Dionys Jäger became quite taken with the inimitable rhythm of African drums when he worked on an aid project in Kenya two years ago. Now he is planning to go back there on a musical tour.
It was after spending long days working on this aid project that Jäger used to relax by going to the local park, listening to local musicians and engaging in conversation with them, one of whom was Ambasa Mandela, a singer and guitarist. Now, two years later Jäger and some other musicians from Zug are heading off to Kenya to tour with Mandela’s band.
At present, as can be seen in the photograph, Jäger is living in a converted bus in Meierskappel, just over the border with Lucerne. At the drummer’s feet is a deaf dog, which may be just as well at times.
In speaking with a journalist of the Zuger Zeitung, the 27-year-old explained how his first trip to Kenya changed him very much, realising, for example, that you do not actually need much to live. “This taught me to cut down on things,” he said, as can be seen by the few items he has in his bus. Furthermore, along with his sister, who took photographs of the afore-mentioned project, he has set up an association helping schools and children’s homes in Kenya.
Jäger actually grew up in Rotkreuz and Meierskappel and initially took an apprenticeship in lorry mechanics before going on to study percussion, later to become the director of the Rotkreuz Youth Music and a member of local bands, but it was this combination of African pop music and reggae which really got to him.
Not long ago he returned to Kenya to meet up with his friend to make arrangements for the tour, though this tested his patience somewhat, having to wait two days until Mandela turned up, though this is nothing unusual over there, apparently.
One experience he will never forget was going to visit the parents of another member of the band in a terraced tin hut measuring just four metres by four in a slum. All there was inside was a table and two sofas, yet the parents had brought up a family of five there.
Two other people from Zug will be accompanying Jäger on the tour to make a documentary film, which is to feature Swiss people and locals discussing various topics.
Fortunately, Jäger has managed to get some financial support for his trip from the canton, though other contributions remain outstanding at present. Come what may, the trip will definitely go ahead in September as planned.