Swiss Traditional Music Group
Mr. Swiss having a drum practice
Swiss Traditional Music Group
Mr. Swiss having a drum practice
I found a seat but decided not to sit down. I was in my wheelchair taking a wheelie and happened to be driving through the local cemetery and I saw this lonely chair. The only objects taking a rest on it were some fallen leaves from the local trees. Who needs a chair in a cemetery? There are wooden benches to sit on so why put a metal chair in a corner for no apparent reason. I saw it last week and am wondering whether it will still be there next week: just a forgotten chair.
You asked for music so here it is. My husband Mr. Swiss, on the drums on the left, and the others have been around for so many years, they more or less grew up together in the jazz world. No traditional jazz here, think of mainstream and you are near to it. Mr. Swiss loved jazz from the beginning when he had his first drum lessons as a young teenager. We now have two sets of drums, in the hobby room in the cellar. Thank goodness we have good insulation and he can practice.
The photo was from a jam session in 2012 in a renovated farmhouse that belongs to one of the music colleagues. They sprout up everywhere here. Now we are 6 years later. The jam sessions are now few and far between, the youngsters now golden oldies, but they can still play and still have their fun.
And here is another one in a local restaurant with another group. And me, I can play piano, but nothing to appear on stage with and I am one of the most qualified experts on Bebop and mainstream as a part time job. When you are married for 50 years to a jazzer, you become a part time expert.
When you are married to a musician, a drummer, then there are always photos of music in your collection. Here is Mr. Swiss on drums with others playing in a local restaurant in our town.
A groups of musicians in Marrakesh, Morocco that played when we were enjoying an evening in a bedouin tent.
The organ in the St.Urs cathdral in the neighbouring town of Solothurn in Switzerland. I remember when I took the photo, as the organist was playing at the time.
At least it is for me. First of all because I rarely, almost never, have YouTube stuff on my blog. I don’t have anything against YouTube. On the contrary, there are certain films and music pieces I enjoy, but a blog with a YouTube on it I find without imagination.
On the other hand, sometimes things happen and I find, why not? If you do not like it you can switch it off, do not have to listen. This time I am submitting some hard rock: you know the stuff that Guns and Roses, ACDC and Aerosmith etc. etc. entertain us with and yes, I do have a Guns and Roses and ACDC CD amongst my collection. There are times when a little mad music gives you a chance to let your hair down and if there is a strong beat, then let’s listen and keep the rhythm with the keyboard (on the computer of course).
So what is this all about? Today is the 65th birthday of Chris von Rohr, who happens to come from the same area where I live in Solothurn and plays bass guitar with Krokus, who also happens to be a rock band from our area. Of course I know the band, not personally, but now and again see Chris von Rohr in town and I love their music. My son has probably never missed a concert if nearby. They are now all slowly becoming golden oldies, like myself, but still rock and are an institution in the German speaking part of Switzerland. They have even been on visits to the States, although probably not so well known. Anyhow I thought I would dare to put up a video of them singing Bedside Radio which one of the songs written by Chris von Rohr, together with Fernando von Arb and Jürg Naegeli. It happened to be playing today on the radio, probably in honour of the birthday boy and so I thought yes, lets have a listen. Chris von Rohr is the guy with the long blond hair and the dark glasses. Just to mention he is also an author and written a few books.
Of course I like music. From the days of my childhood listening to family favourites on the radio on Sunday morning to Sunday afternoon listening to Pick of the Pops with Alan Freeman, I loved it all. I progressed to opera as a teenager and often visited Sadlers Wells Theater in London at the Angel for a nice juicy opera. I discovered Verdi and Rossini, Puccini and all the rest. Of course Covent Garden would have been better, with all the famous stars, but a teenager in London in the sixties did not have the money.
Instead of boring you with YouTube videos of my favourites which are probably not your favourites, I just took a selection of the CD’s I like to listen to and took a photo. I know today we all do streaming. I had to ask Mr. Swiss what it is called, as I am still an old fashioned golden oldie. His computer is full of music, mine is full of photos. All the same I could not resist. On the top left we have Best of Udo Jürgens who suprisingly passed away last year. Ok he was knocking on 80, but could still do a good song with his piano accompaniment: nice little songs and no problem to listen to. In the middle at the top Paolo Conte, my all time favourite Italian singer. I have all of his records and my workmates bought me a ticket (actually two, one for Mr. Swiss as well) for a concert in Bern for my birthday. It was great. Next to him on the right we have a young Billy Joel, they were all young when I listened to them. I must admit I never actually bought the record, it was again a birithday present from my son. Bottom left Tom Waits, need I say more: a great composer, singer and also poet. I am sure my blogging colleague Martha would agree. On the right at the bottom Arlo Guthrie. Actually I only got the CD for “Spirit of New Orleans” but soon realised that it was just the tip of the musical ice berg. The complete CD is a great work. This is just a summary, we all have our music tastes.
