Thursday's Child: Bavarian Music

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Five years ago, we spent a night in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. Partenkirchen originated as a Roman town almost 2000 years ago, and it amalgamated with Garmisch in anticipation of the 1936 Olympics.  Partenkirchen is a beautiful old town with frescoed buildings, one of which was the Gasthof Fraundorfer where we stayed the night.

It wasn’t just the physical beauty of the building that encouraged us to stay there.  The hotel restaurant offered local specialties like sauerkraut, dumplings, and schnapps served on a plank.  And to complement the food, local Bavarian entertainers performed throughout the evening. 

The entertainment started with an accordion player.  The accordion has a fabulous trajectory in North America, from Lawrence Welk through Weird Al Yankovic and Arcade Fire.  It’s more of a mainstream instrument in Bavaria, and was clearly fuelled by the large glass of beer on the table in front of the musician. 

Next up were the Bavarian Slap Dancers, who did exactly what their vocation promised.  The action consisted of a fast-paced dance that involved slapping their thighs in rhythm to the music.  In the picture below, note the beautifully-embroidered lederhosen, and the complete lack of interest accorded the dancer from the patrons at the table behind.  I guess if you’ve seen one Bavarian Slap Dancer you’ve seen them all.

And finally, how could an evening of Alpine music be complete without a yodeler?  This is everything I know about yodeling: a) My sister and I used to laugh ourselves silly at Slim Whitman album compilation ads on TV; b) the first time I remember seeing yodeling was in “The Silly Song” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; and c) the best yodeling song ever is “The Lonely Goatherd” from The Sound of Music.  (Did you really think I was going to write about Alpine music and not mention The Sound of Music?)

At the end of the evening, we were all invited to join in the yodeling.  Let’s just say that was a short, uncomfortable exercise in activities that bystanders should never try.  Yodeling, like Bavarian Slap dancing and accordion-playing, is best left to the experts.  And after watching the experts perform, we felt very fortunate to have witnessed this exceptional group of entertainers.

23 comments:

Barbara said...

I don't know why the slapdance is familiar, Beth, but perhaps I've seen it on TV.
And yes, probably once is enough, rather like the Riverdance. :)
I've never been to Germany...still hope to go some day.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

lisa is cooking said...

The window boxes and frescoes are so pretty! I'm not sure I'd be able to yodel, or slap dance, if I tried, but taking in the performance sounds like a lot of fun.

laurie said...

Sounds like so much fun. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Angie's Recipes said...

I always love those window boxes...so fun.

Valerie said...

I've always love the accordion, but ever since my mom made me wear them as a child, I'm slightly traumatized by lederhosen. :P
Beautiful photos! The frescoed exterior is enchanting!

Beth said...

Valerie, if anyone could have made lederhosen fashionable, it would have been you!

Gloria said...

This sounds nice beth, hope you have a nice Thanksgiving:)

Aldy @ Al Dente Gourmet said...

Sounds like a lot of fun, Beth.Particularly the 'Yodeling' :) Gorgeous clicks. And Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you can enjoy this day to the fullest.

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

What a gorgeous place! It is so European! I am hoping to go to Germany next year...it'd be cool if I could go here too seeing as you enjoyed it so much.

Rita said...

Just love it! Like going back in time. That accordion bring back memories of my youth; wishing a nice weekend.
Rita

Lizzy said...

What a fun destination! After our trip to France this summer, I think Germany will be our next overseas trip. Yeah, I probably won't attempt yodeling :)

Joanne said...

haha i've never seen yodeling in person before but it's something I probably wouldnt' try without a few drinks in me :P Sounds fun, though!

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

I think it's impossible to discuss Alpine music without discussing The Sound of Music.

Now you've got me trying to figure out what sort of performance-art we would be unphased by in the same manner as the diners and the slap dancer. So far the only thing I can come up with is break dancing, but I don't think the two are really on the same cultural plane.

Carol said...

What a fun trip! The accordion makes me smile because my brother took lessons years ago, I can just hear him playing! After all those years we ended up donating it to my kids elementary school music dept.

Miriam said...

Sounds like a great time!! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Claudia said...

What fun! I'd like to see the slap-dancer. (Love the Silly Song in Snow White - what memories you give me. Bavaria does have a fairy-tale quality.

Elaine said...

I don't think I have every actually tried yodeling, but it does sound like fun! I am enjoying your Thursday travel series so much, Beth.

Medeia Sharif said...

I love that middle picture of the building with flowers. I love places that are full of history.

Thank you for sharing this. I'd love to go some day.

Have a great weekend.

Mary said...

Oh my goodness! I'm imagining a room full of novice yodelers and totally cracking up laughing. Sounds like an awesome holiday though.

Marina said...

It really looks like fun.. I can't wait to go to Germany, I can't believe I still wasn't there.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

How fun. We spent Christmas in Germany years ago and Garmisch-Partenkirchen was one of our favorites. I would hate to think how my southern voice sounds as a yodeler. (smile)
Sam

Belinda said...

Such a beautiful part of the country - and culture! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

comfortablydomestic.com said...

I might just try slap dancing if it gave me an acceptable excuse to wear lederhosen.

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