»Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024
Video on demand from 24 Mar 2024

André Heller & »The Best of Vienna«

The crowning finale of the »André Heller Reflektor« is a fulminant evening of Wienerlied with greats including Voodoo Jürgens, Der Nino aus Wien, Marco Michael Wanda – and André Heller himself.

A famed singer of Austrian »Lieder« and all-round multitalent in his own right, of course when André Heller curates a festival at the Elbphilharmonie he is going to bring together all the hottest names on the Viennese singer scene. Hence the »Best of Vienna« congregate for the grand finale of the »Reflektor« festival in the Grand Hall. And even André Heller himself takes the opportunity to make an appearance on the concert stage for the first time in decades ...

The charismatic singer Voodoo Jürgens is in the mix, along with Nino Mandl, better known as »Der Nino aus Wien«. Other names include the iconic singer-songwriter Ernst [RS1] Molden, as well as Marco Michael Wanda, frontman of the indie rock band of the same name, the entertaining Anna Mabo, and the fabulous singers Tini Kainrath and Ursula Strauss. The ensemble known as »Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln« bring some instrumental diversity, along with the »Frauenorchester« (»Women’s Orchestra«), which actually consists of just three women on guitar, bass and drums. They all respectfully breathe new life into the tradition of Viennese singing, keeping this age-old genre alive. A genre that is unlike any other in the world – a good-humoured mixture of chanson and blues, folk music and cabaret, bursting with spirit and a wit that the Viennese locals refer to as »Schmäh«.

Reflektor André Heller :16 – 24 March 2024

André Heller was curating an exciting festival at the Elbphilharmonie with the title »Fremd in der Fremde« (A Stranger in Foreign Parts), featuring artists from all over the world and across all genres.


André Heller vocals

Ernst Molden guitar, vocals

Der Nino aus Wien guitar, vocals

Voodoo Jürgens vocals, guitar

Anna Mabo vocals, guitar

Tini Kainrath vocals

Ursula Strauss vocals

Marco Michael Wanda vocals

Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln

Peter Uhler violin
Nikolai Tunkowitsch violin
Walther Soyka accordion
Peter Havlicek guitar

Sibylle Kefer guitar, vocals

Marlene Lacherstorfer double bass

Maria Petrova drums

and others

»Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 »Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 © Daniel Dittus
»Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 »Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 © Daniel Dittus
»Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 »Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 © Daniel Dittus
»Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 »Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 © Daniel Dittus
»Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 »Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 © Daniel Dittus
»Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 »Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 © Daniel Dittus
»Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 »Die Besten aus Wien« in der Elbphilharmonie, März 2024 © Daniel Dittus
André Heller André Heller © Daniel Dittus

Gold’nes Herz, dunkler Schmäh :About the programme

Is the Danube as beautiful and blue as Johann Strauss’ greatest waltz classic makes out, or is it more dull and muddy-brown? How can Vienna be the most liveable city in the world (according to the Mercer Study 2023) but also the most unfriendly (according to the Expat City Ranking 2022)? How grey and closed off can a green city be? How much sweetness can the bitterness stand? And how much is death a part of life?

Wienerlied is for everyone

It is contrast that creates harmony in Vienna. And the people sing about it. Ever since the early 19th century, when the old Wienerlied (»Viennese Song«) first emerged as a hodgepodge of the most diverse influences. The tradition of banquet singers and harpists met with operetta and the waltz, while Alpine folk music was merged with Nestroy’s theatre couplets and metropolitan singing styles influenced by immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Large stages were no longer necessary for well-versed Viennese audiences. The music, instead, made its way into the city’s pubs and taverns, where people socialized over wine and enjoyed singing along with performers. Quite unlike what was happening in the big opera houses, the Wienerlied was unequivocally for everyone.

Around the end of the 19th century, this Wienerlied tradition found its most popular form thanks to the brothers Johann and Josef Schrammel: It saw the birth of Schrammel music, named after them, with a classical line-up for instruments including the violin, contraguitar, clarinet and Schrammel harmonica »rumbling« its way through the city for many a decade. Songs about lost love, death, intoxication, the decline of morals and nostalgia could be heard, performed with a blissful melancholy late into the evening. And despite all the gloominess, the golden heart of the Viennese always beat with the brightest fervour. Now more than ever, with great artists having carefully dusted off this heritage and brought new life to the genre. Many of them are performing at the Elbphilharmonie in March 2024 at the invitation of the artistic polymath André Heller.

