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Britain’s club scene samples Swiss music

The Young Gods are among the Swiss bands hoping to impress the British audience Keystone

Swiss bands and DJs are performing in the trendy Hoxton area of East London in an effort to open up new and wider perspectives for Swiss musicians.

This content was published on February 18, 2004 - 14:06

They are taking part in the La Suisse festival to promote contemporary Swiss music in Britain.

“We want to show that the Swiss music scene is very creative and interesting,” said Marc Ridet of organisers Swiss Music Export.

“The Swiss market is very limited and few musicians can live off their music alone. This is why it is important for them to export it to places like Britain,” he told swissinfo.

Swiss DJ Patrick Duvoisin, alias Rollercone, is also aware of the difficulties the Swiss music industry faces. He moved to London six years ago and is now popular on the British club scene. Duvoisin helped organise and promote La Suisse.

Aura

“London has a sort of aura when it comes to music. Many Swiss musicians are anxious about coming to play here. They think their music won’t go down well.

But it is quite the contrary. It is easier to perform here than in Switzerland. People in Britain, especially London, are very open to new musical influences. The reaction so far has been positive,” said Duvoisin.

Duvoisin told swissinfo he hoped the festival would help Swiss musicians make contacts and get other gigs in Britain.

He said the festival, which has a budget of around SFr120,000, had aroused plenty of interest and media attention in Britain.

“I am very pleased how the festival has developed. It has become more important than we originally planned,” Duvoisin said.

“What we thought would be an underground event has become a main event. Many venues approached us asking to put on shows.”

Urban regeneration

La Suisse was sponsored by Swiss Music Export and Presence Switzerland. An important theme is urban regeneration.

A symposium will look at how creative communities can transform deprived urban areas.

The area of Shoreditch in east London is being compared to West Zurich. West Zurich, once an unknown and unpopular industrial area, is fast becoming more and more of a hot spot like Shoreditch.

Marc Ridet explains: “We wanted to bring a cultural and social content to the festival. We wanted to show how music and art can transform a place and make it better. Both Zurich West and Shoreditch are examples of how rundown areas are being transformed into cultural centres with theatres and restaurants.”

swissinfo, Claudia Spahr in London

Key facts

The Festival runs until February 22
Acts include Mich Gerber, DJ Minus 8, Polar, The Young Gods, Jamie Lidell, Solotempo and Mr Mike.
Swiss Music Export was set up as a joint initiative of the cultural arm of Swiss retailer Migros, the Suisa Foundation for Music, the Arts Council of Switzerland and the French-speaking Swiss Music Information Centre’s Foundation for Contemporary Music and Song.

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