Listen to ‘Mys Alpli’

Edelwyss-Starnen sing the last verse of Mys Alpli. High in the Berner Oberland, an alp is a field, a pasture, a productive piece of mountain land where animals can be grazed. Thus in the background of this you can hear the bells of the sheep, goats and cows. Available at…rnen/id329166348

Mid July in the Berner Oberland Jungfrau Region–it is that time of year when the highest alps receive the animals for the ‘spring’ grasses.

I met a researcher in a Stubbe last week. He was researching linkages between humans and the landscape. He shared with me the following photos of yodelers.


Yodelers in the Jungfrau Region of the Berner Oberland in Switzerland–in the yodel, a human can hear and feel the landscape.


Yodelers demonstrate their respect for the landscape in all aspects of their lives–arts, crafts–and the richness of the detail recalls the richness of their feelings for the landscape. Stewards, custodians of the landscape–that is only the beginning in the Jungfrau Region of the Berner Oberland.


He noted that these yodelers are not hired professionals or foreign workers. They are humans whose families have lived in this landscape for centuries.

He posited that there are rootlets of some strange consistency that transcend the lifetimes of humans. Those rootlets, he said, were channels through which a music travels from the landscape through the voices of the yodelers.

Each verse of a song glorifies a different aspect of the relationship between humans and the landscape. And each chorus…well…the chorus is the landscape.


…wish you were here…

…wish you were here…

Trance–not music…or musical ride into trance?

The yodeling exuded the essence of all music…humans, without words, communicating from, and to, some magical landscape node.  The yodeling had freedom, it had discipline, it had beauty and it conveyed, at the same time, a pleasant, almost jolly reverence, and an aura of relaxation.

Listening to music is a linear experience, just like walking though a garden, a landscape.  Music and beauty.  Gardens and beauty.  Portals to transcendence.  There has to be a linkage.  Timeless experiences. Trance? Yodeler trance?

He stood up, stretched, decided to take a walk outside back down toward the center of town.  The evening air was sharp and cool.  It was quiet, Wednesday near 9PM, really quiet.  Grindelwald was at the top end of the valley.  No through automobile traffic.  He paused, listened…maybe he could hear the Lutschine River, about two hundred or so meters down hill, in the valley bottom.  When he started walking again, all he could hear were his own footsteps.

Then somewhere up ahead, he heard what he instinctively knew had to be yodeling.  Softly at first, then it filled his ears.  It was like barbershop, a cappella, unaccompanied singing, a group.  His ears carried him.  His ears, transforming like a delicate cocoon…and the music wrapped him.  He was inside the music…inside the music…suffused by an intense hypnotic, timeless, yet strangely joyful experience.

In no more than a hundred meters, and in the dark, the yodeling had led him just off the main street.  On his left, behind a large tree, he saw a shop or something, tucked behind a hillside.  The yodeling was coming from that direction.  On a weakly lighted, simple sign attached to the side of a smallish free standing building, he saw the name…Blumisalp Stubbe

The Stubbe had an outdoor terrace, facing the mountains, facing the Unterergletscher, and that was where he found the yodelers, about a dozen, maybe a dozen and a half of them.  Everybody he knew always chuckled when yodeling was mentioned, something Americans had once seen back in the 1950s or early 1960s on the Ed Sullivan or the Lawrence Welk television variety shows.

But, in the still of these extraordinary evening mountains, in the quiet of the night, when the mountains were the foreground, middle ground and background all at once, that yodeling had a strong resonance that seemed appropriate to the scale of this place and respectful to its character.

He thought, I don’t know anything about this, so, who am I to judge…but…it does have a very nice feel, a certain sweetness, that’s for sure.  He stood and listened.  For a moment, he couldn’t put words to it, but for the briefest moment, he thought he almost felt the very beginning of that same warm feeling that had overwhelmed him yesterday afternoon, the first time the mountains possessed him.  Then, as soon as the thought formed…the feeling was gone…the intimation disappeared…instantaneously absent.  It was, nevertheless, in its brevity, enjoyable.

The yodelers were on the terrace of the Stubbe.  All the Stubbe terrace doors were open.  The yodelers stood in two lines, at the side of the terrace, singing to the mountains and the Stubbe guests simultaneously.

The yodelers were organized by height, shorter in front, taller behind.  They yodeled two more songs that seemed to have verses and choruses…always a cappella…the singers were men and women, a combination of young and old, all in native clothes, native costumes, somewhat Amish-like…very clean costumes, dominated by black and white, well pressed, black trousers, white shirts and black vests with black lapels and black collars, tastefully accented with smallish embroidered wild flowers–gentian blues–edelweiss silver greens.

The men stood rather casually with their hands in their pockets, but there was definitely a grouped organization.  And the ladies, well, they, too, looked like Amish people…simultaneously proud and humble…lots of white lace over black cloth…very discreet, no asset display…and their decorations, too–mountain wild flowers.

Jodlergruppe Edelwyss-Starnen, from Grindelwald, singing Mys Alpli, one alp is a field, a pasture, a productive piece of mountain land where farm animals graze. Thus in the background of this you can hear the bells of the sheep, goats and cows. The full version can be found at: