The term “Fexer” is a Bavarian word meaning spin-off. It is the name chosen by one woman and two men from Oberpfalz for “probably the smallest brass band in the world”. With youthful nonchalance they play polkas, waltzes and rock classics
World's smallest brass band
"Fexer" is Bavarian and means "offshoot". But the Fexer from the Upper Palatinate are anything but an offshoot - the young brass band is unique: the three band members form "probably the smallest brass band in the world". With trumpet, tuba and cow horn Alexander Schuhmann and the siblings Sophie and Daniel Barth really heat up their audience. When Daniel Barth strikes up the first notes on his tuba, many people in the audience at the Brass-Wiesn-Festival think: “I know that song“
Their first great love: the brass band
It is only when Barth’s sister Sophie joins in with her kuhlohorn and Alexander Schuhmann with his trumpet, that the penny drops: The brass instrument trio has rearranged the legendary rock classic “Don’t stop believing” by the band Journey – breathing new Bavarian life into it. The lads and lasses cheer and start dancing. The three young musicians, who fearlessly reinterpret rock legends, together make up the band “Die Fexer”. They represent the new Bavarian brass instrument music.
Not afraid of wild mixtures
Daniel Barth explains the Fexer’s style of music: “We mix traditional folk music with modern genres. That can include genres like, say, jazz, rock, swing or Balkan beats. We also incorporate our own arrangements of songs you hear on the radio.” The Fexer enjoy surprising the audience: “For instance, we’ve included a modern trumpet echo in the Maxglaner Zigeunermarsch”, says Daniel Barth. “Few would have thought this would work together.”
"We mix traditional folk music with modern genres"
The Fexer have already been touring all over Germany for many years. They learnt to play in their home village of Berngau in the Upper Palatinate. Alexander and Sophie were eight years old, Daniel six. They all joined the Berngau brass Band, where they still play today. They like delving into Bavaria’s musical tradition. “In our music we try to blend the modern and the traditional”, says Sophie Barth. “That goes down well especially with young people, but we also have many older fans.”
Rooted in the Upper Palatinate
The Fexer are very close to their roots: “We like village life. Everyone knows everyone here, you can talk to anyone”, Sophie Barth explains. Alexander Schuhmann adds: “The scenery is indescribably beautiful.” And it is, too: the landscape around Berngau is a rural idyll, defined by agriculture. Across the fields of wheat and the meadows you can see the Buchberg, a foothill of the Franconian Jura. Berngau itself is a picturesque Bavarian village with a church, whose 56-metre high church steeple towers over the entire community.
Whether playing with the brass band in Berngau or at the Tourism Fair in Berlin – the Fexer are on the road a lot with 40 to 50 gigs a year. Not always easy to fit in with the daily routine. Daniel studies music, Alexander is an Electrical Engineer, and Sophie studies Business Administration. “But we love doing it, we’re used to the pressure of time”, says Alexander Schuhmann. Sophie adds “Others like playing football, we have the band. It’s also our hobby, bringing everything together, and it’s always so much fun”.
Find out more about Die Fexer and their music www.die-fexer.de (only in German)
... from "Die Fexer"
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