Do not ask me about todays hits as I do not have a clue. It might be that I am losing my understanding of modern youth, but I do not find it so much music as a sign of the times. Rap is ok (I like it in french), but it can be exhausting to listen to, although I have two colleagues, twins actually, who have made quite a name for themselves in our local rapping world in Switzerland. Hip Hop and Punk is also not my style, but when you are approaching 70, you prefer things quiter and less exciting. I do not think that it would benefit my muscular aches and pains.
The man on the drums on the left is Mr. Swiss, so you can imagine what a musical world I live in. He began playing as a teenager, and still plays today as a golden oldie. He is the proud possessor of two drum sets as well as an electric one, for the sake of the neighbours when he practices at home. He can always wear the ear phones. Otherwise he has a room in our local town where he can send out the beat to his contentment. The photo was taken at a local jam session. A friend has a farmhouse and used to have jazz concerts. The room is still there and there is often a session. This is the other part of my music education, jazz. Not the traditional stuff, but the real thing, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly and his brother Nat and many others. After 47 years of marriage I would said I know all about it and it has grown on me. Mr. Swiss also meets regularly with a few colleagues for a practice. Now and again there might be a gig. The problem is when playing drums, that you cannot put them in a little case like the trumpet player and go to a concert. The drums have to be transported, assembled and when the evening is finished, again dismantled. Eventually arrive home in the early morning hours, worn out not so much from playing but all the moving work. When you are young it is no problem, but as the years go past, you tend to slow down.
I am the coincidental expert in jazz I suppose. I like a bit of everything, you have to in my family. My oldest son has a couple of thousand CD’s covering the pop music from the sixties, seventies and a bit further: so many records, I have lost touch. My youngest also has his music. I remember when he bought the CD of Nirvana, Nevermind, with the baby on the cover. It was something completely different and his mum was quite astonished. It must have been almost 20 years ago, as when searching for some backup info on this blog I just read that the baby is now 20 years old. Nirvana: Nevermind. Yes, my son is now approaching golden oldie age, although I remember him buying the record. He must have been one of the first in Switerland to have the CD. I also remember when he was once at home recovering from an illness and spent the boring time phoning the Swiss radio station guessing the recording years of certain records. He won a token to buy records twice, but eventually gave up as he found the questions too easy, and decided he might be overdoing it.
And now I am sitting outside on the porch listening to the sounds of the birds and Mowey, my automatic lawn mower. There is music in everything really, you just have to listen.
What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes?
This is not in our house when I was growing up, this is Mr. Swiss on the right on the drums, jamming in a casual session with two fellow musicians. In our house is now mostly the sound of jazz, bebop, mainstream etc. etc. to be heard from the iPod, radio (radio Swissjazz) and any other music source. Now and again I can squeeze some of my music in (mostly Paolo Conte), although I can also be happy with the sound of silence or birds chirping outside.
The talk is of when you were growing up. I was growing up? I thought I was born a golden oldie, but is seems there was a time when I could move my limbs without problems and my hair was brown without any 51 shades of grey. I grew up quite well, so well, that the school class photo was mainly planned around me in the middle as I was the third tallest in the class.
I was growing up at a time when radio was still the big thing. Record players and stereo equipment was then not something that every household could afford, I do not doubt that my dad would have listened to Fats Waller, Glen Miller and any honky tonk piano player that existed in the forties. However, all we had was a radio and dad was at work, so I was subjected to my mother’s taste in music during the day. Unfortunately mum did not really have a taste, as long as she could sing along with it, she was happy. The BBC Light programme was not exactly the be all and end all in the world of music. I remember one programme called “Music While You Work” and the music was really made for the factory workers. All workshops and factories had a radio somewhere in the corner and it was a happy go lucky mixture of nice singalong music, all strung together for an hour every morning to keep people happy and contented whilst working. Mum would listen while she was cleaning and cooking.
