I’m not exactly sure when I heard Irene play for the first time. I only remember how delighted and enthusiastic I was. In the Swiss Jazz scene, she is an exception – as an instrumentalist. In the Fifties women were mainly singers, but even as a young woman, Irene had already been awarded first prize as a pianist at the Amateur Jazz Festival in Zurich. The atmosphere in the smoky Jazz locales of the Fifties and Sixties, the political change in the air in ’68 and the Women’s Lib Movement in the Eighties fascinated me. Irene improvised on the piano: elbows hammering and dragging along the keys, fingers pecking and darting over them. Pulling and plucking the strings inside the piano.
With a biography and an alternative lifestyle like hers, Irene is an exception in Switzerland. As a woman working in a creative area myself, she both interested me and inspired me to make this film. A good ten years older than I am, she is for me a forerunner of the Women’s Liberation Movement and one of the very few female figures in the Swiss creative scene – 63 years old, with her musical roots in Jazz and, in the meantime, avidly involved in and internationally renowned for her Instant Composing and her improvised music.