Author Archives: Sibylle Roth

“Ab is Wälschland – off to the Valais” to the Swiss Folk Music Festival

In May, five young folk music performers under the direction of Dani Häusler in Crans-Montana in order to compose a hymn for the Swiss Folk Music Festival 2019 (EVMF). The composition weekend, initiated by SUISA and run in collaboration with the organising committee (OC) of the EVMF was a complete success. Text by Sibylle Roth and Manu Leuenberger; Video by Sibylle Roth

Whereas Hanspeter Zehnder created the commissioned composition of the hymn for the Swiss Folk Music Festival in Aarau in 2015 on his own, this year’s intention was to back the next generation. The musicians were selected and contacted by the OC of the EVMF. “In the beginning, I thought that there was some mixup and the inquiry for the composition weekend had been sent to me by mistake. But now I am very honoured and over the moon”, said Alessia Heim in the interview.

During the selection process, care was taken to have the most common instruments in folk music in the representation. It thus followed that Eva Engler, clarinet, Alessia Heim, dulcimer, Jérôme Kuhn, double bass, Florian Wyrsch, Schwyzerörgeli (a diatonic accordeon) and Siro Odermatt, accordeon, met in Crans-Montana on a Saturday morning in May.

Some of the young people already knew each other and had been performing together, whereas for the others it was the first experience of playing outside their usual formation. Apart from Siro Odermatt, who has been a SUISA member since 2017 and has already composed several pieces himself, the young musicians had no big experience in terms of composing. As a consequence, an experienced folk musician, namely Dani Häusler, was hired as the director of the weekend. Even for such an old hand in the trade this was no everyday task: “The biggest challenge was to have the courage to come to this composition weekend without any preparation”, he revealed afterwards.

Participants of the composition weekend

Participants of the composition weekend f.l.t.r. Florian Wyrsch, Alessia Heim, Siro Odermatt, Eva Engler, Jérôme Kuhn, Dani Häusler. (All photos: Sibylle Roth)

Starting with a blank sheet of paper

Before the first notes sounded from the instruments that the musicians had brought along in the seminar room of the hotel “La Prairie”, where the workshop took place, the group sat down at a table and literally started their work with a blank sheet of paper. The first exchange of ideas was influenced by indeterminate ideas and insecure feelings: A hymn – that’s a big word. What is that supposed to be? How is that supposed to sound? What is expected of us? How are we going to go about it? What kind of dance style is suitable? Where do I find melodies and chords? And: Will we really manage to finish a piece by Sunday?

Workshop director Dani Häusler set the group thinking, bundled up questions, they were jointly looking for answers, ideas and thoughts were put to paper, ideas were firmed up, and soon enough a basis for the piece was defined – still on paper though.

After initial discussions on a suitable dance style, the “Schottisch”, the “discipline for kings” was chosen in the end, says Jérôme Kuhn. On top of that, the group wanted to have some lyrics so people could sing along.

Notes

First ideas were put on paper for the piece.

After that, the group played their instruments for the first time: The young people sat together in twos or threes and jointly collected musical ideas. Whatever they had worked out in small groups was later on presented to the full circle and complemented with potential supporting voices. However, as it is the case sometimes, inspiration doesn’t always want to flow when it is expected to. “We had some start-up difficulties, but suddenly it did function”, Eva Engler said in an interview.

The respective musical breakthrough which was worked out in the following for the finished piece, was possible with Siro Odermatt’s compository experience. “I often play pieces that already exist and then meander towards other melodies, that’s how I then find my own composition”, says Siro Odermatt. Thus, after the initial start-up difficulties, the sparkling idea was found on Saturday afternoon, and the framework for the hymn had been finalised by dinnertime.

Said framework also included the draft for the lyrics of the piece, from which, apart from the title exclamation “Ab is Wälschland …!”, a robust recitative immediately sticks to your memory: “Glich oder glich ned glich – the same or not the same after all”. Jérôme Kuhn mentioned the following in the interview: “All over Switzerland, there is folk music, but in many regions there are various styles.” Whether “the same or not the same after all”, that’s for the curious to find out at the upcoming Swiss Folk Music Festival in Crans-Montana.

