Business in the Spotlight: Anne-Marie van Eeden

This week’s business in the Spotlight is Anne-Marie van Eeden in Montreux, Switzerland.

Anne-Marie van Eeden is listed on Worldwide’s World Guide free of charge. This guide enables people to support South African businesses abroad.

South African singer, songwriter and inspirational speaker Anne-Marie van Eeden has been living in Switzerland for over a decade. She currently resides in the town of Montreux on the shoreline of Lake Geneva. Her music can be labelled as world music – a unique cross-over style between classical, jazz and folk sounds. She continues to sing in her mother tongue, Afrikaans, but also in English and French. She writes her own lyrics and music but is also known for her skilful and fresh approach to setting the poetry of beloved South African and other poets to music.

Here, in the Northern Hemisphere, she came to know the joys and challenges of putting down her roots in a new country in a Swiss-French community. Anne-Marie studied music, with piano as her main instrument, at the University of Pretoria. After she completed her B. Mus. (Honours) Degree, she contributed widely to many cabarets and music productions as pianist and musical producer. In 2003 her career took a new turn with the launch of her first solo album Kyk Op. The 13 songs on this album were initially written as a personal outlet after the tragic death of her 3-year-old son, Frederick, reflecting honest snapshots of the pain but also of the redemption and healing found in Jesus Christ. The release of this album together with her powerful testimony, led to numerous invitations and performances in South Africa and further abroad.

Since living in Switzerland, she released a third album, aptly titled Winter in 2014, penning songs about her impressions of magical white winters and incorporating distinctive French-European sounds. Winter was nominated for a Ghoema Award. Anne-Marie – on vocals and piano – is accompanied by the cream of South African instrumentalists on all her albums, and since she has been living in Switzerland, also by well-known European solo artists like chromatic harmonica player Olivier Ker-Ourio from France, and flügelhorn player Matthieu Michel from Switzerland. A brand-new album titled Optelwoorde is currently in the making. It largely consists of poems by Koos van der Merwe which was set to music. Koos van der Merwe (apart from being a poet) is also known for translating and recording Leonard Cohen’s songs in Afrikaans. A highlight will certainly be a duet of Koos van der Merwe and Anne-Marie van Eeden, called “Ek is hier”. Featuring cross-over classical, jazz and world music styles, her songs blend language and music to restate identity beyond barriers of origin and destiny. Anne-Marie continues to sing in her beloved mother tongue (Afrikaans) but also in English and French.

AfriForum Worldwide’s World Guide is where South African businesses from around the world get together to form a community. The World Guide currently has more than 1 000 businesses and contact points.

Take the chance and become part of this network. Networking is not only about businesses, it is also a valuable way of building a support base for those days when the longing for a good South African wine, socialising around a braai and the indispensable South African hospitality becomes too much.

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