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.
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