Even back in the 70’s and 80’s you find the name of Oesch in connection with musical events. Grandfather Hans Oesch, the founder of the legendary Trio Oesch was thrilling people up and down the country with his unmistakable accordion playing and his catchy melodies that are still remembered today. His enthusiasm for folk music and light music was soon passed on to his son Hansueli, who as a boy enchanted the public with his singing and yodelling interludes and later with his incredible finesse on the Schwyzerörgeli accordion and above all with his charm. As backing to the famous “Jodlerfründe vo Stauffenalp” (Yodel Friends of Stauffenalp) and above all as an influential member of “Schwyzerörgeliquartett Stockhorn” (Stockhorn Schwyzerörgeli Quartet) and “Trio Oesch”, Hansueli was on stage weekend after weekend.
And Hansueli’s wife Annemarie also comes from a musical family, so it is not surprising that their children Melanie, Mike and Kevin were already on the stage at the age of five or six. Accompanied by their father Hansueli on the Schwyzerörgeli they sang their way into the hearts of many an audience with their merry, specially arranged songs and thereby gained their first experience on stage between 1994 and 1997. In December 1997, precisely on Melanie’s 10th birthday, there followed the first television appearance under the name of Oesch’s die Dritten. With a “rap version” of the yodelling song “Dr Köbu u dr Chrigu u dr Sepp” (Köbu & Chrigu & Sepp) specially arranged by Hansueli Oesch the three showed that with the third generation of Oesches there is definitely room for modern elements too.
In 1998 came the first sound recordings that were released the same year on the “Trio Oesch and Oesch’s die Dritten – Mit neuem Power (With New Power)” CD. The version of the classic “Jambalaya” with new lyrics by father Hansueli became a minor hit with the title “Mir sie Oesches” (We are Oesches), which did not escape the attention of the famous presenter and entertainer Sepp Trütsch. At the start of 1999 he immediately invited this musical family on to his TV programme Musikplausch (Music Chat) (SF1). That same year, all three generations appeared on the television programme “Hopp de Bäse” (Turn up the Bass) presented by Kurt Zurfluh. Sadly it was to be the only TV appearance with all three generations.
In 2001 it was off to America for Oesch’s die Dritten, where the family was most warmly received and admired for their musical achievements by homesick Swiss in, among other places, Los Angeles, VeniceBeach, San Diego and Phoenix.
2002 was also a successful year with about 25 national appearances. The demand for their unique repertoire was growing and growing, which in the end led the Oesch’s to produce their first album.
In 2003 their favourite songs and melodies of that time appeared on the release “SMS – Schweizer – Music – Sowieso” (SMS – Swiss – Music – Sure).
Because education and training were becoming more and more important for Melanie, Mike and Kevin, musical performances had to be somewhat reduced between 2004 and 2006. And, what is more, Mike, who as a great new alpine ski sports talent, was seen more and more on the pistes, which did not always make arranging appearances easy.
In 2006 Heinz Haldi, the gifted accordionist and friend for many years of the Oesch family, joined the family act. And from now on there were six in Oesch’s die Dritten.
In February 2007 came their appearance in the competition for new talent on the programme Musikantenstadl, which overnight turned the lives of the six from the Bernese Oberland completely upside down. After many requests and recommendations from their fans, Oesch’s die Dritten signed up for this musical audition, were immediately selected for the programme and won the competition with 63.1% of all the votes with their Cuckoo Yodel.
Then it all came thick and fast. There followed appearances at the Big Hansi Hinterseer Open Air Show, at the Klostertal Alpenparty, in Alain Morisod’s “Les Coups de Coeur” on TSR and various other live and television appearances.
The “Jodelzauber” (Yodel Magic) album leapt straight up the Swiss charts, stayed there for weeks on end (59 weeks) and was awarded a gold a short time later. Having pocketed the little Prix Walo, Oesch’s die Dritten headed for the final at the Silvesterstadl at the end of the year, where they won the cherished Stadl Star for the best new group from Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2007.
In 2008 the successes and intense activity continued with appearances on the “Krone der Volksmusik” (Crown of Folk Music, ARD, ORF) and the popular “Wenn die Musi spielt (When the Music Plays) – Winter Open Air Show” (ORF). There followed yet more television appearances at home and abroad including entering the Grand Prix of Folk Music. As the winners of the Swiss semi-finals, Oesch’s die Dritten with their song “Die Jodelsprache” (The Yodel Language) were seen as favourites for the international final. There they gained a creditable third place.
A short while later this folk music sextet released their “Frech-Frisch-Jodlerisch” (Cheeky-Fresh-Yodelly) on the market and this too leapt straight up the Swiss charts and stayed there for half a year. Yes, 2008 was Oesch’s die Dritten’s year. They could be marvelled at on every TV show (over 50 in total) and in the most varied magazines and of course live everywhere. In Germany they won the Herbert Roth Prize, in the Benelux countries the Golden Tulip and in Switzerland, with their hit “Cuckoo Yodel” they won “Die Grössten Schweizer Hits“ (The Greatest Swiss Hits) prize on the show of the same name.
