Tag Archives: Folk music

“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

A bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General Assembly

On 22 June 2018, 208 voting members streamed into the Bierhübeli in Bern. They were there to participate in shaping the destiny of their cooperative society, and to take advantage of the opportunity to network and exchange information. Members, Board members, Executive Committee members, guests from cultural and political spheres, and SUISA staff – all were attending the SUISA’s 2018 Ordinary General Assembly. Text by Dora Zeller

A bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General Assembly

Voting in the packed hall of the Bierhübeli in Bern during SUISA’s General Assembly on 22 June 2018. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Swiss Ländlermix, an ad hoc group consisting of Bruno Brodt, Jost Ribary, Dani Häusler, René Wicky, Robin Mark, Jacqueline Wachter, Kurt Albert and Stefan Schwarz, opened the General Assembly with a surprise folk-music medley. This cross-section of traditional and contemporary Swiss folk music got the public into the proper mood for the meeting.

Swiss Laendlermix

The General Assembly opened on a musical note with a medley of traditional and contemporary Swiss folk music by the ad hoc group “Swiss Ländlermix”. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Before the statutory business, a short film was presented showing the social media platforms launched at the beginning of the year. Apart from the SUISAblog, there are now SUISA Music Stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube.

After the film, the General Assembly approved the annual report, management report, financial statements, cashflows, Notes and auditor’s report for the 2017 financial year. The Board and the Auditor were granted discharge for the reporting year, and the auditing mandate was renewed for 2018.

Amendment of the Articles and election of the Complaints Committee

The main business of the Assembly was the amendment of the Articles of Association. Andreas Wegelin explained why the Articles should be aligned with the Liechtenstein Collecting Societies Act and the EU Directive on Collective Rights Management (CRM Directive). He mentioned the main changes, namely: non-discrimination rules, additional powers to the General Assembly, and greater influence for members. After various suggestions, questions and clarifications, the General Assembly approved the proposed amendments with no negative votes.

The General Assembly also approved the list of candidates for election to the new Complaints Committee. Board members Marco Neeser and Christian Fighera, as well as Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer as external representative (Vice President of the Federal Competition Commission), were elected by a large majority. The same applied for substitutes Roman Camenzind and Zeno Gabaglio (both members of SUISA’s Board) and for external representatives Daniel Alder and Gregor Wild (both attorneys-at-law and members of the Federal Arbitration Commission). Bernhard Wittweiler, Head of SUISA’s Legal Department, was designated Chair of the Complaints Committee. He is a member ex officio of the Complaints Committee and does not have to be elected by the General Assembly.

Natalie Riede

Publisher Natalie Riede (in the picture), a representative of the Swiss electronic music scene, was elected to the Distribution and Works Committee. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Natalie Riede was elected to the Distribution and Works Committee where she replaces Guido Röösli. Through her publishing house, Black Music Management, Natalie Riede has been member of SUISA since 2014; her main focus is on electronica and she represents the Swiss electronic music scene.

In her presentation as Guest Speaker, Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer, President of Swissperform, outlined the activities of the five collective administration societies from the formal, statutory perspective, from the consensual contract- and Articles-based perspective, and from the factual angle.

Podium

SUISA’s Executive Committee reported on the 2017 business year. On the podium, from left to right: Irène Philipp Ziebold, Vincent Salvadé, President Xavier Dayer, Vice-President Marco Zanotta and Andreas Wegelin at the lectern. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Vincent Salvadé and Irène Philipp then provided information about the current business year. Andreas Wegelin reported on the Mint Digital Services joint venture and explained a number of current political developments which were liable to impact SUISA’s business activities. Lastly, Urs Schnell, Director of FONDATION SUISA, reported on the business year of SUISA’s foundation for musical promotion.

SUISA’s President, Xavier Dayer, closed the General Assembly, which had been as substantial as it was interesting, at about 2 pm. He indicated that the next General Assembly would be held on Friday, 21 June 2019, in Biel.

