2007 Certificate: tbc


With every genre of music from rap to heavy metal to blues getting its own documentary, it was only a matter of time before one of the most unique styles got the analytical treatment. The hills - well, the Swiss Alps - are truly alive with the sound of yodelling in Stefan Schwietert's documentary, which follows three prime exponents of the art. There's the old school Noldi Alder and the more experimental Christian Zehnder and Erika Stucky who all agree the songs echo their country.


  • Stefan Schwietert


  • Documentary


Most audiences would greet the prospect of a documentary on non-verbal Alpine singing with a hearty "yodel-lay, yodel-lay, yodel-lay-dee, no... God, please no."

However, the uninitiated (most likely catching this on Sky Arts or the like) may discover themselves surprised by the sometimes beautiful, often barmy Echoes of Home.

An exploration of moden Apline music, it's as funny, striking, indulgent, and singular as the pitch perfect yelping that cuts through the beauteous mountain ranges.

Inspired by the reverb from the immense sonic stage of these mountains, we learn yodeling developed as a style whereby the surrounding nature played an integral role in shaping the artform, creating a uniquely national music that rises up from the Swiss landscape.

And while Zehnder and Stucky's experimental efforts to evolve the style sometimes sound like they are juggling hot potatoes or imitating randy wolves, the sounds produced carry an astonishing emotional power.

Despite the transplendent scenery, Echoes of Home's intimate style - low-key interviews, home movie footage, small concerts - doesn't have the group bonhomie that allowed Sounds Like Teen Spirit or Anvil to sit so comfortably on the big screen.

But, those who thought Alpine warbling ended with Julie Andrews as a nun (ie. all of us), get ready to open your ears, and your mind... and your mouth, as this yodelling malarky is catchy stuff.