The musical fairytale of this famous family of musicians also continued in 2009.
This folk music ensemble confirmed its popularity at home and abroad with another appearance on “Krone der Volksmusik” (Crown of Folk Music) and on various international programmes and at the start of February they were awarded gold and platinum for their “Jodelzauber” (Yodel Magic) and “Frech-Frisch-Jodlerisch” (Cheeky-Fresh-Yodelly) albums on the cult Swiss programme “Hopp de Bäse” (Turn up the Bass). That same year they also won gold for the “Jodelzauber” album in Austria, which no Swiss folk music group had previously achieved. Yes, the Oesches were welcome guests everywhere.
At the Prix Walo (The Most Important Swiss Award in Showbusiness) ceremony in Interlaken in April 2009, they won awards and honours in both the Folk Music and Public’s Favourites categories.
With their fifth album “Volksmusik ist INternational” (Folk Music is INternational) and a very moving Christmas release, “Winterpracht” (Winter Splendour), Oesch’s die Dritten were once again well represented in the Swiss charts. And the “Schwiizer Wiehnacht” (Swiss Christmas) tour including a live recording on Swiss television was a total success.
In January and February 2010 the Oesches had their first big German tour on their concert schedule. With their “Die grosse Dampfershow” (The Big Steamboat Show) production presented by Maxi Arland these folk musicians played at 28 sold-out concerts in only 33 days. Then in Switzerland followed programmes like “Benissimo”, “Les Coups de Coeur” with Alain Morisod, “SF bi de Lüt – Live”, “Schlagersommer” (Summer of Hits) and “Hopp de Bäse” (Turn up the Bass) and in Austria and Germany the big “Sommer Musi Open Air” show in Bad Kleinkirchheim and the cult programme “immer wieder sonntags” (Sunday after Sunday) in the Europapark in Rust. In July Oesch’s die Dritten were again awarded a gold, this time for the “Volksmusik ist INternational” (Folk Music is INternational) album. Besides many typical Oesch tracks, this work contained two tunes which were dedicated to the Swiss St. Bernard’s Hospice and which gave wonderful expression to the folk musicians’ sponsorship of the Fondation Barry. With their “Klingende Bergweihnacht” (Jingling Mountain Christmas) programme these folk musicians went on a foreign Christmas tour for the first time.
In January 2011 the “Jodel-Time” (Yodel Time) album came out and Oesch’s die Dritten were already off on tour again, this time with the programmes “Die grosse Dampfershow“ (The Big Steamboat Show) and “Musikantenparade 2012” (2012 Musicians’ Parade).
March saw the celebration of the 30th year of the Musikantenstadl in Fribourg, where the folk musicians’ sextet were welcome guests as successful Stadl Star winners. And on the first programme in the new “Alpenrose” Swiss folk music show, the six from the Bernese Oberland were also there and with Melanie as the patron of the Choir & Yodelling category they even shared in the win.
In June and July of the same year there was another highlight: the concert tour of Finland and Estonia.
With 6 successful appearances at, among other places, the popular Haapavesi Folk Festival, Oesch’s die Dritten made an impression with their talent even in the Far North and gave the best advertisement for Swiss folk music.
With their appearance on “Die grosse Herbstshow” (The Big Autumn Show) on ZDF and on Hansi Hinterseer’s programme of the same name, they were once again very much present both in their homeland and elsewhere in the German-speaking region.
They finished the year with their big “Weihnachten” Christmas tour with Maxi Arland.
On 26 December 2011 in the series of concerts in the “DAS ZELT” theatre, the last solo concert of the year was held, as was the last concert with their friend and accordionist Heinz Haldi. The sold-out DAS ZELT, a wonderful aperitif with the fans and many gifts honoured the wonderful time with Heinz Haldi.
In 2012 Oesch’s die Dritten for the first time allowed themselves two months off. But during this time they weren’t idle at all but working hard, for instance in rehearsals with the new accordionist Urs Meier and with the final touches to the seventh album “Unser Regenbogen” (Our Rainbow) in the studio.
Then at the beginning of March the musicians started the 2012 concert season with a bang at the Musikantenstadl in Wiener Neustadt with a new man and a new title. In addition to over 120 solo appearances in a total of five countries, in December the Oesches once more went on a Christmas tour with their “Melodien der Berge” (Melodies of the Mountains) programme, this time visiting numerous towns in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
With the publication of their first book “Ein Erfolgsgeschichte” (A Success Story), the Oesch family of musicians once more demonstrated their versatility and surprised their fans and music lovers with a very personal work packed with photos about the unique story of their family and its successes.
In 2013 Oesch’s die Dritten travelled for the third time with the popular Musikantedampfer (Musicians’ Steamboat). This tour schedule, which was crowned with success and which was again presented by Maxi Arland, took the folk music ensemble to over 50 German towns in three months.
Then the concert and festival season started. And with performances at the Puntigam Musicians’ Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria and at the Hans Rosenthal Gala in Landau, Germany, this had two highlights in store right at the start. So we can look forward to the ongoing story with excitement …