Brazilians storm Montreux Jazz Festival

Going loco on the festival's steam train

As the 36th Montreux jazz extravaganza moves into its final phase, the Brazilians have been taking centre stage.

This content was published on July 17, 2002 - 08:55

Brazilian night attracted hundreds of native South Americans plus a good number of music lovers from around the world, eager to dip into the musical melting pot of big names and lesser-known bands.

What better way to ride the samba wave than on the Brazil Pirate Boat, which plied Lake Geneva on Saturday afternoon, offering music on board from Banda do Pirata, Forrò Sirigüella and Chico Pessoa.

Going loco

Meanwhile, André Passaninho and his thirteen merry men were keeping passengers amused with classic hits like "Mas que Nada" on the "Brazil Train", a cogwheel steam train making its way through picturesque countryside to the summit of Rochers-de-Naye (2,300 metres). André's team was made up of musicians flown in from Brazil, or working in Switzerland.

This is one of a number of trains run by the MOB (Montreux-Oberland Bernois) company, taking passengers up to the famous peak with its spectacular views, excellent hill walking, a reservation and study centre for marmots, and an Alpine flower garden.

Tickets snapped up

The two hundred tickets for the journey were sold out weeks in advance.

"A steam train runs between Caux and Rochers-de-Naye every day in the summer and Claude Nobs, the director of the festival, sees it go by his house," explained Niklaus Mani, MOB's marketing manager.

"He's a great lover of trains, so we got together and decided to develop this theme-train idea, with music groups playing on board during the jazz festival."

The bright red carriages of the steam train are more than a century old and have been lovingly restored. However, the old steam locomotives had to be scrapped as they were too expensive to repair. Instead, there is a ten-year-old locomotive running on oil rather than coal.

Brazil night

Later in the afternoon, Brazilian bands started up in the Parc Verney, the Scène de la Rouvenaz and the Petit Palais. The artists included Gil Felix, Amazonia, Simone Moreno and Carlos Pitta. The persistent rain did not seem to dampen the audience's enthusiasm.

Inside the Stravinsky Auditorium, Claude Nobs stripped off his many layers of football T-shirts and threw them into the ecstatic crowd. This was followed by a video of victorious Brazil's World Cup goals, bringing the audience to a fever pitch of patriotic fervour. O Rappa, Harmonia do Samba and Daniela Mercury provided the vibes.

Festival closes

The Jazz Festival, being held at the Centre de Congrès, ends on Sunday 21st July. In the Miles Davis Hall, there'll be funk, house and jungle, with tickets on sale at SFr49. Lynne Arriale, Neil Cowley, and Peter Cincotti are among the artists appearing free at the Jazz Club.

At the Jazz Café there's a different DJ every day - and it's free. The café has proved a phenomenally successful venue, with a large club atmosphere attracting young people from all over Switzerland.

Still to come at the Stravinsky Auditorium are giants such as David Bowie, UB40, Joe Cocker, Angélique Kidjo, and Youssou N'Dour. But if you haven't got a ticket yet, you're out of luck - all these concerts are sold out.

by Julie Hunt

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