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A Folk Music Television Show Sentimentalizes Rural Germany (2006)

Two journalists describe the last on-stage appearance of folk music television show host Karl Moik. His sentimental portrayals of rural Germany evoked nostalgia for a better, simpler life and helped him achieve immense popularity among the older generation.

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We dance Hopsasa

Karl Moik celebrates his farewell from the “Musikantenstadl” with pumpkin seeds. Jan Kühnemund and Tim Holthöfer report from the Weser-Ems Hall in Oldenburg.

There he is: Karl Moik surrounded by loved ones. “Die 3 Zwidern,” Tony Marshall, Hias Mayer, Claudia Jund, and of course, Herlinde, the champion yodler. When will it finally start?

“Good seats,” an elderly lady in the third row comments happily. “But for 56 Euro they should be.” She says she’s here because of [Argentine-Austrian singer] Semino Rossi and proudly dangles a key chain and jute bag bearing the face of the “King of Romance.” The five-Euro bag, she says, is worth only fifty cents – she’s very level-headed about that. “But for Semino . . .” Underneath a sparkling blazer she’s wearing a t-shirt with his autograph.

The show starts right on time, the orchestra, dressed in folklore costume, comes onto the stage, “as you’re used to, everything is presented live and without playback.” Rhythmic applause sets in as though someone had pushed a button; it’s just like on television. Except for the volume! For those who can still hear it’s too quiet, for those with hearing aids, too loud.

The orchestra plays snappy tunes. Karl Moik descends the show staircase with a stuffed animal and sings a song for his dachshund.

“Beautiful melodies, lively melodies, and a few gags,” he promises for the evening. The jokes pack a punch. “Hansi is twelve-months pregnant and has no money to give birth” is how he introduces the trumpet player of “Die 3 Zwidern.”

Karl Moik does most of the jokes with the jokster Hias Mayer. Their punch lines are a good value for the money. The audience takes pleasure in the tried-and-true. Do you know the one about the wrong-way driver who was passed by someone?

Karl Moik has barely turned his back to the audience when his smile disappears. He is a frugal entertainer.

The varied program is striking for the brevity of the songs. Twenty hit songs in an hour – no room for boredom to arise.

“Die 3 Zwidern” yodel about their homeland and the beautiful Tyrolean countryside. “Well, let’s stay happy now with our Stimmungsmedley [i.e, mood medley].” The audience rocks back and forth and sings all the hallohiahos, humbahumbatätärätäs and glorygloryhallelujahs at their top of their voices. “Que sera sera, is this not wunderbar, and now all together!”

“Herlinde is a super person,” enthuses Karl Moik. “She can yodel and is a proud mom.” She is a four-time Austrian yodeling champion and sings about “Dopes on the slopes” – or something like that. Her smile is a sight to be seen: it’s tattooed on!

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