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  • Claudia Schwab

Etno Histeria World Orchestra 2023

Updated: Aug 14

SHOULD I JAM OR SHOULD I GO?


A while ago, a great friend, artist and thinker, also currently my composing mentor, gave me the task to reflect upon, and try to explain, what the bigger reason behind my music making might be.

That´s quite the question! Having been involved with music from a very young age, it forms such a substantial part of how I experience the world that I feel it would be equivalent to asking a much more general question, such as, “So why are you into being alive then ?”

(Needless to say that I am still working on that presentation for my mentor some two years on!)

After what we got to live through for the past two weeks as a contained organism of 60 people forming the Etno Histeria World Orchestra of 2023 however, the answer is crystal clear. It is THIS, all of it.






Waking up every morning, turning over and immediately being lifted up by the presence of dear friends settled down right next to me. A few yoga moves on the terrace in order to check in with my body, giving it just enough attention to keep it on my side while putting it through these intense living circumstances. Catching a little smile and wave from wee Olli behind the fence. Instant wake-up calls through shock treatment dips into the forest river before cycling through the fields over to our orchestra rehearsals.


Learning, listening, playing, jamming, arranging, re-learning, re-jamming all day and night long and much much longer in front of the fire engine, in the tent, on the bus, by the seaside, in the sea, next to the fire .... Eating, breathing, dancing, laughing and crying together, skipping vast amounts of much needed sleep in favour of yet more shared time with all. Enduring long hours of intense creative work through the sheer love for it. Holding each other close with that spark in the eye, a hand on the shoulder, a fleeting embrace or a full on piling of bodies on top of one another, humming until the cold of the rain would leave our bodies or until the bench would crack underneath our weight. Creating this unique body of sound, always ready to dip down into gentle intimacy or erupt into volcanic explosion, enveloping the world around us in this fierce force of life!


This is it.

This togetherness, present to, and with, one another. Expressing our individual roots and essence of being within the safe network of a group of loving, supportive musicians. Doing what we love most. Each on their own, and yet all together: thrown into an experience of being alive through a conglomeration of open channels and like-minded souls, by spending the largest amount of our days in open air, regularly dipping into cold streams and rivers, feeling the ground beneath our feet, falling asleep underneath a spectacle of rising stars and moons, to a soundtrack of a Chilean jam session or the echo of one of our beloved orchestra arrangements in our heads. Time as an abstract entity merely surviving on the fringes of our task-oriented existence in the forest, with phones and clocks thrown to one side for most of it:

Starting with the wake up call by an orchestra-member strolling amidst the tents playing tunes, to a lunch time bell sounding out whenever the cooks were ready for us, over to the announcement of departures, rehearsals or any other events spreading through word of mouth ... Far away from screens, aimless scrolling and e-mails ...


I haven´t gotten that far with what we are supposed to do here. But trying to be as present as possible to whatever is going on, while feeling part of something much larger than ourselves – and interrelated process I suppose – is the best I can come up with at this time.


To make that happen for myself, together with other kind souls, and on top of that being able to share this with people around us, the listeners - that´s why I make music. That´s why I´m into life.

“Dear thoughts are in my mind” ... The pain of having to let go of these days is as big as the joy of having been there with you. I miss you guys and am so grateful I got to live two weeks of my life with you.


"Went To Walk" carried by the whole orchestra


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