18 August 2022
Post originally written in: Italiano Information An automatic machine translation. Super fast and almost perfect.

The exhibition dedicated to Tyrolean folk music "Wir Tiroler sind lustig. Die Rolle der Volksmusik für den Tourismus" at the Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum in Innsbruck. The title of the exhibition, "Wir Tiroler sind lustig," is a verse from a song that has become part of the popular musical heritage, but originates from the 18th-century operetta "Der Tiroler Wastl" by Emanuel Schikaneder.
It is a song that virtually all Tyroleans aged 50 and over know because they learned it in school.
But what does "Wir Tiroler sind lustig" mean? The Italian translation might be "We Tyroleans are funny, funny, cheerful." A seemingly innocuous verse, it nonetheless encapsulates the at least 200-year-old stereotype-image of the Tyrolean as a cheerful mountaineer-sometimes portrayed as a bit of a simpleton-who loves to sing and be in company

Tyrol on tour

The exhibition recounts by means of objects, documents, audio and video the path taken by Tyrolean folk music as an entertainment genre over the past 200 years. The musical genre "à la tirolienne" is already present in classical music-for example, by Beethoven and Rossini-within a wide range of styles inspired by "typical" melodies from certain countries
But beginning in the 1800s there are genuine Tyrolean ensembles that tour Europe and perform singing, playing and sometimes dancing in European courts and on prestigious stages. The first room of the exhibition tells about these very early groups: The Ur-Rainers, the Leo Brothers, and the Holaus.
Also of interest is the story of Ludwig Rainer, a Tyrolean from the Zillertal, who in the second half of the 19th century, after ten years spent performing with his group in Russia, returned to the Tyrol and created a veritable tourist empire. His Hotel Seehof on Lake Achensee combined an atmospheric alpine landscape with evening performances of Tyrolean music and drew tourists from Germany and far beyond.

To the delight of tourists (and others)

The second room traces the history of the "Tiroler Abend." This is how costumed performances where people sing, dance and play both with musical instruments typical of the Alpine area and with mountain objects, such as a saw or cow bells, have been called since the `30s. Tyrolean folk groups have toured the world with shows that have taken them to America, Canada and the Far East, as is documented in the exhibition. Even today these shows are still staged in Innsbruck, in a fairground pavilion adapted as a theater

The exhibition then takes us into the post-World War II period. Here the role of cinema as a vehicle for disseminating Tyrolean music is investigated. We see movie posters and clips from films, comedies where mountains and music tell of an amused and entertaining Alpine world, far removed from the reality of harsh peasant life. And again there is talk of the Olympics, where Austria customarily presents Tyrol as a tourist resort, including through its music.

Curiosities and voices outside the choir

There is much more in the exhibition: space is given to singers and musicians who were famous throughout Europe. For example, Therese Prantl, who counted among her many admirers even the Czar of Russia. You can try playing the melody of the song "Wir Tiroler sind lustig" with a set of cow bells, as in Tyrolean evenings. There are videos of famous pop music singers drawing heavily from the Tyrolean folk music tradition; and even some "funny" cases such as Takeo Ischi, a Japanese man who became famous for singing yodeling in traditional Tyrolean dress. Austrian intellectuals and their critical view of these performances were also given a voice, as they are of the opinion that they brought a somewhat trivialized and ridiculed image of the Tyroleans and Tyrol to the world.

Useful information

"Wir Tiroler sind lustig. Die Rolle der Volksmusik für den Tourismus"
10.6. - 27.11.2022
Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum
Universitätsstrasse 2, 6020 Innsbruck

open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
last admission at 4:30 p.m

full admission 12 euros, concessions 9 euros, free for under 19s and holders of the Innsbruck Card

Here is information about Tyrolean evenings in Innsbruck and Tyrol

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