For those of us who are not quite fluent in the German language, sometimes you need a good challenge. It is like a good kick in the pants, so to speak. Vienna, Austria’s Voodoo Jürgens is just that challenge.
In the days before this digital world in which we live, music fans had to decipher lyrics from liner notes. We would pour over the backs of record sleeves or the booklets inside of CDs. Today, you can generally do a simple web search to find out the text to a song.
I mention all of this because Voodoo Jürgens sings in a Viennese dialect (Wienerisch) of the German language. If you study standard German, or Hochdeutsch, Voodoo’s tunes can be a little challenging, to say the least. But with infectious melodies, confident delivery, and compelling storytelling, the challenge is completely worth it. (At least I think so!)
So this month, let’s take on that challenge and learn German with the music of Voodoo Jürgens!
Get to Know Voodoo Jürgens
Voodoo Jürgens was born David Öllerer on August 2, 1983, in Tulln an der Donau, just northwest of the Austrian capital. In his late teens, Öllerer moved to Vienna. After his school education, Öllerer trained as a Konditor at Vienna’s famous Hofzuckerbäcker Demel and also worked as a gardener at a cemetery. But it was the call of music that he could not ignore.
He was a founding member of the band Die Eternias, an indie garage group. Öllerer played guitar and was the frontman of the band. What’s more, he sang in English. The group released two full-length records, a self-titled album in 2010 and Sold Out in 2012.
Around 2014, with Die Eternias now defunct, Öllerer made a move to go solo. On each Die Eternias release, the band members adopted pseudonyms. The last pseudonym that Öllerer used was Voodoo Jürgens, a play on the name of Austrian Schlager singer Udo Jürgens.
Music of Voodoo Jürgens
He started out writing music on his own with a guitar and in the Viennese dialect. And it didn’t take long before he started to generate some buzz. After a guest performance with fellow Vienna musicians Wanda, Voodoo was signed to a contract by Wanda’s management.
By the spring of 2016, the first Voodoo Jürgens single was released: “Heite grob ma Tote aus.” The catchy, swinging track quickly became a hit, even if not everyone understood the lyrics.
His debut full-length release, Ansa Woar, followed before the end of 2016. The record spent an impressive 21 weeks on the Austrian album charts, reached the top of the chart, and has since gone gold.
Voodoo’s whirlwind success has since created a serious of collaborations (such as the one with Der Nino aus Wien) and opportunities (like when he made a cameo as himself in an episode of Tatort).
But he hasn’t stopped working. In the fall of 2019, the sophomore Voodoo Jürgens album was released. ‘S klane Glücksspiel spent eight weeks on the Austrian charts and reached the second spot.
The album is just as memorable as its predecessor. Voodoo’s storytelling style shines on the title track although it might be the accordion melody that makes it the most appealing. Elsewhere the single “Angst haums” is a darker sounding track with an intensity that builds and builds.
Listen to Voodoo Jürgens
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
Photo is by Ingo Pertramer. This post contains affiliate links.