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Swiss pop rocks East End

The Young Gods are among the Swiss acts lined up for la Suisse Keystone

Swiss youth culture meets London's hip club scene - that's the theme of a music festival, which has opened in the British capital.

This content was published on February 18, 2004 - 10:01

Organised by Swiss Music Export, a body promoting Swiss pop music abroad, the event is aiming to showcase home-grown music talent in the city’s trendy East End.

The week-long La Suisse festival started on Tuesday at venues dotted round the east of London, including Hoxton and Shoreditch.

The organisers say the event will mix Swiss youth culture with the area’s vibrant underground club scene in the form of live music, DJs, art and multimedia installations, and street art.

Swiss Music Export's head, Marc Ridet, says the festival also aims to prove that there's a lot more to Switzerland than just chocolate and mountains.

“The festival is bringing Swiss artists from the electronic side of music to London to promote Swiss music,” Ridet told swissinfo.

“Young people all over the world listen to pop music - mostly in English - but we have a lot of great artists in Switzerland who we want to present to London and Britain, as well,” he added.

Cross-cultural

Among those slated to appear are the experimental Swiss group, the Young Gods, DJ Water Lilly who specializes in electro-pop and double bass player Mich Gerber whose repertoire ranges from classic songwriting to contemporary electronic music

Gerber will also be one of the artists who’ll be clubbing together with British reggae/hip hop group, Urban Species, to create some new sounds. Other British artists appearing include Jamie Lidell.

But there's also a more serious side to the event, with some parts of the festival devoted to the theme of urban regeneration – looking at how creative communities can transform deprived urban areas.

Urban regeneration

Ridet says this is why Swiss Music Export chose to base its festival in the East End of London.

“This is a trendy place in London right now, where you have the best clubs for this type of music, where young people go out,” said Ridet.

“This part of East London has changed in the past ten years through artists coming and then business coming - this happens everywhere, in Zurich too,” he explained.

West Zurich and Shoreditch will be the subjects of a discussion panel during the festival.

Called “Taste Based Cities” the discussion - jointly hosted by la Suisse and Hackney Council - will look at the impact of art and culture on urban regeneration and gentrification.

But despite seeming to be worlds apart - both culturally and musically - Ridet is confident that the Swiss and British music scenes have a lot in common and that the festival could even help promote links between the young generation in both countries.

swissinfo, Isobel Leybold

In brief

The festival runs from February 17-22.

It will feature cultural events such as live music, art installations, street art and DJs.

The theme is urban regeneration and the festival will also be looking at how artistic communities can transform urban surroundings.

Previous events have been held in Paris and Berlin.

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