I did not realize before I came here that this part of Switzerland is very musical. Thus far, I have heard about three major spring/summer musical events in the region that everyone seems to attend, regardless of the lineup. I was lucky enough to get to attend one of them, the Cully Jazz Festival, last night.
Cully is one of several Swiss towns with names that I like to say over and over to myself whenever I see them on road signs…partly because they are endlessly fun to say, and partly because I need the pronunciation practice. The neighboring towns of Cully and Pully are pronounced in a way that I cannot even figure out how to write phonetically…just know that the double-Ls are pronounced together with a “y-ish” sound that merges with the final y in the word…sort of like the double-L in “tortilla.” A couple other towns I enjoy saying are Ouchy (pronounced “oo-shee” rather than what you say when you scrape your knee) and Niederbipp, which never fails to make me giggle.
At any rate, Cully is by far the most beautiful town I have yet seen in Switzerland:Yes, it is breathtaking. And the hills are literally alive with the sound of music, at least in early April when the Cully Jazz Festival comes to town. It is a uniquely arranged event: rather than stages or a central venue, every bar, cafe, restaurant and basement in town opens its doors to small jazz and blues ensembles, who play throughout the night, and concert-goers simply stop in for a listen before heading on to the next spot. Because it’s such a small town, each concert is just a leisurely stroll away, with plenty of wine and food to sustain you on the journey.
It was really fun to spend some time with some new Swiss friends in a social setting, after spending the majority of my time over the last few months immersed in work. I do not know much about jazz, but I truly enjoyed the music and the artists were great performers. I was especially mesmerized by how seamlessly they all switched back and forth between addressing the crowd in native French, to singing with a perfect American bluesy-twang.
I am always conscious of being the annoying person waving their iPhone around at an event rather than enjoying the action, so I only managed to snap a couple of shaky photos, but I thought I’d share them anyway:
The other two major musical events I mentioned earlier are the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, and the Paléo Festival in Nyon. The Paléo Festival is in July, and I badly want to attend. It is an outdoor festival in July with a reputation for absolutely incredible music, and a carefully guarded lineup that is kept secret until April every year. I am the first to admit that I am no music buff…I inherited my iTunes library from my freshman college roommate, I’m always the last to hear about the coolest new band, and I’ve been known to spend the few rock concerts I’ve attended with my fingers in my ears. But I do know that any music festival that hosts Elton John, the National and the Black Keys in space of a few days is one I want to drop in on.
That’s about all the news from Switzerland for this week, though I am very much hoping to have a positive update on the apartment hunt soon. Stay tuned!