To launch this podcast, it felt interesting to me to meet a Swiss musician who grew up in Switzerland and who has been leading an international career. I quickly thought of Nik Bärtsch, whom I have been a fan of for a long time. Nik is an incredible pianist. On the one hand, his music is extremely beautiful and intoxicating, on the other hand, his artistic path is also really inspiring, devoted and deeply rooted in a collective momentum, (I am thinking here of Montags, a weekly workshop that brings musicians together at the Zurich club Exil). There are in fact many other reasons why I have asked him to share his experiences and discuss the difficulties encountered in exporting his music.
In the first part of our meeting, we discuss his musical journey from childhood to his early experiences on the Zurich stage (05:40-09: 06), his meeting with Kaspar Rast (when he was still very young) and his questioning the "clichés" of Swiss identity while his group Ronin was gradually rising in the ranks of European jazz groups that "represent" Switzerland (09:07-22:45). The session ends with the gradual export of his music and the lesson learned: Patience and passion have been essential for the development of the project. I find it particularly interesting to look at what extent the role of the media has played in boosting of his career.
In this second part, I question Nik on the evolution of how Swiss music was perceived abroad between its beginnings in the late 90s and today.
"All music is political", Nik said some time ago. This podcast was a good opportunity to ask him to develop this idea (00:30- 05:02).
And to conclude, we mention the Montags project and the next generation of jazz musicians, particularly in Switzerland (05:03-13:27).