Global Sounds from Switzerland
Global Sounds from Switzerland
A collaboration between Pro Helvetia, Fondation SUISA and artlink
Switzerland is home to many musicians who immigrated from elsewhere. In recent years public funding has focused on programmes for transcultural musical collaborations, which has shaped Switzerland's multilingual musical landscape. The latter has grown and become increasingly diverse over the last decades. But, as is often the case with small markets, music from Switzerland rarely makes it onto the international playlists of popular streaming platforms.
This is why Pro Helvetia, Fondation SUISA and artlink created the Spotify playlist Swissmusic – Global & Folk. The title describes music made in Switzerland that interweaves different musical styles and influences – Swiss folk music collides with Balkan rhythms, Peruvian chicha goes punk and Afrobeat crosses Armenian folk. The playlist mainly showcases Switzerland based artists rooted in musical traditions beyond the Western-Anglo-American mainstream
Roberto Haçaturyan, head of music at artlink, curates Swissmusic – Global & Folk. The son of an Armenian father and a Sicilian mother, Roberto is an ethnomusicologist and musician. His passion for percussion led him to study in Accra, Havana, New York, Salvador da Bahia and several cities in the Middle East. Along the way Roberto expanded his stylistic repertoire and collaborated with Swiss and international artists from various genres and music scenes.
The 80-100 tracks featured on the Swissmusic – Global & Folk playlist are selected on the basis of three overarching criteria. First, all artists and bands included on the playlist have a personal connection to Switzerland. At least one of the project members lives in Switzerland or is a Swiss national living in Switzerland or abroad. Second, attention is paid to the diversity of the musicians involved in terms of their music styles, gender and regional backgrounds. Finally, the music selected has the potential of being programmed as a live act by an international festival.
The playlist Swissmusic – Global & Folk was launched at the Worldwide Music Expo (WOMEX) in Porto 2021. Each band is represented with a maximum of three tracks. The playlist is updated with new releases on a monthly basis. Bands that stop touring or have not released new music in the past four years are removed from the playlist to make room for others.
The Swissmusic – Global & Folk playlist is presented to international music promoters at music fairs such as WOMEX or Jazzahead. Moreover, artlink promotes the playlist as part of co-curations and media partnerships with radio stations and music magazines.
Music journalist Simon Broughton from Songlines magazine (UK) sums up the tracks of the Swissmusic – Global & Folk playlist as follows: "It's a 93-track voyage through some glorious landscapes, both real and imaginary and is surprisingly varied" (Songlines magazine, October 2021).
The quartet Silberen, for instance, offers novel interpretations of Swiss folk music using traditional instruments like the "Hackbrett". On the track "Gspili" Barbara Berger sings a traditional from the Bernese Oberland to a Balkan seven-eighth rhythm. The Biel based members of Los Oriolos use guitar and drums to produce a mixture of punk, cumbia and Afropop. They give their passion for fiery Latino rhythms a twist of their own as can be heard on “Habanero”, which is infused with rich reverb. The Swiss producer and electronic music artist Pablo Nouvelle is featured with "Milambi" – a collaboration with Grammy Award winner Angélique Kidjo. Their song is based on samples from Hugh Tracey's extensive library of „African Field Recordings". The result is a pulsating house track with multi-layered Afrobeat elements on which Kidjo's vocals lead the way.