Biography / Artist Information:
TRITONUS is a Swiss folk music ensemble which was founded around 1985 in the Eastern Part of Switzerland. They count as pioneers and experts in the investigation and performance of ancient folk music and their instruments in Switzerland before 1800.
Their 1991 standard work ‹TRITONUS – Alte Volksmusik in der Schweiz› won the ORG (Eastern Swiss Radio and Television) Award and is still on sale today.
In 2006 Tritonus was breaking new ground with their album ‹Alpan›, a fresh but respectful rendering of early Swiss folk music. Together with young jazz musicians they created a programme that combines the past and future of Swiss folk music: Having pieced together original instrumentations, they can demonstrate early musical styles, melodies, texts and instruments and mix them with new sounds to show possible future directions. The majority of the tunes and songs are unpublished works that have not been previously recorded. It‘s an exciting musical journey where the familiar can suddenly sound very different!
In autumn 2010 the band toured China and played in Shanghai (World Expo, Lake Malaren Music Festival), Su Zhou and Zhenjiang.
In 2011 Tritonus was working on their new programme ‹Swiss, Swede, Wine and Wife› which deals with the three pivotal questions of mankind: Where have we come from? Where are we going? And – possibly – most importantly: What we’ll drink along the way?
In 2015 Tritonus released their third album ‹urbanus - Old folkmusic from Swiss cities›. A night watchman takes the listeners through his nightly patrol of the city, watching happy or sad lovers, cross the marketplace towards taverns and to secred, dark corners.
The story of Tritonus goes back to before 1980. Urs Klauser and Beat Wolf , both of them instrument makers and musicians, were united in their interest in old folk music of varied provenance, and in their desire to research thoroughly the Swiss folk music of previous centuries. They reconstructed instruments according to historical models, and on these, they brought the melodic material that they had discovered to new life, as it would originally have sounded. At the centre of their interest were instruments such as the Swiss bagpipe, the shawm, the cittern, the fife,the hurdy-gurdy and the Jew's harp. These were the instruments that had been popular and widely spread until they were superseded in the 19th century, primarily by the accordion (the so-called "Schwyzerörgeli"). The price-winning first Tritonus-CD "Old Folk-Music in Switzerland" (1991) marked a turning point in research into these old traditions.
International Folk Music Festival "Alpentöne", Altdorf Switzerland 2007
ANCIENT SWISS FOLK MUSIC
The Ancient Swiss Folk Music differs greatly from the popular present day forms such as the "Ländler" (country waltz) and the yodel song. How, then, did our folk music sound before 1800 ? Musicological research has brought much to light but, so far, practically no folk music instrumental arrangements have resulted from this research.Since many years we (U.Klauser and B.Wolf) have been reconstructing old musical instruments and using them to play early folk music in the group TRITONUS.
Translation: Dale Overturf
Copyright © 2013 by "TRITONUS": Urs Klauser, CH- 9055 Bühler / Fotos: Samuel Forrer, Speicher AR / "Devil's Band": Ausschnitt aus Titelillustration "Des Tüfels Segi", Bodenseeraum 1441, Badische Landesbibliothek, Karlsruhe, Cod. Don. 113, Bl. 1b.