Group picture showing the musicians at work

The formation “Wälschland Express» during their work on the piece.

The first performance

On Sunday morning, work continued on the individual parts of the piece especially with regards to the arrangement. Whether in groups or alone, musicians practised their individual voices. Dani Häusler provided helpful tips and supported the group with advice and assistance whenever it was necessary to resolve a bit of confusion with varied musical keys or problems with finding the instrumentation and voices.

Music sheets

Dani Häusler writing the first lines of the sheet music.

Once all voices of the individual instruments had been finalised and once Dani Häusler had created the sheet music of the piece, the newly created work was then heard as a whole for the first time. During further practising rounds, it was constantly refined. “It is a piece ‘appealing to the auditory senses’ which has something unique and is yet suitable for a wider audience”, states Siro Odermatt towards the end of the successful composition weekend.

All parties involved are very satisfied with the final result and look forward to the Swiss Folk Music Festival in September. Regarding the question what he was hoping for the piece, Dani Häusler replied: “The most beautiful thing would be if the piece were to be played in the streets by other formations that are appearing at the festival, and if it was already known to people through broadcasts on the radio.”

The short biographies of the young musicians can be found via our social media channels “SUISA Music Stories” on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

The hymn was professionally recorded with the musicians and Dani Häusler afterwards, in a studio, and can be bought on CD. The VSV (Association of Swiss Folk Music) young music talent funds benefits from the sales proceeds in their entirety.

The 13th Swiss Folk Music Festival takes place from 19-22 September 2019 in Crans-Montana. www.cransmontana2019.ch

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In May, five young folk music performers under the direction of Dani Häusler in Crans-Montana in order to compose a hymn for the Swiss Folk Music Festival 2019 (EVMF). The composition weekend, initiated by SUISA and run in collaboration with the organising committee (OC) of the EVMF was a complete success. Text by Sibylle Roth and Manu Leuenberger; Video by Sibylle Roth

Whereas Hanspeter Zehnder created the commissioned composition of the hymn for the Swiss Folk Music Festival in Aarau in 2015 on his own, this year’s intention was to back the next generation. The musicians were selected and contacted by the OC of the EVMF. “In the beginning, I thought that there was some mixup and the inquiry for the composition weekend had been sent to me by mistake. But now...read more

Switzerland will be represented at the Eurovision Song Contest by Luca Hänni and a song from the SUISA Songwriting Camp | plus video

For the second time in succession, the Swiss entry for the Eurovision Song Contest has come from the SUISA Songwriting Camp. The song “She Got Me” was written last June at the Powerplay Studios by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac as well as Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. Text and video by Sibylle Roth

The song “She Got Me”, which had the working title of “Dirty Dancing”, was written during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018 by a four-person team. With Germany taking another song – “Sister” – from the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, this represents another major success for the songwriting camp, staged by SUISA in collaboration with Pele Loriano Productions.

“It’s fantastic”, says Luca Hänni, a SUISA member since 2015. The Bern native was first exposed to the broader public in a German casting show in 2012. Since then, he has issued four albums and a number of singles, and recently appeared on stage with Helene Fischer. Eurovision is the next big adventure in his career. Hänni says he’s excited, “and I just want to give the best show possible.”

Last year, Luca Hänni took part in the SUISA Songwriting Camp for the first time, with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac returning for a second time. For Laurell Barker, the Swiss camp is a real success story; she contributed to Switzerland’s Eurovision entry last year as well. She wrote the song “Stones” with ZiBBZ, which is made up of SUISA members Corinne and Stefan Gfeller. Jon Hällgren, the Swedish producer, completes the songwriting quartet. After the camp, he produced “She Got Me” for Eurovision 2019 in collaboration with his son Lukas Hällgren.

