City of Zug, 15.06.2022

Jana Fischer has been yodelling since she was four years old

The 21-year-old is competing as a solo yodeller at the Central Swiss Yodelling Festival in Andermatt. Respect for Switzerland's traditional cultural heritage and a sense of community are particularly important to her.

Jana Fischer from Zug was influenced at an early age by her father, who was an active member of the Steinhausen ‘Bärgblueme’ yodelling club for 33 years. She was only four years old when the Kinderyodelchörli Zugerland (children’s yodel choir) was launched, and she was a member from the very beginning. "I sang with them for twelve years, until the choir finally disbanded due to a lack of members," she says. Since then, the trained florist has been appearing in duets or as a soloist, and also takes part in competitions.

She will now compete at the Central Swiss Yodelling Festival in Andermatt from 17 to 19 June with the song "E fröhliche Geissbueb" by Max Huggler, and will be accompanied by accordionist Niklaus Hess.

There’s a sense of community at yodelling festivals
When selecting songs, the lyrics are very important to her, she emphasizes. "I have to be able to identify with it. Then I can sing the song with joy." Her chosen piece for Andermatt tells the story of a goatherd who calls his animals and then climbs the alp with them. "It’s a proof of his love to his parents, his homeland and his animals."

The young woman likes modern literature, but also loves the well-known traditional yodel songs. "It's so nice when someone at a yodelling festival suddenly starts to sing a song in the marquee that everyone can sing along with, because they just know it."

This creates closeness and a very special sense of community.

Together with her brother Pascal, Jana Fischer has also started learning the Schwyzerörgeli (Swiss accordion). "We're only at the beginning, but it's great fun for us, and we want to make music together later," she adds enthusiastically.

What she doesn't like is disrespectful behaviour. "Swiss folk music and its traditions are important to me. I can't stand it when people make fun of it." Most of them are young people who simply do not know any better. "For most listeners, be they tourists from home and abroad, singing triggers interest, great recognition and joy. That always spurs me on to practice and train."

Lessons in both classical and yodel singing
" I reoriented myself during the Corona period: I switched to another yodel singing teacher and began to take additional lessons in classical singing." A change is sometimes important, in order to receive new impulses from other teachers. "My former yodel singing teacher advised me to take this step." In the past two years, she has therefore made great progress and has regained confidence in her body.

The solo yodeller Jana Fischer from Zug – here in her richly decorated Lucerne festive costume – is taking part in the Central Swiss Yodelling Festival in Andermatt.                Photo: Roger Zbinden, Zug
The ‘Kinderjodelchörli Zugerland’ sings for the TV series "SRF bi de Lüt" on the Gubel in Menzingen in 2009. Jana Fischer is the second from the left in the front row.                  Photo: Werner Schelbert, Menzingen

The young woman lost this confidence to a certain extent following a bad experience four years ago, of all things at the wedding of her brother. "The nervousness constricted my throat, so I had trouble singing the high notes." The audience didn’t notice anything, but, for herself, this was a bitter setback.

"In the meantime, I've learned to deal with nervousness and not put myself under so much pressure anymore." A self-developed set of mental exercises help her with this.

"During a performance, it’s important that I finish off every sung verse and then let it go, no matter how good it was, so that I can concentrate fully on what is still ahead of me."

A wise insight, that probably also applies to life in general.

Lucerne traditional costumes for work and public holidays
At performances and competitions, Jana Fischer wears either a City of Lucerne Festive Costume (Festtagstracht) from 1992, richly decorated with silver jewellery, or an 80-year-old Lucerne Weekday Costume (Werktagstracht) that she has from her own great-grandmother.

"Which one I choose depends on the weather. The weekday costume is a little lighter and airier than the festive costume with its high collar and tight bodice

"As its richly decorated with buttons and ribbons, putting on the festive costume takes about 20 minutes, and is difficult to do without help.

The next big goal for the solo yodeller after Andermatt is the Federal Yodelling Festival (Eidgenössische Jodlerfest) in Zug next year, and she’s already very much looking forward to it. She will perhaps already be a member of a local choir by then. But she wants to take her time. "It has to fit, especially in terms of personalities," she is convinced.

The Central Swiss Yodelling Festival (Zentralschweizerische Jodlerfest) in Andermatt takes place from 17 to 19 June. Jana Fischer will perform the song "E fröhliche Geissbueb" by Max Huggler, with accordion accompaniment by Niklaus Hess, at 1.46 pm on 18 June

Solo yodeller Jana Fischer gets in the mood for the Central Swiss Yodelling Festival in Andermatt by singing the "Spottliedli" by Ernst Sommer (music) and Beat Jäggi (lyrics) in the old town of Zug            Video: Roger Zbinden, Zug