EFN July's newsletter, #5
Updated: Jul 26
WELCOME AND SUMMARY
Welcome to the fifth edition of this communication and outreach initiative of the EFN. Feel free to forward it to your friends and colleagues. Receiving this newsletter is open to anyone for free, here. Read to the end to find out how to submit content for future editions.
This is what you'll find below:
Remember: REGISTRATION FOR THE ANNUAL EFN CONFERENCE is open, don't miss it!!!! And prepare your news, projects, searches, requests... to share with the other members in the frame of the Conference: call for 5 minutes pitching talks!
Sending the best wishes to Aengus Finnan in his new path after stepping out of his role as Executive Director of Folk Alliance International.
Our next featured member is TRACS - Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
Our next featured artist is the Norwegian fiddler Håkon Høgemo.
And we share two special contents: Showcases for Europe in the USA and "Hidden and authentic Balkans" panel in the program of WOMBA.
At the end of the newsletter you will find how you can contribute to future editions, whether you are an EFN member or not. And of course EFN is always looking for new members and at the end of this newsletter there is a note about how and why to join, with links to the membership pages of the website and the application form. Thanks for your attention, have a fruitful reading.
News from the EFN
EFN'S ANNUAL MEETING AND CONFERENCE 2022 MANRESA - 7 & 8 OCTOBER – REGISTER NOW!
Our EFN member and generous host Fira Mediterrania will welcome EFN to the beautiful ancient city of Manresa, near Barcelona, for our annual conference on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th October.
The conference programme schedule will be packed with opportunities for members and guests to meet, talk and share ideas, plus special guest speakers - and we'll have full, free access to the entire Fira Mediterrania showcase programme running throughout the city.
So don't delay - to ensure an EFN members place at this special event (and access the 2 nights hotel accommodation and airport transfers for EFN members generously provided by Fira Mediterrania) REGISTER HERE NOW ⬅️.
Non-members and additional representatives from EFN member organisations can REGISTER HERE.
IDEAS FOR THE 2022 CONFERENCE
By EFN editors
EFN’s conferences are all about members sharing and discussing ideas!
This year the two major themes of the conference are:
‘Showcases’ – how do they work – in fact, do they work?
‘Inter-generational issues’ – how are traditions passed down from generation to generation in the modern world?
Panellists and speakers will include experts on both subjects from across Europe and there will be plenty of opportunity to question and debate the subjects during the sessions on Saturday, so come prepared!
ALSO – the conference offers a platform for EFN members to pitch their own ideas and proposals in a special session when members are offered a 5 minute open mic slot to say – whatever they want to say! It might be a proposal for a project, a call for partners/collaborators, a suggestion for EFN planning, an announcement about something they are doing - or just an idea that they want people to think about. It’s a free slot and time will be limited – so if you want one of those open mic slots let the conference organisers know NOW 🎤 – email your name and the title of your pitch to email@example.com ASAP!!
GOOD LUCK AND THANK YOU, AENGUS FINNAN!
By EFN editors
A few days ago Aengus Finnan sent a farewell message on this last day as the Executive Director of Folk Alliance International. You can read his full (and moving) message, here.
Aengus supported the foundation of the European Folk Network at the very beginning. We want to thank him and to wish him much happiness in his new career.
Hope to meet you again soon, friend!
Featured Member: Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland – TRACS
TRACs was one of the first organisations to become a member. This is how they introduced themselves to the Network:
Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS) was set up in 2012 in order to create a cohesive voice for the traditional arts in Scotland, principally those of storytelling, music and dance. TRACS’s work also encompasses Scotland’s main indigenous languages.
TRACS has been developed since its beginning as a framework for collaboration, delivery and advocacy. It comprises the Scottish Storytelling Forum, the Traditional Music Forum and the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland. It is based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in the historic Netherbow in Edinburgh’s Old Town. TRACS draws, through its three constituting Forums, on a membership network numbering over one hundred organisations and five hundred individuals in all parts of Scotland, as well as a distributed engagement, live and digital, with 900,000 people annually.
Learn more about them on their website.
Remember: the Featured Artist section is open to the contributions of the members of the EFN. Is there any folk artist you especially appreciate, someone who was a benchmark on his/her field of work? Don't be shy and tell the world about that person.
