Music has been civilization's universal language for at least 35,000 years. Transcending the boundaries of age, race and culture, it has the power to unite multiple generations through shared experience. All of us enjoy genres ranging from classical to punk rock, from hip-hop and pop – often handed down from generation to generation – thanks to music’s timeless appeal and themes.
One of music’s key principles is its ability to evoke emotion, and to touch hearts and minds worldwide just through sound, without the need for words. So, if music is naturally intergenerational, how can we adopt its mindset in other spheres of life?
Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. Addressing this complex challenge will require collaboration and understanding across the generations. What if we could take inspiration from music and apply that same power to bridge existing divides, and conquer some of humanity’s biggest challenges?
Just as music draws inspiration from our experiences, we can all draw upon our personal stories and heritage to inspire meaningful climate action at a local, national and global level.
That’s why we’re proud to announce that this year, as part of our ongoing commitment to intergenerational collaboration - one of our key pillars here at the Villars Institute - we will be collaborating with Montreux Jazz Festival’s Spotlight Sessions between February 11 and April 1, bringing emerging young artists to perform at the historic Villars Palace.
Known for giving a platform to Argentine Grammy Award nominee Nathy Peluso and the UK’s Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder, the Montreux Jazz Festival’s Spotlight programme embodies intergenerational collaboration in its core purpose, and unites all through innovative, genre-bending music of tomorrow’s leading voices.
After stints in London, Hamburg and Zurich, MJF’s Spotlight will stage six unmissable concerts in Villars-sur-Ollon. The programme will feature performances by six emerging artists from across Europe who are among the most promising new voices of pop, soul and R’n’B music, as well as après-ski and DJ sets free of charge.
Among them are:
Soul and jazz singer Cherise from England, who has been described by her contemporaries as ‘one of the women raising the bar for Soul and Jazz in the UK’, was invited to record a Christmas song for Disney by Gregory Porter. She will bring her talent to Villars Lodge on February 11, opening this year’s Spotlight series.
Joining the cohort is Mentissa, a Belgian pop powerhouse who found fame on The Voice after all four judges turned their chairs, in awe of her vocal range. Her mentor Vianney went on to compose a biographical song for Mentissa, titled Et Bam, and the pair went on an arena tour all over France together. Oscillating between French chanson and British pop on her debut studio album La Vingtaine, Mentissa will take to the Théâtre du Villars Palace stage on February 25.
While 17-year-old Joyce Cissé – known by her stage name Flowerovlove – draws inspiration from Tame Impala, Frank Ocean and SZA for her melodies, the lyrics of her songs accentuate the importance of sustainability and earth’s preservation. Flowerovlove is also a part-time model for Gucci, and her fans include Erykah Badu, meaning her success is pretty much guaranteed.
Also gracing the stage in Villars will be Aime Simone, whose hit Shining Light has become a floor filler in clubs all over Europe, two years after the release of his debut album Say Yes Say No, which the artist composed, produced and mixed all by himself. Moving fluidly between indie rock and techno, Simone forges a unique style which he describes as Post Pop, which he will bring to Villars on March 11.
Glaswegian pop-soul singer Joesef is often compared to Amy Winehouse and Sam Smith, has opened for Paolo Nutini and counts Elton John among his fans – all before releasing his first album. Now, after a 13-track record titled Permanent Damage released at the beginning of this year, there’s no doubt Joesef will follow in the footsteps of his idols.
We hope that this exciting new collaboration will help us leverage the power of music to unite communities beyond Villars-sur-Ollon. We all have experience of sharing our musical heritage, and if we can share our love of music across generations, we can harness the same energy to break down barriers in the fight for our shared planet.
We would like to thank the Smolokowski Foundation and Gregory Jankilevitsch for their generous support of arts and culture programming in Villars-sur-Ollon.
Find out more at montreuxjazzfestival.com.