Who was/is Günter Gall ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Günter Gall

"Dialect? This is still a piece of home for me" (Günter Gall)

In March 2007, Günter Gall (born 1947) was honoured for his special services to the homeland and dialect literature with the Franz Peter Kurten Award, which is presented every two years by the Rhein-Kreis Neuss and the International Dialect Archive 'Ludwig Soumagne'. In Neuss in the middle of the 70's also Galls interest in Lower Rhine dialect songs was awakened. During his studies at the Pädagogische Hochschule, he had the opportunity to browse through Professor Ernst Klusen's Lower Rhine Folk Song Archive. Language has always been an important factor for Günter Gall, as he said in an interview with the 'Neuss-Grevenbroicher Zeitung': "I grew up on the flat land between potatoes, church and Kappes. The village was called Ossenberg. In the shadow of the Solvay works I grew up in a small workers' settlement; two thirds of the settlement still spoke Platt, my grandparents, many neighbours. Only in school, we weren't allowed to. Miss Sonntag was always furious and radioed in between: 'Speak High German!'"

In 1977 Günter Gall founded the duo Fukkepott with Walter Jaeger, with whom his first LP with exclusively Lower Rhine dialect songs was recorded and released in 1978: 'Lüj, heij spöllt de Fukkepott'. 1980 followed the duo Mulwerk, later extended to a trio. With Mulwerk, the songwriter, comedian, storyteller and book author, who now lives in Osnabrück, picked up on traditional songs from the Lower Rhine that he had heard from his neighbours as a child. In 1987 the group Düwelskermes was founded, with Volker Leiß on recorders and tenor horn and Wolfgang Meyering on mandolin and keyboard. In the course of time, Günter Gall, who has mainly performed solo since the mid-1990s, also turned to literary texts from his home region, e.g. by Aletta Esser or Theodor Bergmann. And he started writing his own lyrics. An almost inevitable development, as he said in 1994 in an interview with the 'FM folk-michel': "Traditional lyrics didn't satisfy me any more, because on the one hand they are related to the past, as valuable as they may be for the present, and on the other hand because they are musically fixed as folk songs. At some point the topics were exhausted. After all, it's mainly about love relationships between small people or about historical everyday topics. And in the present there are so incredibly diverse new topics, which one can grasp also with Flat German texts."

Günter Gall refers to Rolly Brings' anti-fascist song Morje, Morje as proof that one can also write political songs well in Low German. In many plays about his Lower Rhine homeland, he himself addressed the pollution of the Rhine and its tributaries, for example, or the disfigurement of the landscape by growing industrialisation.

Around Easter 1976 Günter Gall hitchhiked through Scotland - with backpack and guitar. He met Dave Goulder at a folk festival in Inverness. "I took him to his house near Gairloch. There - at a session - I heard the 'January Man' for the first time." Ten years later the song, which metaphorically describes the seasons, was released as his first flat German adaptation of a foreign song on the LP 'Van Schereschlipp on andere Lüj'. "The important thing is not to translate literally, but to make your own story out of it. The Lower Rhine is not England or Scotland, so you have to add the local conditions. You have to see this January man sitting on the dike."



Extract from
Various - songwriter in Germany
Vol.3, For whom we sing (3-CD)

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