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Bart Plantenga

Bart Plantenga is the author of the novel Beer Mystic, and Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World (Routledge); he also compiled the CD Rough Guide to Yodel. He is currently working on Yodel in HiFi, a documentary on yodeling, and two new yodel compilations.

The Yodel that Ate Celluloid:

Yodeling as Secret Weapon Tim Burton’s over-the-top 1996 film Mars Attacks, about menacing Martians conquering a globe of naïve earthlings, features the yodel as the vocal equivalent of a secret PsyOps weapon that ultimately saves the earth from Martian domination. At a climactic instant, the headphones of an eccentric old lady who’s always listening to her favorite yodeler, Slim Whitman, suddenly slip off her head, exposing the Martians to Whitman’s histrionic yodeling-crooning: "When I’m calling you-oo-oo…" Yodeling’s high notes shatter the Martians’ helmets and their heads explode in great bursts of green cerebral goo.

Masked Avenger Claims Yodeling Cured His Asthma

Masked avengers are a strange, lonely breed: Batman, the Lone Ranger, Zorro, Wonder Woman. They operate as one-person operations, alienated from society and paperwork, at once heroic and existential.

Yodel-Spotting: Lapsed-Mennonites, Yodeling Truck Drivers, Japanese Carnivores in Lederhosen, and Soft-Core Tyrolean Yodel Porn

Dogs go through life following their noses from dog truffle to urine tag. I careen through life from yodel to yodel. Call it research, audio hallucination, or hyper-sensitivity, but I hear everything—anti-terrorism, the olympics, pop music, politics, sirens, “Bee-ah hee-ah” vendors at Yankee Stadium—through the ears of a yodel “expert.” Fixations, phobias, and zealotry give “purpose” to our wanderings.

Drive-By Yodel

I don’t know how it happens, but things evolve of their own accord in life, shoved along by one’s own preoccupations and interests.

Cyrill Schläpfer with Bart Plantenga

Cyrill Schläpfer is one of those possessed artists, a bent ethnomusicologist veteran of many journeys into the Alpine countryside.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues