RiA Reiser began her career as a yodelling queen, before going on to completely reinvented herself. Now, as the rapper RiA, she’s shining the stage light on the Lower Bavarian dialect
RiA, the rapper
Afrobeats and Reggae! Rock, Pop and Funk! Hip-hop and gospel! There is hardly a style that RiA (formerly Maria Reiser) has not mastered and incorporated into her sound. The “Femcee” and power woman from Bavaria’s Hallertau valley is just starting out with her second career and a completely new genre.
As a mother of two, she now has plenty to talk about, and has chosen to switch from yodelling pop to quick-witted rap music. It’s only the heavy hip hop beats that are new: she remains true to her mother tongue and raps in Lower Bavarian.
The titles of her songs are called “KuntaBuntaHund”, “Watschn Bamm” or “Huastnguadlbua”: Since 2019, RiA has released one single after another. “My sound consists of polyphonic choruses, pushing bass, catchy choruses and boss-it rap lines,” she says.
What do you mean, hooking and boss-like? “Well, I just like to set the tone,” the musician explains with a laugh. “And by catchy, I mean choruses that just stick in your ear, so they definitely stick.”
The inventor of yodel pop
Some people know RiA quite differently, because this self-confident artist originally began her musical career as a yodelling pop musician: “I came up with the idea of yodelling pop in 2008 during a self-discovery trip through Africa. I found my way back to my Bavarian roots in Namibia and South Africa of all places, where people also include a lot of “Kehlkopf schlagen” in their songs (a special yodelling technique that involves patting the larynx to induce a unique sound).
“In Africa, of all places, I found my way back to my Bavarian roots”
The fact that the people in southern Africa don’t understand Bavarian didn’t matter: “The music connected us. That was an insanely great experience!” Back in Germany, Maria really took off – in Berlin, of all places, where even Bavarian films are shown in cinemas with subtitles.
The time was probably ripe for Bavarian dialect music at that time, says RiA looking back: “Dialect and traditional influences in music were suddenly no longer uncool, but really in demand!”
But then came a crisis: RiA separated from her then husband and co-producer. As a result, she had to end her career as “Maria Reiser” for legal reasons alone. “It was a major setback,” she recalls, “but a true passion is not so easily buried.
After a two-year break from music, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve already achieved so much, I’m not just going to give it up now. So I started it all over again from scratch.”
A key moment was her appearance on The Voice of Germany. “I didn’t get on after the blind auditions, partly because my dialect-driven singing didn’t really fit the show format. But backstage, I got so much encouragement, everyone thought the Bavarian was cool. That gave me the decisive motivational kick I needed.”
From the background and into the limelight
RiA used to be a member of a rap band in her youth: “Rap music has been with me since I was a teenager and chanting means ultimate lyrical expression for me – storytelling at its best,” she says.
But, in her band at the time, she was initially only allowed to sing background vocals in High German. “At some point, I thought to myself: I’ll just start rapping myself now, in my native Bavarian!”
To do this, she first had to learn how to produce layouts and adopted a technique from her idol Timbaland, who also produced the albums of hip-hop icon Missy Elliott. Meanwhile, RiA also likes to pass on her knowledge to newcomers.
Her style is classified as entertainment rap: “My sound is fun, danceable and you should definitely laugh at it, because all the lyrics are written with a certain wink.”
“The thing you want to ignite in others has to burn within you”
Message to women
With her songs, RiA also wants to convey a message: Cohesion, respect and female assertiveness. “I’m not as deep as I am in ‘conscious rap’; however, in my lyrics, I say very clearly what I stand for, what I think is good and what doesn’t work at all. Moreover, I explicitly address women. As a single mother, I know how much strength the double burden of family and career takes.”
The musician especially wants to inspire young women, mothers and single parents to realise their dreams – and tries to infect them with her energy: “My experience teaches me: just go for it, make a start and do it. The thing you want to ignite in others has to burn within you” says RiA.
Appearance in Lady Style
Until now, RiA Reiser’s new songs could only be heard on digital streaming portals and her YouTube channel. But now she is itching to get going again live: “Whenever I stand on stage and enjoy that special closeness to the audience, I feel energised,” she says. “As soon as I’m ready to go again, I’ll be going on an album release tour through Bavaria and Austria with my band and dancers.”
However, RiA no longer wears a dirndl like she did when she was a yodelling queen; she describes her stage outfit as “Grown up Lady Style”: “As a rapping woman, I want to be compatible with the world and not just have the beer tent entertainment stamp put on me,” she explains.
She remains true to her Bavarian roots by living in a small village. And, of course, through her dialect: “Since my dialect and I are like two peas in a pod, it would be a bit unnatural for me to rap and sing in High German. Not that I can’t, but I basically prefer what’s most authentic!”
More about RiA and her sound at ria-sound.com (only in German)
... from RiA
There are so many beautiful places in the region around Kelheim: the stunningly colourful fields and hop gardens in Hallertau, the traditional beer gardens, small towns. I have grown particularly fond of Landshut, where I did my training as a technical model maker. And, of course, Regensburg, the most beautiful city in the world!
hopfenland-hallertau.de (only in German)
From 'Biergarten' to 'Biergarten'
A bicycle tour from Puttenhausen/Mainburg to Kelheim is highly recommended. There are many great beer gardens along the route, such as the one at “Schloss Ratzenhofen” or the brewery “Zum Kuchlbauer” in Abensberg with its tower – the “Hundertwasserturm”. If you like, you can visit the “Befreiungshalle” (Liberation Hall) in Kelheim. Their acoustics there are simply breathtaking!
kelheim.de (only im German)
Excursion to Weltenburg
From Kelheim, why not take a detour to Weltenburg, either by bike or by boat. You’ll pass the Danube Gorge, where it’s great to swim in summer. And if you like it really all things Bavarian, stop off in the “Klosterschenke Weltenburg” beer garden and drink the beer brought to you by the oldest monastery brewery in the world.
Biergarten – the organic way
One real insider tip is just around the corner from me: the idyllic beer garden at the farm “Biohof Kreitmair” in Notzenhausen. Organic products are available to take away in the farm shop.
biohof-kreitmair.de (only in German)