This year, Swiss broadcaster SRF left the decision on the Eurovision entry to an international jury of 20 experts and a 100-strong viewer panel in a multiple-stage process. Over 420 songs were entered.

On 16 May 2019 (SRF zwei at 9:00 pm), Switzerland will be battling for a place in the Eurovision Song Contest final in Tel Aviv. The Eurovision final will take place on 18 May 2019 (SRF 1 at 8:00 pm).

The SUISA Songwriting Camp took place in June 2018 for the second time. Overall, 36 musicians from eight countries took part in the three-day event in Powerplay Studios, Maur. This resulted in 19 pop songs in a range of styles. The camp was staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA.

www.lucamusic.ch

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For the second time in succession, the Swiss entry for the Eurovision Song Contest has come from the SUISA Songwriting Camp. The song “She Got Me” was written last June at the Powerplay Studios by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac as well as Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. Text and video by Sibylle Roth

The song “She Got Me”, which had the working title of “Dirty Dancing”, was written during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018 by a four-person team. With Germany taking another song – “Sister” – from the SUISA Songwriting Camp 2018 to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, this represents another major success for the songwriting camp, staged by SUISA in collaboration with Pele Loriano Productions.

“It’s fantastic”, says Luca Hänni, a...read more

Eurovision Song Contest: SUISA Songwriting Camp song in the German qualifier | plus video

Success for the SUISA Songwriting Camp: The song “Sister” created during last year’s camp is in today’s German ESC qualifier. The piece was composed and produced by an international songwriting team consisting of Marine Kaltenbacher, Laurell Barker, Tom Oehler and Thomas Stengaard. The German qualifier “Our song for Israel” (“Unser Lied für Israel”) will hit the stage today, Friday, 22 February 2019. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Tonight’s decision night: Which song will represent Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in May 2019 in Tel Aviv? Among the seven final songs is “Sister” which was created during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018. The song was written by SUISA members Marine Kaltenbacher and Tom Oehler together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker. In the follow-up, Danish producer Thomas Steengard came on board for some finetuning.

“Sister” is a song from the SUISA Songwriting Camp which manages to cross borders beyond those of Switzerland. “Thanks to the ESC and the German qualifier, the positive message which we wanted to send with ‘Sister’, enjoys a much bigger distribution” says singer songwriter Marine Kaltenbacher who performs under the name Submaryne and is from Lausanne. Berne songwriter and producer Tom Oehler also considers the participation of the song in the German qualifier as a huge step: “A song which participates in the ESC may well represent a huge career leap for a songwriter or producer.”

Laurell Barker: Several successes at the ESC

While Tom Oehler and Marine Kaltenbacher participated at a SUISA Songwriting Camp for the first time, Laurell Barker has already gathered ESC experience and took part at the camp, co-organised by SUISA, for a second time.  Not without success: At the first SUISA Songwriting Camp, she was a co-composer of “Stones” by ZiBBZ; the song represented Switzerland at the ESC 2018 in Lisbon. Laurell Barker is already now considered to be a participant at the finale of this year’s ESC: She is one of the composers of the British contribution “Bigger Than Us” sung by Michael Rice. The song qualified directly for the ESC finale, since the UK, together with Germany, France, Italy and Spain, belong to the “Big Five” countries. “I’d be extremely blessed and lucky if I could represent more than just one country in Tel Aviv – that would be crazy”, Laurell Barker says in the video.

“Unser Lied für Israel” today at 8.15pm on ARD

The song is performed by Sisters, a duo consisting of the two singers Carlotta Truman and Laurita Spinelli. The finale of “Our song for Israel” (“Unser Lied für Israel”) is broadcast tonight from 8.15pm onwards live on ARD. The ESC finale in Tel Aviv will take place on 18 May 2019. Germany is also directly qualifying for the finale as one of the “Big Five” countries. Other countries – among them Switzerland – fight for an entry into the finale on 14 and 16 May.

The SUISA Songwriting Camp took place for the second time in June 2018. A total of 36 musicians from 8 countries participated in the 3-day-long event in the Powerplay Studios in Maur. 19 pop songs were created, with varied styles and expressions. The Camp was organised by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA.

