrésistible ascension des Padygros) and recorded four LP’s. In 1978, Olivier Cabanel left the group and began a solo career, while being very active in the defense of the environment. An other member of the group, Alain Monney, works now for the Swiss television, writes books and creates graphic art.

The two songs presented here are from the album Aristide Padygros, released in 1976 (original rip from the vinyl, with some cracks). The first one, Kosmick Zeuerli is a 34 seconds long yodel sounding a bit like a Gregorian song or as the title says it, like a cosmic thing. The second one, Der Landema tanst reveals the skill of a good yodeler, but I don’t know who he is. It is played in a Swiss traditional instrumental style, but as seen through the folk revival.

Kosmick Zeuerli

Der Landema tanst


They yodel in the USA !: Jimmie Rodgers (III) (1928)

19 October 2008

For his third session in Camden in february 1928, Jimmie Rodgers began recording with other musicians. One of them, Ellsworth T. Cozzens, a steel guitarist of Hawaiian origin, wrote a song for Jimmie Rodgers, as did his sister-in-law, Elsie McWilliams. All songs from this session contain yodels.

Due to the popularity of the Blue Yodel, Rodgers recorded sequels, the numbers two and three. In fact, in order to increase sales, Ralph Peer decided not to give names at the songs composed by Rodgers but just number them. Lucille blues became Blue Yodel No.II and Eyes like diamonds was relabelled Blue Yodel No.3. Another classic, In the jailhouse now, comes from the same sessions. It tell the story of the prisoner who gains his liberty by playing guitar. This song, with others, helped create the public image as railroader and rambler even if he was to frail to do it in real. Brakeman’s blues, in a blue yodel vein, was quite a succes with 262.000 pieces sold.

Dear old sunny south by the sea (Rodgers – Cozzens) Ellsworth T. Cozzens on steel guitar and Julian R. Ninde on guitar, Jimmie Rodgers, vocal and ukulele

Treasures untold (Rodgers – Cozzens) Rodgers on vocal, Cozzens on steel guitar and J.R. Ninde on guitar

Blue yodel No.II (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar, Cozzens on banjo

The sailor’s plea (McWilliams – Rogers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar, Cozzens on steel guitar and J.R. Ninde on guitar

In the jailhouse now (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar, Cozzens on banjo

Memphis yodel (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar

The brakeman’s blues (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar, Cozzens on ukulele

Blue yodel No.3 (Rodgers) Rodgers on vocal and guitar

Link to part I and part II


Do they yodel in Switzerland ?: Christine Lauterburg

12 October 2008

I haven’t written a lot of posts about yodel in Switzerland, the country where it all began. And this post won’t be about classic yodel or folkloric yodel but about modern and quite experimental yodels. Some singers have decided to push yodel to its frontiers, to innovate, to provoke even: Erika Stucky, Hubert von Goisern, Stimmhorn… and Christine Lauterburg. She caused quite a stir in the nineties with her album Echo der Zeit mixing ambient sounds, electronic beats and yodels. When you listen to it now, it sounds a bit dated, but it was a time of groups like Deep Forrest or Enigma who were mixing world music with synth programming. And Lauterburg’s album is a milestone in Swiss pop music !

Christine Lauterburg was born in 1956 in the region of Bern, Switzerland. As a child, she soon wanted to become a singer. But she first became an actress and played in theater and film in the 1980’s. Once she was 30 years old, she decided to reorientate her career and followed song lessons, where she learned to yodel. She didn’t want to do it in the traditional way but wanted to touch a different public, a younger one. Echo der Zeit was her first album and it went number 9 in the Swiss charts in 1994. The album was produced by Cyrill Schläpfer (the director of the Ur Musig documentary) and by Pascal de Sapio (who is more in a hip hop thing). She looks a bit like of a Nina Hagen from the mountains, a postindustrial Heidi but her music is more techno than punk. Since then, she made other albums, always a bit experimental but less techno, as you can hear on her site.

Following are some songs from Echo der Zeit, hits and some others, randomly picked, because almost all the songs of the album contain yodels:

Tanz Tanz ! (here is a other version on youtube)



Rot uf Grau (remix)

And here is the more traditional side, with songs in duo with Res Margot playing Büchel, a short trumpet-shaped Alphorn in the first one and Schwyzerörgeli in the second one.

Gruss aus Adelboden



Do they yodel in Cambodia ?: Sinn Sisamouth

5 October 2008

Yes ! They yodel in Cambodia ! Sinn Sisamouth does !

Sinn Sisamouth was one of the biggest stars of pre-Khmer Rouge Cambodia, in the sixties and seventies, at a time where the Cambodians were into different kinds of musics inspired by occidental styles, french chanson, psychedelic rock, Beatle tunes and some cha cha cha and mambo. I could write pages and pages about Sinn Sisamouth but others have done it already. I just give you some links at the end of the post.

I found only two songs where he yodels and I have no idea why he yodels. A search on the internet hasn’t given me any answer. And my Khmer doesn’t go further than “suasaday”.

I hope you’ll enjoy these songs as much as I do and that you’ll dwell deeper into this style, there’s a lot to be discovered. And listen to Dengue Fever !

Nak Neang Kraw-Mum (Miss) (mp3)

Nak Neang Kraw-Mum (Miss) (youtube)

Bong san rethrere (youtube)

Link 1: his biography on wikipedia

Link 2: his last days

Link 3: a documentary in the making

Link 4: great site with songs, from the other singers like Ros Sereysothea too

Link 5: myspace, with interviews of his family in Khmer and a wonderful excerpt of a movie, with typical dancing.

Link 6: about the Cambodian scene, with discography