Cult dialect band Patent Ochsner win lifetime achievement award

Patent Ochsner at the Music Open Air Festival in Gampel, southwest Switzerland, in 2016 Manuel Lopez

Swiss band Patent Ochsner have been honoured for their work at the Swiss Music Awards. Their hits, always sung in Bernese German, include W Nuss vo Bümpliz, Scharlachrot and Bälpmoos.

This content was published on January 14, 2021 - 15:29

“The work of the band is characterised by a great diversity and yet an unmistakable Patent Ochsner sound: melancholic, melodic, human. This is not least thanks to Büne Huber’s expressive and poetic Bernese German,” the organisers of the Swiss Music Awards said on Thursday.

Patent Ochsner, whose music covers pop, rock and blues, have won six Swiss Music Awards since their first album 30 years ago. The band will now receive the Outstanding Achievement Award for their body of work.

Their most famous hit, the Beatles-esque W Nuss vo Bümpliz from 1996, tells the story of a W Nuss from Bümpliz, a district in western Bern. W Nuss is pronounced “Venus” in German, but beyond that Huber has never clarified the meaning of the song or its inspiration. Here it is, with lyrics in Bernese German.

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“We’re surprised and overwhelmed that we’re being honoured for our life’s work, even though we somehow feel that we’re still at the very beginning of this story,” the band said.

The newspaper Der Bund once called Huber, who founded the band, a “bit of a character”, who with his “Bernese way of speaking his mind” fills the gap of sorely missed Swiss cultural personalities such as Max Frisch, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Jean Tinguely or Bernhard Luginbühl.

The Swiss Music Awards are considered Switzerland’s biggest music awards ceremony. This year’s ceremony will take place at Zurich’s Hallenstadion but without an audience owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be broadcast on television February 26.

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