Featured Artist: Håkon Høgemo By Araceli Tzigane
I think Håkon Høgemo is practically unknown outside Norway, although he is well appreciated there. His Wikipedia entry is only in Norwegian, which may support that statement. It's not huge but it includes a short bio and a discography organised according to the different bands he has been part of.
I was lucky enough to see him play at Førdefestivalen (the picture above is from their website), in a small concert, off-programme, in a church in the middle of the countryside. Høgemo was part of the band of the much more international Karl Seglem, with whom he would play that night. Seglem was on the programme and his concert took place in one of the best venues of the festival. But before that, the music that Høgemo played on his violin in that small church seemed at the same time simple and unpredictable, music that seems to make time stand still.
Click the picture to watch Håkon Høgemo playing aspringar. I can't describe that moment in the little church to you in words, but this video can bring you a little closer:
According to Folkorg.no, Høgemo was born in 1965 in Øvre Årdal and lives in Osterøy and is one of Norway's most useful musicians, who has been freelance musician since 1993. He plays traditional music from the area of Sogn, Voss, Hardanger and Valdres as a solo player, and plays in the groups Bufaste tonar (1994), Slåttetrioen (1995), UTLA ( 1992) and Gamaltnymalt (2001), between other artistic line-ups.
Lars Skjervheim from Voss (born 1915, died 2003, according to Discogs), had a special relevance as a teacher and as a source of inspiration for Høgemo. Håkon Høgemo has been a teacher himself in schools like: Norwegian Academy of Music, Ole Bull Academy, the Grieg Academy, and Osterøy municipal music school.
Let's pay a little tribute to Lars Skjervheim for his work in transmitting his art to newer generations. Here you can hear him, also with a springar, on his 1995 album Heimlengt.
SHOWCASES FOR EUROPE IN THE USA
By Nod Knowles
EFN’s 2022 conference focus on ‘Showcases’ will include a wide ranging examination of how and where they work across Europe - and perhaps look into questions like ‘do they work’ or ‘do they need to change?’
European showcase events can be big but what do people think of the massive showcase festivals in the USA – especially Folk Alliance International (FAI) in Kansas City and SxSW in Texas?
British Underground, the UK/Ireland organisation that presents the Horizons programme for those nations at WOMEX introduced the new London folk scene into SxSW in 2022, featuring a documentary ‘The Broadside Hack’ which was premiered in Texas before it has been shown in London. The film, which is trailed as showing ‘future-facing folk’, features singers from the Broadside Hacks and the Shovel Dance Collective, both part of the London scene.
Showcasing in the USA before showcasing in their home country is certainly an interesting concept – is that a harbinger of what might change in showcase thinking? And are these artists an indication of how the inter-generational transmission of tradition works in a global capital city?
"HIDDEN AND AUTHENTIC BALKANS", A PANEL IN THE PROGRAM OF WOMBA By Araceli Tzigane, from Mapamundi Música A few days ago the conference WOMBA took place. It was part of the project “MOST – The Bridge for Balkan Music”, about which we shared a news in the previous edition and led by our member Hangveto, from Hungary. Between the several topics that were discussed there was a panel that I think is specially interesting for our network and sympathisers: Hidden and Authentic Balkans. It was moderated by Dejan Vujinović (very briefly, artistic director of Etnofest world music and Jazziré experimental and exploratory music festivals in Serbia, involved in several transnational cultural cooperation projects for many years, program manager for the Interreg IPA CBC Hungary-Serbia programme and part time lecturer at some of the local universities). And the panellists were:
Dragi Šestić: Bosnian musician, producer and manager, founder and leader of 'Mostar Sevdah Reunion', owner of Snail Records, that he created in 2002. He was the person who rediscovered and supported Šaban Bajramović from the beginning of the 2000s.
Kim Burton: pianist and accordionist specialising in Latin (Working Week, Tito Puente Jr), Balkan and other local musics (3 Mustaphas 3). “She is sometimes a borderline academic writing about music and spends a lot of time thinking about it as well. Her latest forays into ‘hidden’ musics have been in the Timok Krajina, the Bosnian and Croatian Posavina and the Spreča Valley, where there is a lot going on you might miss.” (From WOMBA website).
Bojan Đorđević: journalist, writting since 1987 for music magazines in Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Italy and UK, radio conductor since 1990, currently on Radio Belgrade 3, producer of albums and founder and director of festivals like Ring Ring and Todo Mundo, member of WMCE panel and member of the EFN with the World Music Association Serbia.
