by dave phillips

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the custom of "chlauseslä" and the activities of the packs called "chlausrotten" in the valley of ägeri (in the canton of zug, central switzerland) can verifiably be traced back to the 16th century, though the roots of it reach back as far as the 4th century.

december 6th is the obit of nicolas - apart from that, not much is known about his life. apparently nicolas was a bishop from myra, the capital of lycia, born around 270. an important aspect of his legend has to do with his giving of gifts and with the distribution of his wealth amongst the poor.

around nicolas' day, usually on december 5th, the kids in the valley of ägeri go from house to house with self-made donkey heads attached on long poles, and receive little gifts (mandarins, nuts, biscuits, sweets, money) - this is "chlauseslä".

after dark, the "rotten", packs from different parts of the village, equipped with cowbells ("treicheln", carried on a yoke across the shoulders), whips, decorated and lit mitra-shaped lanterns on sticks ("iffelen") - all wearing white pastoral shirts - a "schmutzli" (a punishing companion of nicolas, in black) and a nicolas figure, move through the village, from house to house. originally this noise tradition was meant to scare away ghosts and keep the house and court clean of evil figures. presents given to children are an integral part of the custom. every couple of years, when nicolas' day falls on a saturday, the packs join together for a procession through the village centre.


released January 6, 2015

recorded by dave phillips in oberägeri, central switzerland on 6th december 2014.

photos and videos by jesse newman


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dave phillips Zürich, Switzerland

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dp re/searches & ponders existences, behaviourisms and the big connectivity humanimalistically. sound as a language, a conscience, a tool of metaphysics, opposing the restriction and reduction of life. ritual protest music, sonic activism, therapeutical & cathartic sonic communications. most dimensions are yet to be explored. ... more


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