After the meeting, participants were invited to a buffet lunch in the garden of the Bierhübeli, where they had the opportunity to exchange views and pursue discussions with other participants and with SUISA staff members.

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On 22 June 2018, 208 voting members streamed into the Bierhübeli in Bern. They were there to participate in shaping the destiny of their cooperative society, and to take advantage of the opportunity to network and exchange information. Members, Board members, Executive Committee members, guests from cultural and political spheres, and SUISA staff – all were attending the SUISA’s 2018 Ordinary General Assembly. Text by Dora Zeller

A bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General Assembly

Voting in the packed hall of the Bierhübeli in Bern during SUISA’s General Assembly on 22 June 2018. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Swiss Ländlermix, an ad hoc group consisting of Bruno Brodt, Jost Ribary, Dani Häusler, René Wicky, Robin Mark, Jacqueline Wachter, Kurt Albert and Stefan Schwarz, opened the General Assembly with a surprise folk-music medley. This cross-section of traditional and contemporary Swiss folk music got the...read more

“I composed all of my pieces based on gut instinct”

Martin Nauer is one of the three nominees for the Prix Walo 2018 in the category folk music. The accordion player has been performing for more than four decades with the Ländler ensemble Carlo Brunner. At the 44th Prix Walo, SUISA presents the award in the category folk music and has asked Martin Nauer some questions in writing in the context of his nomination. Text/Interview by Sibylle Roth

Martin Nauer: “I composed all of my pieces based on gut instinct”

Martin Nauer has already learned how to play the accordion at the age of five. (Photo: Monika Nussbaumer)

A young Martin Nauer often rode his small ‘hog’ (motorbike) to Meierskappel in order to learn new fingering for the accordion from Walter Grob. He listened to his role models as often as possible since he learned all fingering and chords by ear. Together with Carlo Brunner, he founded the Carlo Brunner ensemble and thus created the foundation for his career in 1975. Nauer had a myriad of performances in Switzerland and abroad and contributed to several vinyl and CD recordings.

Martin Nauer, you have written several pieces for the Carlo Brunner ensemble. How exactly did these pieces come about? Were you given any specifications or were you given a free hand for your compositions?
Martin Nauer: In total, I have composed about 50 melodies. They are all registered on one of the many CDs which we produced with the Carlo Brunner ensemble. When it comes to my compositions, I have never received any specifications or tips nor did I have to adhere to any recommendations. I composed all of my pieces based on gut instinct.

You have been a SUISA member since 1976 and many of your compositions have been edited by various publishers. Could you enjoy a financially carefree life based on the royalties that you receive based on your SUISA membership?
SUISA member since 1976? How time flies! No, the royalties that I am due as a composer and that are paid out to me via SUISA do obviously not allow me to live a carefree life. After all, there aren’t quite that many compositions of mine and they are not played often enough to provide a lot of money based on the remuneration. The royalties are, however, still a welcome ‘top up’ with which I can enjoy the odd thing.

You took a step back from the Carlo Brunner ensemble at the end of 2017. Do you have more time now to compose your own pieces?
I do not exclusively use the time I have gained via my withdrawal from the Carlo Brunner ensemble for composing music. Yet, I still have strong ties with folk music and if I come up with a new melody or at least a sequence for a new dance, I’ll record the sounds onto a tape recorder with the open expectation that one day something might come of it. Since I cannot write or read music, I need help so that the new melody is then put down on paper.

