Heimweh, the new album, by Swiss Miss, may be the concept album to end all concept albums.  Created by New York based Swiss musician Eliane, the album brings together a dazzling variety of Swiss female vocalists performing renditions of traditional Swiss folk songs representing many geographic regions and dialects of Switzerland on a backdrop of the music of the Americas: Jazz, latin, Brazilian,  blues, reggae, calypso and soul are all part of the ingredients which make up this musical smorgasbord.

Since moving to New York in 1998, Eliane has forged an illustrious career in the music scene here, graduating from the New School Jazz Program and performing with some of the finest musicians in the city, genre hopping from jazz to latin and electronic.

The Swiss Miss project is a beautifully conceived consolidation of her experience in the New York music scene and her life as a woman having grown up in Switzerland, successfully bringing together her Swiss life and her New York life in what must certainly be a remedy for Heimweh.  As producer, she has drawn upon in both the instrumentation and vocal arrangements the best of both worlds, not only sonically but culturally; the 12 Swiss female vocalists whose voices can be heard on the album in addition to her own represent many and varied ethnic groups and age brackets; the New York instrumentalists likewise.  Add to this the juxtaposition of traditional alphorn player Eliana Burki and the 21st century sounds of human beatbox master Nino G., and you have a musical United Nations.  The idea is beautiful, but the bottom line is that together these musicians have made a well crafted album of material that will provide listening pleasure for Swiss nationals for whom the folksongs are deliciously familiar as well as fans everywhere of great American music.

Swiss listeners will be curious to hear these modern renditions of folkslieder such as S’isch mer alles eis ding , Ganteral and Guggisbaerger Lied, whereas American listeners will be introduced to this rich musical lore in familiar musical settings.

The vocalists she brought together for this purpose are NUBYA, MIA AEGERTER, GIGI MOTO, CORIN CURSCHELLAS, ANDRA BORLO, HIRSUTE, JAMIE WONG LI, IRINA SIMONETA, CHRISTIN MAHO, YOLANDA SCHALLBETTER, CONNNIE STADLER, ELIANE, all of whom are photographed in a series of portraits on the album artwork.  The New York Swiss Miss rhythm section consists of Jennifer Vincent, Hagar Ben Ari, Abou Diarrassouba, Uri Sharlin and Eliane herself on guitar, percussion and kazoo.

Heimweh means homesickness, but it can also mean longing for some place you miss, not necessarily your homeland.  Eliane has recorded an album that will make her feel connected to New York when she is in Switzerland and will always give her a taste of her Swiss home when she is in New York.

Reviewed by Paula Henderson