This condition only prevailed for two weeks and then we had two weeks silence with no music or noise during the day. There was a reason for this. Dad was a factory worker, producing wheel hubs for the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham, London and his job meant two weeks working nights and two weeks working days. When he was living a normal daily working life, mum could let the radio run during the day. Luckily I could escape to school in between, leaving her to the music choice.
During the two weeks night work, when dad became a factory vampire, working from evening until morning, the radio was silenced during the day. We were living in a monastery/convent. I was not allowed to play the piano, and radios were banned. Dad was sleeping in his coffin bed recovering from the night’s work. He would arrive home in the early morning, eat breakfast and disappear until the evening. The bedroom would be darkened by special thick black curtains to ensure he could sleep and noise was forbidden. Unfortunately mum could not stop the heavy duty lorries/trucks travelling on the road near bye, which might wake dad from his recovery sleep. She became very annoyed and she would often curse over their noise. Another cause of indignation were the children playing in the street. We lived in a square with houses on both sides which caused the noise to multiply with its echoes.
In the evening dad would arise from his daily sleep and the radio would be switched on in time for another musical mixture. I was again allowed to play piano and talk. Mum would serve dad’s dinner and he would afterwards depart for another night of work. As he was not a vampire, he did not dress in a black cloak and fly out of the window, he walked along the road until he reached the underground/subway where he took the train to meet his other colleagues who were working in the dark hours.
There are certain memories that are engraved from the childhood days, not of happy go lucky jazz music which my dad would have loved to hear. He was probably listening to “Music While You Work” in the factory.
“Tabby what shall we play?”
“Err, I was thinking something soothing and slow. What about from that people musical called “Cats””?
“No, Tabby, there are too many high notes and it is not very realistic. Cats do not sing about memories, or do you have one?”
“Not really Nera, although I remember the tuna fish dish we had yesterday. That was very tasty. Let’s play “Ode to a plate of tuna fish”.
“Are you kidding Tabby, we eat the stuff too quickly to write a song about it. I know, I will run my paws over the high notes, and you can stamp around on the low notes.”
“But not too loud Nera, nice and soft and soothing. I hate loud noises.”
“OK Tabby I will begin. Shall I use the black notes or the white?”
“Is there a difference?”
“I don’t know, but there probably is. Mrs. Human always reads something called music notes when she plays.”
“But she plays on the big piano, not the keyboard. Nera there is no sound. I just took a walk over the keyboard and I couldn’t hear anything.”
“Tabby I think that is because it is one of those human gadgets with an on and off switch. Just a minute I have found it, but not very paw friendly.”
“Err Nera that might be because it is not a feline music instrument.”
“You know what Tabby, I have a better idea. I will miaow in the high notes and you can purr in the low notes. Who needs a piano?”
“Yes Nera, you are right. Perhaps we will become famous and make it in the Feline Hit Parade, who knows?”
Music is powerful: it conjures memories, emotions, and people and things of the past. It’s not only a trigger, but an outlet to express who we are. For this challenge, pick one song and write about it — or use it as inspiration for a post
Music is part of my life, always has been. I have my likes, some dislikes, but I know it all. Growing up with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, I rode on the wave of beat music. I knew them all, listening to “Top of the Pops” every Sunday afternoon on the British radio. It was the day of the tape recorder, nothing like those digital iPoddy things of today, we had to do what we could. Listening to it all day after day, you learnt all the words, knew all the guitar riffs and it was just part of daily teenage life in the sixties.
At the same time I was having a musical education at school and not the rough stuff, but the greats. There was a bloke called Beethoven, he was deaf, but still managed to compose a few colourful symphonies with punch. Not exactly foot tapping stuff, but you could feel the atmosphere. Chopin was more on the gentle side of things, but churned out a revolutionary etude which could inspire any rebels stand up for their cause and I believe still today that Bach was the original inspiration for a jazz piano (apologies to Scott Joplin) with his two and three part inventions.
At the same time I was taking Piano lessons at school, naturally only the classics, and this for six years. I have always had a piano and have now progressed to an electric piano, full sized and still tickle the ivories. Luckily I have ear phones so that not all have to bear the torture of listening to the classics/pop songs with mistakes in the timing or notes.
