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Yodeling Worldwide

This content was published on August 30, 2006 - 09:59

By the beginning of the 19th century the yodel had gained popularity and had been introduced to the cities by travelling Alpine singers from the Tirol, Styria and Carinthia. Later national singing societies founded by immigrants from Switzerland in North and South America spread the yodeling style.

Owing to international cultural contacts, the presence of enthusiasts in different countries Alpine-like yodeling can be found in the most diverse states, including Japan and Korea.

In Tokyo the Japanese Jodler-Alpen-Kameraden cultivate this special vocal technique. In Seoul the first yodeling club was established in 1969, and the Korean Yodel Association was founded in 1979. In America groups of immigrants and their descendants yodel in Bavarian, Austrian or Swiss fashion.

Numerous traditional cowboy songs of the 19th century end with a yodel refrain, such as the well known song The Old Chisholm Train, sung by cowboys as they drove heards on the trail between Texas and Kansas. The image of the yodeling cowboy was spread by musical events at radio shows, records and Hollywood westerns. Among these yodeling cowboys, The Mississippi Railroad Man, Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933), became an important figure. Accompanying himself on his guitar he became knows as the Father of the Country Music.

Yodellike singing can be found not only in central European alps, but also in many mountainous and forest regions of other geographical areas, as for example in Albania and Georgia. Related vocal techniques can also be observed in different African countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zaïre, Angola, Burundi and Gabon.

Yodellike melodies are also appreciated in Asiatic countries and in the boundry regions between Melanesia and Polynesia, in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and on the Solomon Islands.

Falsetto that alternates between the normal register are important among most Indian groups in North and South America.

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