The „Giigegugge“ of Zurich

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„Giige“ are violins and the „Gugge“ are a particular kind of music group, typical for the Swiss German carnival. These groups consist of musicians who are more interested in fun, loudness and creative chaos than in harmonies. They actually represent a modern continuation of the ancient tradition of ousting the winter and the evil spirits by noise and cacophony. The important merit of the “Gugge” is that they have brought back the carnival to public space by making a spontaneous kind of music, which encourages people to dance and enjoy themselves.

Between the various „Gugge“, the „Giige Gugge“ is special because of its orchestration. It was founded in 1977 at the artist’s carnival in Zurich by violinists wanting to join a „Gugge“, but, not playing the trumpet or the trombone (typical carnival instruments), had to find their own style of carnival music for their instruments. From the carnival itself, the „Giige Gugge“ has retained the zany freedom, the vitality and a kind of anarchistic, if not to say chaotic, functioning.

On the other hand, the „Giige Gugge“ takes its repertoire very seriously. The musicians study and adapt a large number of popular pieces from various countries. The group participates in the “Carnevale” of Venice and at different carnival functions and festivals in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France and Finland. The group takes also part in the Buskers‘ Festivals of Ferrara and Pescara.

A band for special events

The „Giige Gugge“ also performs at private functions and dance events, be it in a palace, in a hut or in public spaces. It nevertheless remains a „Guggemusik“, aiming at the same time for perfection and at transmitting to the listeners a zest for life and „joie de vivre“.

The composition of the group varies according to the event and the number of musicians required or available. On average, the group consists of eight to twenty musicians and generally aims at 40 % first violins, 30 % second violins, 20 % accompaniment (recorder, guitar, banjo, cello, double bass) and 10 % percussion (washboard, conga).