The group Alpine Connection was founded in 2018 in Switzerland during a residency of Mozambican musician Matchume Zango. The musical gathering between Matchume Zango (Timbila, percussion, vocals), Jul Dillier (piano, accordion), Matthias Abächerli (bass, violin), Chris Norz (drums, percussion) combined traditional Chopi music with European jazz and folk elements to form an eclectic and global soundfigure. During the intensive two-week residency, the musicians shared a very fruitful musical and cultural exchange, developing new compositions and performing to Swiss audiences.
From 1-18 December 2019, Jul Dillier will be in residence at Nzango Artist Residency outside Maputo, Mozambique, to continue collaborating with Matchume and to perform their music for Mozambican audiences.
Ahead of the residency in Mozambique, Jul says: “My collaboration and residency with Matchume is a chance for a longer and deeper research into African music in general and the tradition of Chopi music specifically. Matchume is a very precious and special contact to me. He is deeply rooted in his tradition on one side, but on the other side extremely open and experienced in working with people from all different countries and cultures. That he also is the head of Nzango Artist Residency in Maputo provides a unique opportunity for me to work and live in the very heart of Mozambican culture for several weeks.”
Jul Dillier was born in 1990 in Bern, Switzerland and grew up in Sachseln (Canton of Obwalden). He started playing drums at the age of nine and piano at the age of eleven. He studied Jazz piano with a minor in drums and percussion in Basel and Lucerne, and currently works as a freelance musician in Obwalden, Lucerne and Vienna. As pianist and accordion-player Jul works mainly in the musical fields of jazz and free-improvisation. As musician for theater-plays he writes songs, creates soundscapes and leads theater ensembles as musical director. As composer, sound-artist and performer he is interested in exploring the boundaries between music and language, sound and noise, concert and performance, contemporary art and tradition. He enjoys working closely with artist from other disciplines, musical genres and countries. Jul has collaborated with Andres Bosshard (sound artist), Judith Albert (video artist), Kurt Sigrist (sculptor), Irina Lorez (choreographer), Madala Kunene (traditional musician, South Africa), Herbie Tsoaeli (jazz musician, South Africa), Yeko-Youma (traditional balafon ensemble, Burkina Faso), Hans Koch (improvising musician), Arno Camenisch (writer), Pino Dietiker (spoken-word performer), as well as several theater producers and improvisation theater groups. Currently, Jul is working on a solo repertoire (prepared piano and accordion), as well as a new album with his band chuffDRONE, which will be released in January 2020.
Between 2013 and 2016 Jul had the opportunity to work with musicians from Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa while touring with the exchange project Forest Jam and Frères de Son band. Jul says that his engagement with music and musicians from Africa has had a profound influence on his own work and identity as a Swiss artist.