I think that just to make these people known to some of the readers who do not know them, this text is worthwhile. Which one is more interesting? All of them, really! I will recover some a few of the ideas they shared, although much of what they shared will have to be left out.
From left to right: Bojan, Dragi, Kim and Dejan
Bojan began by explaining that there are styles of Balkan music that are well known internationally: brass bands, Romanian lautari, South Albanian polyphony, new sevdah, bulgarian choirs, small groups and weddind bands, Greek rebetika, Cretan music via Ross Daly... Bulgarian vocal choirs were the first bands to have international success. In the former Yugoslavia, for example, there were exchanges at the East German Rudolstadt festival, where there were one or two Balkan bands, but brass bands, which would seem to be all that was interesting. But there are many different vocal traditions. In the '80s, the interest came from the jazz scene or alternative music. Folk musicians had no interest in playing elsewhere, beyond those exchanges like the one mentioned in Rudolstadt. Bojan mentioned Lala Kovačev and the compilation work The Birth of a Scene: World Music in Serbia in the 80s, released by WMAS Records in 2020 (the link is in Serbian but you can understand quite well with automatic translation). At that time it was called "ethno music". Bojan explained that in 1985 there was an inter-Balkanic festival in Thessaloniki. He also explained that the diaspora from the Balkans is very strong and we have to help them to connect with the local. After Bojan, Dragi shared his insights and experiences. He was the creator of the Mostar Sevdah Reunion, the first international breakthrough from Bosnia (learn more about it, here). He hosted cultural evenings in the radio, with an accordionists and singers, singing like, for instance, John Lee Hooker. There he realised about the beauty of the sevdah music. Many international journalist used to visit the radio and a Spanish one told him it was like flamenco. During the war, Dragi recorded the "pearls of the sevdah", of which he made 50 copies. Dragi is settled in the Netherlands since 1994. He explained that in Amsterdam, he found in a shop an album recorded in Sarajevo by Ben Mandelson (who opened the session of the day with a great talk) and Kim (who was just about to talk after Dragi). At that time, the sevdah began to be mentioned as the "balkan blues". Kim was the last one and her talk was more analytic, from an ethnomusicologistic approach (that was totally understandable and enlightening). She explained that there are some musics hidden because they are used in specific moments and places, they are ritual - and that the music without context leads to autonomous reinterpretation, guided misinterpretation and intentional mediation. The term "hidden" can mean different things: completely unknown, hiding in plain sight, ignored, suppressed, undefined or unfocussed, too intimate for wider consumption, hidden through resistance or transformation as self-protection (the highlander principle) and hidden because of social media and the tyrannical filter of web 2.0. Kim elaborated much more about these with interesting examples, so if you can attend a conference by her or you can hire her, do it. The same goes for the other panellists indeed - they were brilliant!
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS NEWSLETTER Are you already a member? Then, remember that you can submit contents for this monthly newsletter. Email your content to firstname.lastname@example.org, for these sections:
· News from EFN Members. Brief announcements – of around 100 words and a link.
· Featured artist. A profile with around 200 words, an embedded video and one link. Members are invited to submit profiles, considering solo and ensemble living or not living artists who have achieved lifelong artistic and technical quality or historical significance in the field of folk art from or developed in or settled in Europe. If you have any artists in mind that you'd like to feature, please ask in advance, just to be sure there is no other member already doing it.
And whether you are a member or not, you can participate in this section:
· Special sections. For instance, an interview with someone from an institution that is not a member or a thematic article by a guest writer or anything that can appear and be considered as interesting. This section can also host guest writers that are not members. If you'd like to share any content, contact us in advance to schedule it by emailing email@example.com
Of course, self promotional articles lacking interest won't be accepted. In case of doubt, the EFN board will be consulted and will decide.
BECOMING A MEMBER? EFN membership is growing rapidly – why not join the network of traditional arts organisers and artists that stretches across Europe from the Irish Sea to the Baltic, the Mediterranean to the Black Sea? Find out more about membership and download an application form from www.europeanfolknetwork.com/membership.
DO YOU WANT TO SUPPORT THE EFN MORE? The EFN welcomes donations. We do a lot with little money. Imagine what we can do with a little more :) Let us know how much do you want to donate and we'll issue an invoice for your organization.