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Creative teamwork at SUISA’s 2018 Songwriting Camp | plus video – SUISA organised the second edition of its Songwriting Camp in cooperation with Pele Loriano Productions. Like the premiere last year the camp again took place at the Powerplay Studios in Maur. A total of 36 musicians from eight different countries attended the three-day event in June 2018, creating 19 pop songs in a wide range of musical styles. Read more
“We wanted to write a song that suits us” | plus video – Siblings Co and Stee Gfeller, better known as ZiBBZ, are battling it out for entry to the Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Stones”. They wrote the song together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker at the songwriting camp staged by Pele Loriano Productions and SUISA in August 2017. In the video, the two siblings tell us more about how the song came about and why this kind of songwriting camp is so important. Read more
 “Adiós”: Caribbean-style summer hit with a cembalo | plus video – At the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019, together with four co-composers Loco Escrito can hope for the sought-after concrete blocks in the category “Best Hit” for the song “Adiós”. The musician and music university lecturer Hans Feigenwinter talks about where the strengths of the song lie in a video with his song analysis. Read more
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  1. Erika Keller says:

    Es wundert mich, dass nicht mehr Leute für Sisters angerufen haben zumindesten aus dem “Lager” wo daran gearbeitet wurde in der Schweiz. Ich habe auch für Deutschland angerufen. Trotzdem gab es beim puplic voting für Sisters null Punkte.
    Es wird wohl am System der Punktevergabe liegen, welches ich nicht kenne und ich wäre für eine Erklärung dankbar.

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Success for the SUISA Songwriting Camp: The song “Sister” created during last year’s camp is in today’s German ESC qualifier. The piece was composed and produced by an international songwriting team consisting of Marine Kaltenbacher, Laurell Barker, Tom Oehler and Thomas Stengaard. The German qualifier “Our song for Israel” (“Unser Lied für Israel”) will hit the stage today, Friday, 22 February 2019. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Manu Leuenberger

Tonight’s decision night: Which song will represent Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in May 2019 in Tel Aviv? Among the seven final songs is “Sister” which was created during the SUISA Songwriting Camp in June 2018. The song was written by SUISA members Marine Kaltenbacher and Tom Oehler together with Canadian songwriter Laurell Barker. In the follow-up, Danish producer Thomas...read more

“Adiós”: Caribbean-style summer hit with a cembalo | plus video

At the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019, together with four co-composers Loco Escrito can hope for the sought-after concrete blocks in the category “Best Hit” for the song “Adiós”. The musician and music university lecturer Hans Feigenwinter talks about where the strengths of the song lie in a video with his song analysis. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

Nicolas Herzig – Loco Escrito’s real name – seems to have found the success formula for summer hits. After he hit the Swiss Charts with “Sin Ti” in 2017, he outdid his success last year: The single “Adiós” stayed in the Swiss Charts for 29 weeks and climbed all the way to 4th position. The song thus counted among the three most successful Swiss tracks in 2018 and has been nominated for the award as “Best Hit” at the Swiss Music Awards.

Varied and thrilling dramaturgy

Hans Feigenwinter thinks that one interesting aspect of the song was the instrumentation of the stanzas. He is a musician himself and lectures musicology at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. He thoroughly analyses the song in the video.

For Nicolas Herzig and co-composer and producer Henrik Amschler it was paramount that “Adiós” should remain varied and contain a thrilling dramaturgy. In an interview given in writing, Amschler stated: “Since the song does, for example, not contain a classical bridge with a change of chord after the second chorus but three parts, it was important to us that each part was special in its own way.” The various song parts have therefore also their respective and different moods, as Amschler adds: “The first section of the second part is rhythmical and animates you to dance. The first section of the third part, on the other hand, is spheric and very emotional.”