Das neue Wienerlied

One pioneer of this other, revised Wienerlied genre is Ernst Molden, who has been dissecting the dark soul of the city since the nineties – first as a police reporter, and later as an author and songwriter. He is prolific: his albums are simply countless and there are hardly any Viennese musical greats worth mentioning that he hasn’t already shared a stage with. He has helped define the new Wienerlied and will continue to do so. A tip for you: If you don’t get a chance to discover Vienna somewhere off the beaten track at an ungodly hour of the morning, you can just put on a Molden record. Listen away and imagine as he captures the dusty underbelly of the city and never lets go.

Nino Mandl, better known as Der Nino aus Wien, is regarded as the »Bob Dylan of the Praterstern«, and for good reason. He has been a pivotal figure for Austrian music culture since the late noughties and is right at the beating heart of Vienna’s singer-songwriter scene. He is currently proving that he remains true to the tradition of »Sudern« – Austrian for complaining – which is deeply rooted in the DNA of the Wienerlied, with the first single from his new album: The track is called »Alles 1 Scheiss« and gives the culture of failure a new lease of life. Incidentally, the album is entitled »Endlich Wienerlieder« and is dedicated to his grandfather Rudolf Mandl. He was, as you might expect, a passionate interpreter of Wienerlied.

Der Nino aus Wien: Es ist alles 1 Scheiss

Voodoo Jürgens whisks you off with him on a crawl into the degenerate »Tschocherln« of the city. This is the name given to archetypal Viennese drinking holes where not only the wood-panelled walls are dark, but the characters you meet in there too. Voodoo Jürgens tells their stories, brings a social acceptability to this classic Viennese type, and reaches all generations in the process. He is either on the road with his »Ansa Panier«, regarded by many to be the best live band in Austria, or he is on his own with his guitar and some catchy lyrics in tow. Bittersweet, lyrically precise and extremely entertaining.

Anna Mabo needs nothing more than a guitar to fill an entire concert hall with her songs. Not long ago she wowed audiences with her debut »Die Oma hat die Susi so geliebt«. Ever since this moment, the singer-songwriter, poet and director has been a firm favourite in the Austrian music world. Her latest album »Danke, gut« stands as a testimony to the inaccurate standard answer that usually has more to it. Ask better questions, listen better – and the world will be a better place.

»Danke, gut«

Listen in

Anna Mabo
Anna Mabo Anna Mabo © Ingo Pertramer

Viennese soul and Austropop

Tini Kainrath is at home in almost every music genre. It’s no wonder, looking back on her colourful career to date. She has been a member of the rock theatre group Hallucination Company, represented Austria with the Rounder Girls at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000 and collaborated with such greats as Joe Zawinul, Willi Resetarits and Gloria Gaynor. She has devoted her attention to Viennese Song for many years now, and it shines through in her Viennese soul. Her current album »Wia a rode Rosn« is a collaboration with the concert schrammler Peter Havlicek.

Ursula Strauss is ostensibly a busy, award-winning actress – yet music, her second passion, has been an important force for several years now. She has already performed on a number of concert stages alongside Ernst Molden. Their joint album »Wüdnis« was followed in 2022 by an album with the sweet-sounding name »Oame Söö« (»Poor Soul«). Legends and myths find an authentic Austrian interpretation on this record.

Amore! He has turned the Italian word for love into a battle cry. Although: battle cry isn’t quite the right term. It’s more about being present together in peace, loving together, and suffering together. Marco Michael Wanda, an expert in the art of language, has made his eponymous band one of the most successful in Austrian music history. Their Austropop-Viennese Song-Stadium Rock repertoire inspires people all across the German-speaking world and is a good example of how sometimes even the quietest feelings need to be roared out loud.

Americana in the Viennese suburbs

The Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln play old »Weana Tanz« (»Viennese dances«) and marches in a traditional yet somehow refreshingly contemporary way. They have been doing this ever since the mid-1990s, making them one of the first to bring the Viennese folk song tradition into the present day. After more than ten albums and countless appearances on major stages across Europe, nowadays they prefer to stick to playing in their natural habitat: Vienna’s »Heurigen«, or wine taverns.

The guitarist and singer Sibylle Kefer, a former member of the legendary »Ausseer Hardbradler«, the much-in-demand bassist Marlene Lacherstorfer, a member of the new folk ensemble »ALMA« among others, and Maria Petrova, a drummer with Bulgarian roots, together form Ernst Molden’s »Frauenorchester« (»Women‘s Orchestra«). Their album, recorded during the pandemic, is entitled »Neiche Zeid« - that‘s what Americana sounds like in the Viennese suburbs.

Text: Matthias Alber
Translation: Robert William Smales

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