What does the Prix Walo nomination mean to you?
The Prix Walo nomination is a huge joy for me and, at the same time, a great surprise. As a member in the formation and as partner of Carlo Brunner – for more than 43 years – I had the privilege to participate in Carlo’s success whenever he won a Prix Walo. And to this date, that has been the case four times. These awards have always meant a lot in terms of recognition for us ensemble members. The fact that I am personally nominated for the award this time, is really something I didn’t expect. As I said, I am very happy and I am proud that I was bestowed with this great honour by the mere nomination.

www.prixwalo.ch, Prix Walo website

The award ceremony of the 44th Prix Walo takes place on 13 May 2018 in the TPC studios in Zurich and will be broadcast live on Star TV from 08.00pm onwards. At the Prix Walo event, Swiss artists from various genres are honoured. It is the aim of the Prix Walo to promote the Swiss show business in general and young talent in the entertainment sector. SUISA sponsors the Prix Walo and awards the prize in the folk music category this year.
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Martin Nauer is one of the three nominees for the Prix Walo 2018 in the category folk music. The accordion player has been performing for more than four decades with the Ländler ensemble Carlo Brunner. At the 44th Prix Walo, SUISA presents the award in the category folk music and has asked Martin Nauer some questions in writing in the context of his nomination. Text/Interview by Sibylle Roth

Martin Nauer: “I composed all of my pieces based on gut instinct”

Martin Nauer has already learned how to play the accordion at the age of five. (Photo: Monika Nussbaumer)

A young Martin Nauer often rode his small ‘hog’ (motorbike) to Meierskappel in order to learn new fingering for the accordion from Walter Grob. He listened to his role models as often as possible since he learned all fingering and chords by ear. Together with Carlo Brunner,...read more

“Each of us comes up with a piece of music or a melody once in a while”

One of the three nominees for the Prix Walo 2018 in the folk music category is the formation Ils Fränzlis da Tschlin. With their line-up consisting of Domenic and Curdin Janett and their daughters Anna Staschia, Cristina and Madlaina, they have been making music since 2014, loosely based on the “original Fränzlismusig” of the 19th century. At the 44th Prix Walo, SUISA awards the prize for the folk music genre, and has sent some questions on their music, creating compositions and their nomination in writing to Madlaina Janett, the viola player of the formation. Text/Interview by Sibylle Roth

“Each of us comes up with a piece of music or a melody once in a while”

Ils Fränzlis da Tschlin: “We are ambassadors of such pieces which got stuck during their journey through the ballrooms of Europe in the Engadine”. (Photo: Flurin Bertschinger)

The original Fränzlis from the 19th century were brought to life by Franz-Josef Waser who – due to his short stature – was called “Fränzli”. They played dance music and people were talking about the legendary Fränzlis all the way into the 20th century. The new Fränzlis were founded in 1982 by Men Steiner and Domenic Janett. Since 2012, their line-up consisted of clarinet, violin, cello, viola and double base. After the latest changes in their line-up – Cristina joined for the cello and Anna Staschia for the violin – the women are now outnumbering the men in the formation.

Madlaina Janett, Ils Fränzlis da Tschlin have been ambassadors for Engadine dance music. What is the ratio between traditional works and own compositions in your ensemble?
Madlaina Janett, Ils Fränzlis da Tschlin: If we put together a programme for a concert, we attempt to fill it about fifty:fifty with new compositions – by ourselves and other composers –and traditional dances. When we do this, we don’t pursue the objective to renovate or modernise tradition. We just want to have a nice dramaturgy in the concert which offers a lot of diversity and where we are able to surprise the audience every now and then with some unfamiliar tunes. When we play our music on dance occasions – something that’s unfortunately rather rare these days – traditional pieces prevail, since they are better to dance to than new compositions which have often been and are being composed for concert situations.
At this point, we would also like to comment on the key word “ambassadors of Engadine dance music”: We would not describe ourselves as such. On the one hand because we play – as mentioned above – only rarely at dance occasions, and on the other hand, because it’s hardly possible to say what exactly “Engadine music” is supposed to be. Our role models, the original Fränzlis of the 19th century, weren’t even from the Engadine – they were from central Switzerland – and played all sorts of music: from absolutely popular hits via operetta melodies to traditional waltzes. And if you investigate into the so-called ‘traditional’ songs a little more, you often realise that they have had a long odyssey through the dance halls of the entire Alpine region and that it’s absolutely impossible to say whether a piece had been created in the Engadine or rather in the Burgenland, or in Italy. So maybe we are ambassadors of pieces which have stayed behind after their journey through the dance halls in Europe and have been refined in the style of the local musicians.

