Besides the ‘classic’ AVAF Quartet with the two long standing members Walter Keiser and Andi Pupato, Andreas has put together an additional, special ensemble for AIR:
Andreas Vollenweider: various harps (besides his legendary instrument he also plays Chinese and African Harps, Renaissance and Celtic instruments, windharp, vocals & vocal percussion, Greek double flute, zampugna, overtone flute, guitar and "special effects"
Daniel Kueffer: soprano-, tenor- and baritione saxophones, whistles, vocals & vocal percussion and "special effects"
Stefanie Peter (Steff la Cheffe): vocal percussion, beat box, cymbals & bells and "special effects"
Music should speak for itself, and especially the music of AIR. Yet in the case of AIR we are tempted to say; you have to see it to believe what you hear…
She looks like an angel, painted by Botticelli and she grooves like a little devil, painted by Hieronymus Bosch
Andreas: "With an album built around the theme of breath, wind and air, it seemed natural to approach Daniel Kueffer to join me with his array of wind instruments. I was hoping also to find a solution for all the other sounds, including drums and percussion, being somehow created by wind, air or breath. I was looking at various a cappella groups, but it just didn't seem to be right.
The beat boxers I found on the internet also didn't have what I was looking for; a really tight groove and a high degree of differentiation, simply more than just a nice gag. Then I found Steff la Cheffe on YouTube. What I heard was very promising and after I had learned she was even living ‘next door’ in Berne, Switzerland, I invited her for a jam session.
When we met at my studio in December 2008, it took less than five minutes to make me understand, that her sense for groove and musical form, for dynamics and sound colour is extraordinary and that she was the ideal person for a such an ensemble performing AIR-live. Still full of enthusiasm I was going to communicate my very special experience with Steffe la Cheffe to the folks around me.
‘Hmmm? What were you saying she was doing? Beat box? That seems not really working with the harp?’ And I was certain, that (secretly) my friends were thinking ‘he's crazy again…’. That was when I realised that in this particular case the visual would be very helpful in addition to the music.
It reminded me a little bit of my early years, when I became more and more fascinated by this weird instrument, the harp. Very similar to now, I have tried to explain what I was up to and how this newly discovered instrument has affected me in strange ways. The looks and comments were the same and made me smile… ;-)
When Daniel Kueffer joined in for a second session some days later, he went through a similar experience, but he also was enchanted by this new world of groove and sound.
Knowing, that experiencing the Fresh-AIR-Orchestra with this unorthodox "percussionist" will talk for itself, I was looking forward to our first live performance, which took place on Friday, the 27th of February 2009 in Zug, Switzerland. The standing ovation at the end of the performance answered many of the questions… it seems to really work ;-)"
For beat box beginners: What ‘instrument’ does Stefanie ‘play’?
Beat box is the official word for producing a rhythmical pattern entirely with the mouth, the breath and/or vocal chords. But in the case of Stefanie, this term doesn't seem to be differentiated enough, because her ‘sound vocabulary’ leaves the clichee way behind. She has already quite a substantial international following as Steff la Cheffe in the world of HipHop and Rap, she also teaches Beat Box in workshops.
See the selection of photographs, shot by Beat Allgaier at our first concert in Zug, Switzerland as well as from our fall tour 2009 in Germany, Slovakia and Hungary, in September 2009.
The Zug concert was filmed by the team of "LEGUAN Productions", the same people who produced and created the video clip for AIRDANCE.