So there I was, being confronted with beat and classic, my musical brain was partaking in a split identity and then I discovered the opera. Now do not laugh, I loved it. I was lucky to live in London, a music centre covering it all. My wages did not, however, cover the price of tickets for Covent Garden (the Carnegie Hall of London), so I could only manage a good seat at the Sadlers Wells opera house and I saw them all. Verdi, Rossini and even some good old Gilbert and Sullivan, the satirists of the Victorian age, everything being sung in English which was the Sadlers Wells way of performing.
Life was one muscal adventure and then I moved to Switzerland and was surrounded by the Italians, Germans and French. I had no chance. I discovered that these countries had their own ways of modern music. Names such as Francois Hardy, Adamo, Paolo Conte, Lucio Dalla, Udo Jürgens and Udo Lindenberg became known to me, singing songs at the top of their country’s hit parades, and I was singing along with them.
I then married Mr. Swiss, perhaps nothing special, but musically it was. Up to that time the only contact I had ever had with jazz was through a cousin of mine who was listening to Duke Ellington and Count Basie when Bill Haley was top of the hit parade. Mr. Swiss had a hobby, more than a hobby perhaps, but he played in a band, was the drummer and what did he play: jazz, not traditional but the real stuff, the bebop, mainstream Cannonball Adderly- Miles Davis-John Coltrane sort of thing. That completed my music education. After 44 years of marriage I can now say I am an amateur expert on jazz, naturally not a full blooded expert, but basically know what I am listening to. I would not want to hold a lecture or lead a discussion on who is the best and what version of a song is the better, but I recognise what I hear.
And now for my all time favourite, greatest song that I just love. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything I have written here, but perhaps with the photo at the top of the page of a train. Country music is not really my thing, I quite like its sing-songy casual way, but when I heard a song once it stayed with me. I even bought the record because I had to have it. Arlo Guthrie singing The City of New Orleans. I have absolutely no connection to the American Amtrak or whatever, and have never been to New Orleans, but journey of a train travelling through America and the scenes it witnesses on the way have a fascinating and wonderful musical accompaniment. I just love this song and so here it is. I am really not one for plastering videos all over my blogs, I find it a cheap way of saying something I want to say, but in this case it just belongs to the blog, so enjoy it as much as I do.
You make a new friend. Make them a mix tape (or playlist, for the younger folks) that tells them who you are through song.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us MUSIC.
No, Daily Prompt, I am not going to plaster my blog with videos and song titles to show you who I am through song. There are blogs and blogs, and I am very wide minded when accepting the tastes of others. We all have different music tastes and to be quite honest those are the blogs I generally avoid reading. They are boring, just copy paste, and nothing original. Sorry to be such a grumpy geezer, but who cares what I like to listen to and so why should I listen to dozens of tracks that mean nothing to me from others.
I like most music, be it hard rock, jazz, chansons, and take it in my own time. I am not prepared or ready to listen through tracks, YouTube films, to say “ooh” and “aah” when I hear what others are listening to. Do you honestly want to be confronted with dozens of Paolo Connte songs (who???), Lucia Dalla (he is the Italian singer that died a few months back), or a few jazz tracks I happen to like, probably not.
I am sure I would bore everyone with my taste, because it definitely will not be your taste. I am not going to ambush you into listening to my music and I will not be ambushed in listening to yours. Actually I do have better things to do on a Sunday afternoon than write about this pseudo world of tracks and films showing singers and their songs that interest no-one except for me.
The photo shows chimes I discovered on a wall in the town of Rheinfelden on the Swiss border to Germany. A pleasant background music when taking a walk in the picturesque town.
And now to listen to silence, except for the soft sound of a little bell that my cat Fluffy wears around his neck to warn the birds when he takes a walk in the garden. He is just having a feline scratch – I wonder what he has in his fur this time? I can also hear the faint sound of traffic, very much in the distance and as if to accompany this blog, a motor cyclist just passed through on the road to show he is going somewhere. And Mr. Swiss has left me for half an hour or so, to the hobby room in the cellar. He has parked his drums there and decided to have a practice. A music reserved for him at the momet – a drum practice can become monotonous.
Would my music tell you who I am? I do not think so. I am sure you will not love me for my music taste, as I would not love you. I tell you enough in my blogs and if you read them you can judge for yourself. I am who I am. Mr. Swiss has put up with me and my music 46 years and I have put up with his tastes, that is what counts.
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