How do you proceed when you composer new pieces? Your works have often been composed by somebody alone; do you have different approaches?
The approach of each individual Fränzli members are rather different: Curdin and Domenic compose and arrange much on behalf of the widest variety of instrumentation. The younger generation composes in a more spontaneous fashion: If you think of something, you write it down. For the Fränzli programmes, we usually do not have any specific pressure to compose anything. Each of us comes up with a piece of music or a melody once in a while. You bring the finished piece along or the fragment into the rehearsal and then we try out together whether it fits in with our formation or not. This is, by the way, the same approach we take whenever we incorporate works by composers into our programme who do not play with us.

The two oldest and the youngest member of the current formation are SUISA members, whereas you and Cristina aren’t. How so? Are you not involved in the compositions?
Actually, that’s merely a sign that Cristina and I were simply too lazy to look after SUISA matters.
The two compositions we’d each have to register would not really create such an immediate call for action. But that may yet happen …

What does the Prix Walo nomination mean to you?
To be honest: We’re still unsure how someone picked us.
We have – so far – associated the Prix Walo with the big show and TV world, with glitzy dresses and dirndl and not with a formation like ours which nearly always appears in small places, without amplifier and dressed in black.
But of course we are really happy that someone thought of us and and that there is a perception for us even though we do not conform to many of the requirements of the show and entertainment scene.

www.fraenzlis.ch, Ils Fränzlis da Tschlin website
www.prixwalo.ch, Prix Walo website

The award ceremony of the 44th Prix Walo takes place on 13 May 2018 in the TPC studios in Zurich and will be broadcast live on Star TV from 08.00pm onwards. At the Prix Walo event, Swiss artists from various genres are honoured. It is the aim of the Prix Walo to promote the Swiss show business in general and young talent in the entertainment sector. SUISA sponsors the Prix Walo and awards the prize in the folk music category this year.
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Marcel Oetiker: “I often get inspired when I am travelling” | plus videoMarcel Oetiker: “I often get inspired when I am travelling” | plus video At the Zurich station, Hardbrücke, trains rush past, screech in the bends, and groan when starting up and when braking. But Marcel Oetiker has not chosen this as a meeting point because such sounds inspire some artists to take a creative flight of fancy. Read more
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“A lot of what we have in our folk music comes from classical music”“A lot of what we have in our folk music comes from classical music” Dani Häusler is one of three nominees for the Prix Walo 2018 in the category folk music. Häusler started playing the clarinet already at an early age and is nowadays active in several formations. At the 44th Prix Walo event, SUISA presents the award in the category folk music and has asked the nominee some questions in writing. Read more
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One of the three nominees for the Prix Walo 2018 in the folk music category is the formation Ils Fränzlis da Tschlin. With their line-up consisting of Domenic and Curdin Janett and their daughters Anna Staschia, Cristina and Madlaina, they have been making music since 2014, loosely based on the “original Fränzlismusig” of the 19th century. At the 44th Prix Walo, SUISA awards the prize for the folk music genre, and has sent some questions on their music, creating compositions and their nomination in writing to Madlaina Janett, the viola player of the formation. Text/Interview by Sibylle Roth

“Each of us comes up with a piece of music or a melody once in a while”

Ils Fränzlis da Tschlin: “We are ambassadors of such pieces which got stuck during their journey through the ballrooms of Europe in the Engadine”. (Photo: Flurin Bertschinger)

The original Fränzlis from the 19th century were...read more

“A lot of what we have in our folk music comes from classical music”

Dani Häusler is one of three nominees for the Prix Walo 2018 in the category folk music. Häusler started playing the clarinet already at an early age and is nowadays active in several formations. At the 44th Prix Walo event, SUISA presents the award in the category folk music and has asked the nominee some questions in writing. Text/Interview by Sibylle Roth