(International) songwriting team work

In addition to Amschler and Herzig, three other musicians were involved in writing the song “Adiós”. Composer Sandro Dietrich from Graubünden and Latin Rapper, singer, percussionist and music producer Lou Geniuz, aka Lou Zarra, from the same Swiss canton, laid the musical foundation which was already very much developed according to Amschler. With regards to the lyrics, Nicolas Herzig was supported by Columbian musician Jonathan Ruiz Meija. “It was therefore up to Loco and me to continue with the song, to adapt it and to complete it,” writes Amschler.

The songwriters and the producer have deliberately renounced on using too many instruments. “We had actually planned to use more instruments, for example in the chorus”, explains Henrik Amschler. “At the end of the day, however, we decided to reduce in order to provide the vocals with more space by way of various harmonies.” Nevertheless, “Adiós” surprises with interesting sounds, such as a harpsichord or cembalo-like sound – something that is rather unusual for pop music according to Hans Feigenwinter.

“Swiss Music Awards”: SUISA awards the songwriter of the “Best Hit”

“Adiós” is one of the three songs that have been nominated for the “Best Hit” at the next “Swiss Music Awards” which will be awarded at the Culture and Congress Centre Lucerne (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern KKL) on Saturday, 16 February 2019. SUISA is a “supporting partner” of the event. For the fourth time, the “Best Hit” award is also issued to composers and lyricists of the winning song on behalf of SUISA. The nominated songs are:

  • “079” by Lo & Leduc (songwriter: Lorenz Häberli, Maurice Könz, Luc Oggier)
  • «Adiós» by Loco Escrito (songwriter: Henrik Amschler, Sandro Dietrich, Nicolas Herzig, Jonathan Ruiz Mejia, Luigi Zarra)
  • «Us Mänsch» by Bligg feat. Marc Sway (songwriter: Marco Bliggensdorfer, Fred Herrmann, Marc Sway)

www.locoescrito.com
www.henrik-hsa-amschler.ch

Hans Feigenwinter comes from Basel. During his early years, he played in pop and indie rock bands. Lateron, he studied piano at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne and has since been active as a pianist and composer in various formations. In addition to solo concerts, he is currently performing in the trios Hans Feigenwinter ZINC and Feigenwinter Oester Pfammatter. He is a lecturer at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. www.hansfeigenwinter.ch
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At the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019, together with four co-composers Loco Escrito can hope for the sought-after concrete blocks in the category “Best Hit” for the song “Adiós”. The musician and music university lecturer Hans Feigenwinter talks about where the strengths of the song lie in a video with his song analysis. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

Nicolas Herzig – Loco Escrito’s real name – seems to have found the success formula for summer hits. After he hit the Swiss Charts with “Sin Ti” in 2017, he outdid his success last year: The single “Adiós” stayed in the Swiss Charts for 29 weeks and climbed all the way to 4th position. The song thus counted among the three most successful Swiss tracks in 2018 and has been nominated for...read more

“079”: A tragicomic hit story | plus video

Lo & Leduc and their co-composer Maurice “Dr Mo” Könz have made history with “079”: Last year, the song stayed an entire 21 weeks at the top of the national charts – and thus broke a Swiss record. “079” is one of the three nominated songs for the “Best Hit award at the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019. Musician and lecturer for musicology, Hans Feigenwinter, analysed the hit composition. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

How “079” found its way into the Swiss charts is already a remarkable story. In February 2018, Lo & Leduc offered the song and the respective album “Update 4.0” for streaming and downloading, free of charge, on their website – “because of joy” as they said in an interview at the time. The audience liked the song so much that it sold more and more and was streamed ever more increasingly. That way, “079” made it to number 1 of the Swiss single charts and held the top spot for 21 weeks.

The song was written by Lorenz Häberli (Lo), Luc Oggier (Leduc) and the Berne composer, DJ and performer Maurice Könz, better known as Dr. Mo. The latter wrote the melody to which Lo & Leduc added the lyrics. “The lyrics and the music were created completely independently of each other”, tells Dr. Mo in relation to the creation process of the piece in a written interview. Both elements had already nearly been finished when they were finally combined. “We had tried to combine the lyrics with another beat, respectively to write another set of lyrics for the beat”, Dr. Mo writes. “These ideas, however, were quickly dismissed. When we then combined those lyrics with that beat, we knew immediately that everything fits perfectly.”

