Otto Lechner
at the Moods,
Zurich, Switzerland
(30 January 2005)

In 2004, Stefan Schwietert launched the award-winning Swiss music documentary film Accordion Tribe, a film about a five-piece accordion line-up. Otto Lechner is one of the five accordionists of the tribe, and he came to play a solo gig in the completely sold-out Moods in the center of Zurich.

If you listen to Otto Lechner's music you will forget all you've heard about accordion music before. His music is innovative, amazingly witty and full of surprises. The audience at the Moods was spellbound by Lechner's playing; just him, his voice and his Hohner Lucia III.

"Music is a bad comfort, but sometimes the only one we've got," he said, towards the end of the gig. Well, I certainly can live with that.

The gig started with the hauntingly beautiful "Entrance," a jazzy tune supported by Lechner's voice, and "Wintersonnenwende," a beautiful hymn to the winter solstice. Then we heard an amazing series of waltzes. Lechner even proved you can play the blues in 3/4 time. Franz Kafka's words were brought to music on "Auf der Galerie (On the Gallery)" and the song "Da Himmevoda (Our Holy Father)" tells us about Lechner's remembrance of his grandmother.

He played his own compositions as well as some well-known popular tunes. Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage" -- in Lechner's typical dialect from Vienna and accompanied by only his accordion -- was breathtaking. Sting's "Walking on the Moon" was played as an instrumental as well as the Hollies' "The Air that I Breathe."

The gig lasted more than two hours, and at the end he had to come back for several encores.

It was amazing how one guy with an accordion and voice was able to capture the attention of hundreds of people for two hours. His well balanced mixture of folk, jazz, blues and pop tunes was exactly what the audience was expecting, and Lechner's CDs were all sold out at the end of the night.

- Rambles
written by Adolf Goriup
published 2 April 2005