Dani Häusler: “A lot of what we have in our folk music comes from classical music”

Clarinettist Dani Häusler is one of the youngest recipients of the “Goldener Violinschlüssel“ (Golden Violin Clef). (Photo: Pit Bühler)

At the age of 11, Dani Häusler began playing the clarinet and the saxophone, and, shortly after, performed with his first band, the Gupfbuebä. He studied classical music and influenced modern folk music as part of the formations Pareglish and Hujässler. In 1987, Dani Häusler joined SUISA. He teaches the clarinet, is Director of folk music at the SRF (Swiss national broadcaster), lecturer at the University of Lucerne and he is a recipient of the Golden Violin Clef which he was awarded last year.

Dani Häusler, you have studied classical music and also arranged some classical pieces for folk music such as “Ländlerische Tänze” (“Country Dances”) by Mozart. How do the two music genres mix?
Dani Häusler: A lot of what we have in our folk music comes from classical music. Mozart dances can be taken over pretty much on a one-to-one basis. The difference does, however, become apparent during the interpretation – classical musicians perform in a rather cultivated manner whereas folk musicians do so more crudely. It’s in that difference where I find a great stimulus.

You dedicate yourself to both new and traditional folk music. How do the two styles differ and what do you prefer: To create new compositions or to interpret traditional works?
The “new” folk music is generally more challenging. Much of it is geared towards a concert situation. Traditional folk music rather celebrates cosy gatherings such as going out for dinner, drinks or dancing. You can compose in a traditional or a modern manner – however, the “new stuff” entails a bigger effort. Unfortunately I have not been able to do this due to a lack of time over the last few years.

You are the Director for folk music at the Musikwelle. What is the prognosis for folk music in Switzerland at the moment?
It’s good. But it always depends on where you look. The Schwyzerörgeli (Swiss diatonic button accordion) formations are booming like mad, brass bands have decreased massively. In general, it’s the audience that is mainly missing. Even though major events are on the rise, it gets increasingly harder to organise folk music evenings in restaurants.

What does the Prix Walo nomination mean to you?
I am very happy about it – but it won’t change my life.

www.danihaeusler.ch, Dani Häusler website
www.prixwalo.ch, Prix Walo website

The award ceremony of the 44th Prix Walo takes place on 13 May 2018 in the TPC studios in Zurich and will be broadcast live on Star TV from 08.00pm onwards. At the Prix Walo event, Swiss artists from various genres are honoured. It is the aim of the Prix Walo to promote the Swiss show business in general and young talent in the entertainment sector. SUISA sponsors the Prix Walo and awards the prize in the folk music category this year.
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Dani Häusler is one of three nominees for the Prix Walo 2018 in the category folk music. Häusler started playing the clarinet already at an early age and is nowadays active in several formations. At the 44th Prix Walo event, SUISA presents the award in the category folk music and has asked the nominee some questions in writing. Text/Interview by Sibylle Roth

Dani Häusler: “A lot of what we have in our folk music comes from classical music”

Clarinettist Dani Häusler is one of the youngest recipients of the “Goldener Violinschlüssel“ (Golden Violin Clef). (Photo: Pit Bühler)

At the age of 11, Dani Häusler began playing the clarinet and the saxophone, and, shortly after, performed with his first band, the Gupfbuebä. He studied classical music and influenced modern folk music as part of the formations Pareglish and Hujässler. In 1987, Dani Häusler joined SUISA. He teaches the clarinet, is...read more

Traditional folk music as a basis for more complex compositions

The composer and accordion player Franz «Fränggi» Gehrig receives the FONDATION SUISA Award 2016. The annual recognition award granted by SUISA’s music promotion foundation will be awarded in 2016 in the category “new, current Swiss folk music”. An interview with the 30-year-old award winner from canton Uri on the prize, his musical work and the attraction of old and new traditional folk music. Text/interview by Manu Leuenberger

