Echoes of Home (Heimatklänge) (Director: Stefan Schwietert, Switzerland/Germany, 2007): You might think a documentary about yodeling — wait, yodeling? Yes, you read right — may induce yawning from an audience, but Echoes of Home proves the contrary. It investigates yodeling through the eyes (and vocal cords) of three Swiss musicians: Christian Zehnder, Erika Stucky and Noldi Alder. In some way I was prepared for an 81-minute version of the Lonely Goatherd song from The Sound of Music, a fun song, albeit Richard Rodgersâ€™ “musicalized” take on the Swiss tradition. But what I got was a beautiful film about the traditional yodeling as expressed by Noldi (part of the famous Alder family) and the more contemporary sounds of Christian and Erika. Their voices mimicked seagulls at the shore or the chugging of a locomotive or a babyâ€™s cry. It sounded odd at first, but I grew accustomed to the wordless, harmonious notes.
Schwietert captures these musicians in various settings, whether in front of an audience, on the mountains, in the kitchen or in a pub. They need no concert hall, only a quiet space — a void — to create sound.
Although about 10 minutes too long (there were several points around the 70-minute mark where it could have ended), the film certainly warrants a look â€“ and a listen. And if the harmonious sounds are too much, just mute the DVD and enjoy the scenery.