Tiroler Abend – Totale-136
18 December 2023
Post originally written in: Deutsch Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

There are many wild legends about us Tyroleans: a rough and stubborn mountain people, distrustful and introverted, with a strange language and idiosyncratic manners. So far, so true? In this country, we already know exactly who we are and how we live. Elsewhere, on the other hand, people are amazed at certain peculiarities that we take for granted "back home". In Tirol, for example, everyone is on first-name terms, even if we don't know each other yet. We like to laugh, dance and make music, cultivate old customs and live our traditions, love good food and drink, are open-hearted and like to end the day together in the evening. I was recently able to experience for myself just how impressive such a typical Tyrolean evening can really be in the "biggest parlor in Tyrol" - together with the Gundolf group and numerous guests from all over the world.

An evening like back then

So let's start with the fundamental question: what makes an authentic Tyrolean evening? Because among us Tyroleans, every evening is somehow a real Tyrolean evening, I didn't have an answer for my visitor from Berlin for a little longer than I thought. For the purposes of empirical research, I therefore found myself at the Happy Nightskate event with the motto "Tyrolean evening" just a few days later, together with my Berlin companion (to the event photos).

Tyrolean coziness à la Gundolf

And unsurprisingly, Tyrolean cultural heritage is given a rough ride here: brightly colored traditional costumes (swimming trunks) and Tyrolean hats between schnapps and ski poles in summer, plus Gabalier banging and only the best après-ski hits from the DJ truck. In front of us, a graceful cross-country skier on skate skis, cowbells jostling somewhere behind, a fun Tyrolean cultural avalanche to make you smile - but it's just not authentic. Berlin and I are amused to realize that you have to look elsewhere for a real Tyrolean evening. No sooner said than done: my visitor and I book what is probably the most exclusive Tyrolean experience Innsbruck has to offer in the Alpensaal at Messe Innsbruck.

You can easily reach what is probably the "biggest pub in Tyrol" on foot or by taking the 1 streetcar. As soon as we enter, we are greeted by a banner for the "Tyrolean Evening by the Gundolf Group". This is actually a genuine Tyrolean tradition, as the Gundolf family have been presenting their cultural program since 1967. Today, not all the faces are called Gundolf anymore, but that doesn't really bother anyone here. The first guests slowly trickle in, all speaking different languages, and some stop for a moment to admire the framed golden record in the Herrgottswinkel. Meanwhile, in the rustic Alpensaal, a cattle drive flickers across the screen, people are seated at massive solid wood tables, decorated festive wreaths hang from the ceiling, bathed in warm light and the familiar humming of an accordion. The Nordkette mountain range in Innsbruck is unmistakably displayed on the west wall, there is even a small souvenir store in the corner and a mountain pasture backdrop on the stage - you really do feel right at home here.

The world as a guest with friends

Those who have also booked dinner are served frittata soup, then a choice of roast pork or Schlutzkrapfen and finally an apple strudel. Sister Gundolf now helps at the bar, but also knows every step of the way on stage: "We've performed everywhere - we were once in South Africa at Christmas, which was a really tough time, but also wonderful anyway, it was just important to dad." A sentence from the sister that tells the whole story of Gundolf: the intergenerational life's work of a Tyrolean family, the close cohesion and the wild disagreements, the collective hard work and the hard hardships, the omnipresent tourism in Tyrol, the love of home and the wide world. And this is exactly how the Gundolf group tells the story of life in the Alps on stage: the lights go out with the march "Dem Land Tirol die Treue" and the evening program begins. Papa greets the guests, he turns 78 today.

Nostalgia to kneel down to

This is immediately followed by a fast-footed Schuhplattler, then a Tyrolean couple dance. The music is real, by the way - they even tuned the saw beforehand! German, English, French, Italian and Spanish are all spoken with a hearty Tyrolean accent, but during the "Chanson à deux" by Martin Gundolf and (we'll just call her) Grandma Rosi, a little French girl cheekily joins them on stage, confidently ignoring all language barriers and melting everyone's hearts without exception to Rosi's crystal-clear yodel with big children's eyes. This is followed by a cross polka, a harp solo, then a glockenspiel, and finally Bernadett on the hammered dulcimer and Martin on the zither. The latter is correctly introduced as the "difficult Tyrolean country harp", which makes me grin, as does Berlin next to me.

At the latest, when three g'standard Tyrolean men put their meter-long alphorns together, I get a little sentimental. It's been a good 30 years since I was allowed to listen to the rare alphorns in Inzing when the almost blind instrument maker Ludwig Walch tuned his masterpieces in the garden next door. But the woodchopper dance, miller's dance, jealousy dance, shell dance and miner's dance quickly sweep me off my feet again: people chop to the beat and dance around a windmill, pull each other across the stage while hooking their fingers or blast a tunnel underground. The program is tight, but never too fast, and more than once my own memories of home are awakened. When the Gundolfs finally say goodbye, singing in every language, the audience can no longer stay in their seats: They clapped, sang and danced along, laughed in each other's arms and perhaps even wiped away a tear.

Jucheza: Say goodbye at the top of your voice

We all take the most authentic expression of genuine Tyrolean happiness home with us that evening: the Jucheza. A spontaneous cry of joy that we Tyroleans give vent to at the top of our voices on various occasions. If you can't imagine what this means at the moment, we highly recommend a visit to the Tyrolean evening of the Gundolf group. When Sister Gundolf serves us a schnapps (Willi pear) from Draxl in Inzing to say goodbye, the evening is perfect and even Berlin sings along a little on the way home: Tirol is lei oans, isch a Landl a kloans, isch a liabs und a feins, und des Landl isch meins.

Tickets and all dates for the Tyrolean evening of the Gundolf Group are available here. With the Welcome Card and the Innsbruck Card you get a 25 percent discount. And if you order a voucher or give one as a gift, you will also receive a free CD by the Gundolfs. You can also listen here on Spotify without any obligation. If you would also like to experience the colorful Tyrolean evening at the Happy Nightskate, you will have the opportunity again on June 26, 2024.

Photos: The pictures were taken by Berlin photographer Sascha Jakubenko and the author of this article.

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