Traditional folk music as a basis for more complex compositions

Fränggi Gehrig began playing the accordion as an eight-year-old. He studied accordion at the University of Lucerne, in the specialisation field Jazz with a focus on traditional folk music, and also composition. (Photo: Blatthirsch.ch)

Fränggi Gehrig, you are receiving the FONDATION SUISA 2016 award in the category “new, current Swiss folk music”. What does the award mean to you?
Fränggi Gehrig: The award came as a total surprise, as I had no idea when I entered the competition whether I had any chances. That’s why I am now even more happy and am really rather honoured that I am allowed to receive this award.

Many traditions are linked with folk music. What are the challenges if you wish to give folk music a new and current shape?
The most important thing, in my opinion, is never to forget your roots. You have to be careful that you don’t harmonise or rhythmically change melodies in a different way and say this is a new kind of folk music.
I believe that the connection between “traditional” and “new” material won’t work if you have not intensively experienced these traditions over a very long period of time. Especially traditional folk music is very difficult to learn. You need several nights out and the same amount of hours of practice home alone, in order to really be at home in it. It’s my opinion that you need this background in order to give folk music a meaningful new and current shape.

On the one hand, we can often hear you performing old traditional works with your accordion. On the other hand, you write proper compositions for bands such as Rumpus, Stegreif GmbH or the Alpini Vernähmlassig, where you also play. What attracts you to be a performer of old and a composer of new music at the same time?
I like the variety and the range of diverse projects in my work. As I said before, the traditional, “old” music is my base, that’s what I grew up with and I still love playing it very much. I believe it fits better in a cosy boozer where you can dance than in a concert hall. On the other hand, my slightly more complex compositions are more suitable for concert situations. The target audience is, in those cases, totally different, you practically move between two worlds. I like this kind of variety as it inspires me to continue doing both and sometimes combine.

Six years ago, you joined the Swiss Cooperative Society of Music Authors and Publishers. What benefits do you have from a SUISA membership?
I can have my works protected under copyright and benefit when my compositions are performed in public.

Have you already got an idea what you are going to use the FONDATION SUISA award money for?
It is rather likely that I will indulge in buying myself a good instrument which I have been ogling for a while.

Which of the many formations that you play with is currently or in the near future closest to your heart?
It is my aim to push my own quintet forward a bit in future. I also hope that I can continue to enjoy many amazing moments together with my formations and music colleagues.

Official website: www.fraenggigehrig.com

The FONDATION SUISA award is a recognition award with which outstanding creative work is acknowledged which enriches the musical heritage of Switzerland. The award is granted by SUISA’s foundation for the promotion of music ((3)) each year in varying categories and carries a prize money of CHF 25,000. Most recent award winners were: Aliose (category “variety music), Gary Berger («instrumental/vocal composition and electronics), Ruh Musik AG (“Music publishing”), Trummer (“singer-songwriter”) and Michel Steiner and Willi Valotti (“Swiss traditional folk music”).

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The composer and accordion player Franz «Fränggi» Gehrig receives the FONDATION SUISA Award 2016. The annual recognition award granted by SUISA’s music promotion foundation will be awarded in 2016 in the category “new, current Swiss folk music”. An interview with the 30-year-old award winner from canton Uri on the prize, his musical work and the attraction of old and new traditional folk music. Text/interview by Manu Leuenberger

Traditional folk music as a basis for more complex compositions

Fränggi Gehrig began playing the accordion as an eight-year-old. He studied accordion at the University of Lucerne, in the specialisation field Jazz with a focus on traditional folk music, and also composition. (Photo: Blatthirsch.ch)

Fränggi Gehrig, you are receiving the FONDATION SUISA 2016 award in the category “new, current Swiss folk music”. What does the award mean to you?
Fränggi Gehrig: The award came as a total...read more

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