WintersHome: The Band That Grew Up in Zermatt

They call themselves “WintersHome” and they all grew up in Zermatt. The six members of this pop and folk music band have only been together for four years. And they have already enjoyed success. The exciting thing about these band members: they have known each other since they were in nappies and work out the songs collectively. At the music festival Zermatt Unplugged the band performes in the setting of the "New Talents" in the Foyer Marquee on April 05th 2016.

An evening in Zermatt. The six band members have gathered so that they can practice together. A song without a title is next. The refrain goes: “When I feel home, we all see the light, we all see the sun.” A couple of measures with guitar cords, a hummed melody, glances that go back and forth. It is tangible that they have known each other for a long time, they are a good ensemble. The flat of the Müller family in the Hotel Coeur des Alpes is the meeting place for the six friends. In the background, Elia Zurbriggen plays bass, picks lightly on the strings. The greatest attention prevails but they are still relaxed. No one assumes control, everyone has suggestions for a better sound for the song. Here an insider joke, there fiddling about with some guitar riffs, piano chords and melodies, hummed by all, three men, three women. Then suddenly a refrain fragment emerges. “The male voices have to dominate here,” says Pirmin Zurbriggen. He sits at the piano and plays triads. The others agree, the refrain actually sounds better. What is the song called? No idea. Yet. We’ll get there. That is what the self-evident, non-verbal communication means. 

Already Successful in the Summer of 2015

The band was founded on 25th Deember 2011. The six Zermatters gave their first concert in public in the Restaurant Chez Vrony on 1 August 2014. Before that, the members of the band had been given instruments and a sound mixing board by their parents. Early on, they sang at family gatherings and later at weddings. The matter took on a very much official touch when the 150 Years First Ascent of the Matterhorn was celebrated during the summer of 2015, the jubilee year. The band got set up on the Matterhorn Plaza in the centre of Zermatt. Many locals and guests gathered in droves around the boys and girls. They sing catchy, good-sounding songs. The mood is relaxed, peaceful, happy. WintersHome is liked. That is clearly seen in the faces. The Zermatters are convincing once again in the fall of 2015 – this time in Zurich. At Zermatt Unplugged Kaufleuten. They had the mood in the bag. 

Family Band, ABBA and Zermatt Unplugged

The Julen family is best described as a clan, because the children of the recently deceased tourist pioneer August Julen (1922 to 2015) have seriously affected the face of Zermatt. Heinz Julen as an artist and architect, who designed hotels such as the Backstage, the Coeur des Alpes and the Matterhorn Focus. His sister Vrony runs the famous mountain restaurant Chez Vrony in Findeln together with her husband Max Cotting. Leni Müller-Julen and her husband Thomas are exceptional hosts in their Hotel Coeur des Alpes, which is clear from the ratings in TripAdvisor. And Moni Julen is married to the legendary Swiss skier, Primin Zrubriggen from Saas Almagell. They all live in Zermatt and often come together as one family. There they sing as they have for generations. That is the humus for the six members of this band. They already sang together as children. Rebecca is the only one not related to the others. But all of them have been close friends for years. The boys grew up with the Zermatt Music Festival. From a young age, they listened to acoustic music, were in close contact with the stars – also with the godmother of the festival, Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, the lead singer of ABBA. For the 150-year jubilee, the Zermatt singer, Dan Daniell, recorded a hymn to the Matterhorn, the song “1865”, together with Frida. The band playing the background musical arrangement was WintersHome. “It was an honour for us to be allowed to sing with them,” said Elia. Frida was also present for their first concert in the Restaurant Chez Vrony. When they were asked whether that famous member of that band had given them tips, Romaine said: “Yes, she has also been at a rehearsal. She listened attentively and gave us open and honest feedback.” Frida was also convinced that they had potential. But: “She knows exactly what it takes to become better,” said Pirmin. Admiration and respect can be heard in his voice, because the Zermatt musicians know that the four members of ABBA practiced for hours everyday over many years. And WintersHome? They all laugh with a little bit of embarrassment. Getting six individuals together under one roof is not so easy. But they want to move forward. Record a CD, write new songs, become even better. Confidence and commitment are present.

The Members of the Band

Rebacca Graven, percussion, cajón and guitar, former ski racer, still studying
Joel Müller, acoustic guitar, ski racer, lead voice
Romaine Müller, acoustic guitar, lead voice, still studying
Pirmin Zurbriggen, piano and keyboard, ski teacher, still studying
Elia Zurbriggen, bass guitar, ski racer
Maria Zurbriggen, lead voice, still studying
Everyone also sings and often changes instruments.


WintersHome appears at Zermatt Unplugged on 4 to 9 April 2016
Date: 5 April, 6:45 pm, Foyerzelt (free concert)

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