Lead singer of Swiss band Hildegard Learns to Fly Andreas Schaerer writes for LondonJazz about their upcoming LJF gig at Pizza Express Dean St on the 9th of November 2012 (the opening night of the festival). Our translation (*).
For seven years now we’ve been travelling in our trusty vehicle called Hildegard Learns To Fly (Hildegard Lernt Fliegen in the original German). We’ve cruised the seven seas and climbed the seven mountains, and reached into the hearts and the ears of our listeners.
At the beginning of our travels we would fight it out with other Swiss musicians on Swiss village squares for a trophy sponsored by a very well-known Swiss manufacturer of instant coffee.
We played at clubs that were big enough for the band, but too small for any audiences of more than about seven people. We needed space, we felt the need to get to the other side of the Alps and breathe the air.
So we swapped the instant coffee for the chicken soup that we found at German motorway service stations. Austria – and in particular Vienna – became a second home to us. The French welcomed us with open arms – and freshly baked baguette.
So we made our music and our way. These days our spare rehearsal room is in Moscow. Paris is our preferred breakfast stop, and just as I write, we are waiting for our flight to Shanghai, to play at the Shanghai Jazz Festival.
We’ve travelled widely, we’ve played sackfuls of notes, consumed gallons of local liqueurs from around the world… but never in the life of this band has our journey taken us to England, let alone London.
What – I ask you – are all the great stages of the world worth, what do the countless Hildegard fans mean to us, if we can’t say that we’ve trudged through London drizzle with soggy shoes and a rusty saxophone?
How insipid will be the taste of the finest andouillette, we’re thinking, once we have indulged ourselves backstage in free tea and scones?
Now that our journey is at last bringing us to London, we will finally be able to sit back and consider our career a success, but not for long, though. Up we’ll be jumping up again, to land on stage – and in your ears.
(*) The original, highly vivid German version is available on request.