Tien-Shan-Switzerland Express
A group of 20 musicians from Kyrgyzstan, Khakassia,
Mongolia, Switzerland and Austria comes
together for a musical summit under
the slogan “mountains unite”.

National Mountain Orchestra feat. Zabine
Egschiglen from Mongolia
Sabjilar from Khakassia
Teinr Too from Kyrgyzstan
Musical Direction: Heinrich Känzig

In the summer of 2002, the Tien-Shan-Switzerland Express went for the first time on tour to Swiss music festivals. 20 musicians from Kyrgyzstan, Khakassia, Mongolia, Switzerland and Austria met for a musical summit under the International Year of Mountains slogan "mountains unite". The project emerged from the initiative of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs.

A success story is about to start. Since that time, the Tien-Shan-Switzerland Express performed at 29 places in 8 states in front of more than 40’000 listeners and had a highly appreciated concert at the UN in Geneva. With its unique music the Express everywhere left an enthusiastic audience and was rewarded with standing ovations. It is always pointed out that the interplay of the Asian and Swiss-Austrian musicians causes a surge of mutual liking beyond borders and delights all social classes.

The Tien-Shan-Switzerland Express comprises the ensemble Tenir Too from Kyrgyzstan, Sabjilar from the Russian Republic of Khakassia, Egschiglen from Mongolia and the National Mountain Orchestra from Switzerland and Austria. Under the musical direction of the jazz musician and professor of music Heinrich Känzig the formation of this highly qualified orchestra provides a fascinating view across the traditional and contemporary musical cultures of the mountains of Central Asia and the Alps.

The program is a mixture of traditional music, jazz, pop and a lot of humor, far away from any crossover stereotypes. It is a kind of music with rough edges that is variedly fighting on the one hand and fusing to a powerful unit on the other hand - a unique worldmusic of the mountains.

The twelve colorfully dressed musicians from the mountain and steppe regions of Asia solely fill the first part of the concert. Egschiglen intonates the traditional overtone singing of the Mongolian nomads and introduces new elements. The ensemble Sabjilar from the Sajan mountains presents drums, dulcimers and lutes that are hardly known in the western hemisphere and delights with the many-facetted voice of Viatcheslav Kouchenov. The female singer Kenjegul Kubatova, the flute and mouth harp player Nurlanbek Nishanov and the brilliant komuz player Rahatbek Kochorbaev from Kyrgyzstan finally amaze with extraordinary playing and singing techniques.

In the second part of the concert the eight Swiss singers and instrumentalists break musical conventions of the Alps. They explore cultural roots that were thought to be forgotten and present these roots in new contexts and varieties.

The third part of the performance is reserved to joint music. The musicians play new compositions and new arrangements of existing compositions in different combinations. Differences and shared values become obvious. Musical fusions and interplays develop between the Central Asian and Alpine traditions; motives of another group are picked up, varied or contrasted, consonant or dissonant, until all musicians are finally united in the great summit - music as common language bridges all cultural differences without deleting them.
Thomas Kayser Kulturproduktionen 
Rud. Wackernagelstr. 176 | CH-4125 Riehen 
Tel. +41 61 601 41 11 | Fax +41 61 601 41 12 
eMail: tkayser@bluewin.ch