Original, moving, somewhat absurd

Last but not least, the story that the song is about contributed to its success. “It is a tragicomic story. It is original, it is comprehensible, it is moving; it all has something absurd about it”, says pianist and composer Hans Feigenwinter who lectures musicology at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. His analysis of the song can be seen in the video.

The fact that searching for the right words can be rather time intensive in certain cases, is shown by Dr. Mo on the basis of a specific example: “The search for a suitable personal pronoun lasted the longest. We were unsure whether the story can be understood if two different singers perform it from a first person perspective, all the while are depicting the same person. We thus also thought about telling a story about “him” so that the confusion about the personalities could be remedied. This, however, created problems with the conjugation, rhymes and emotional access. We finally decided, and rightly so, that we would have to impose the first person perspective onto the listener.

“Swiss Music Awards”: SUISA awards the songwriter of the “Best Hit”

“079” is one of the three songs that have been nominated for the “Best Hit” at the next “Swiss Music Awards” which will be awarded at the Culture and Congress Centre Lucerne (Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern KKL) on Saturday, 16 February 2019. SUISA is a “supporting partner” of the event. For the fourth time, the “Best Hit” award is also issued to composers and lyricists of the winning song on behalf of SUISA. The nominated songs are:

  • “079” by Lo & Leduc (songwriter: Lorenz Häberli, Maurice Könz, Luc Oggier)
  • «Adiós» by Loco Escrito (songwriter: Henrik Amschler, Sandro Dietrich, Nicolas Herzig, Jonathan Ruiz Mejia, Luigi Zarra)
  • «Us Mänsch» by Bligg feat. Marc Sway (songwriter: Marco Bliggensdorfer, Fred Herrmann, Marc Sway)

www.lo-leduc.ch
www.drmo.ch

Hans Feigenwinter comes from Basel. During his early years, he played in pop and indie rock bands. Lateron, he studied piano at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne and has since been active as a pianist and composer in various formations. In addition to solo concerts, he is currently performing in the trios Hans Feigenwinter ZINC and Feigenwinter Oester Pfammatter. He is a lecturer at the music universities in Basel and Lucerne. www.hansfeigenwinter.ch
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Award for songwriters at the Swiss Music Awards | plus videoAward for songwriters at the Swiss Music Awards | plus video The newcomer Nickless and the renowned producer Thomas Fessler won the first award for songwriters at the Swiss Music Awards 2016. The winning song “Waiting”, jointly composed by the two, didn’t appear out of thin air but is the result of lots of teamwork. At the occasion of the Swiss Music Awards 2017, SUISA will honour the performance of composers and lyricists with an award again. Read more
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Creative teamwork at SUISA’s 2018 Songwriting Camp | plus videoCreative teamwork at SUISA’s 2018 Songwriting Camp | plus video SUISA organised the second edition of its Songwriting Camp in cooperation with Pele Loriano Productions. Like the premiere last year the camp again took place at the Powerplay Studios in Maur. A total of 36 musicians from eight different countries attended the three-day event in June 2018, creating 19 pop songs in a wide range of musical styles. Read more
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Lo & Leduc and their co-composer Maurice “Dr Mo” Könz have made history with “079”: Last year, the song stayed an entire 21 weeks at the top of the national charts – and thus broke a Swiss record. “079” is one of the three nominated songs for the “Best Hit award at the “Swiss Music Awards” 2019. Musician and lecturer for musicology, Hans Feigenwinter, analysed the hit composition. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi; Video by Sibylle Roth

How “079” found its way into the Swiss charts is already a remarkable story. In February 2018, Lo & Leduc offered the song and the respective album “Update 4.0” for streaming and downloading, free of charge, on their website – “because of joy” as they said in an interview at the time. The audience liked the...read more