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EFN Newsletter April 2024 #23

WELCOME AND SUMMARY


Welcome to the new 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:


🔸News from EFN: 2nd edition of the European Folk Day; and the 2024 EFN Annual Conference in Filnad!

🔹EFN welcomes new members: Ukrainian Institute (Ukraine), Thanos Stavridis (Greece), North Atlantic Song Convention (Scotland)

🔸News from our members: New round of the Roots Workshop, by Fira Mediterrània de Manresa; Festival Mazurkas of the World, by Fundacja Wszystkie Mazurki Świata

🔹Our next featured member is Creative Scotland

🔸Our next featured artist is the Czech Roma singer Věra Bílá

🔹Special content: Project Folk_ME, by the Hungarian Heritage House


✍️ Do you want to participate? 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 and, please, forward this to any person who could be interested!

 

News from EFN


🔸European Folk Day 2024


Following the remarkable success of the inaugural European Folk Day in 2023, the second annual European Folk Day will be Monday 23 September 2024 - the autumn equinox. Like last year, participation in the Folk Day can also be on the days around that date - the days before and after 23 September.


The European Folk Day website www.europeanfolkday.eu and some of the resources on it will be updated in the next few days – and we hope that you will participate, in whatever way you choose, in this Europe-wide celebration of the incredible folk arts of the people of Europe.


 

🔸European Folk Network Conference 2024 – Save the date!


In the spirit of the European Folk Day, the 2024 EFN conference will be held in Kaustinen, Finland, on 24 & 25 SEPTEMBER. 


Kaustinen - deep in the heart of Western Finland - is a very special centre for the living traditions of intangible cultural heritage and folk arts and home to our hosts and EFN members the Finnish Folk Music Institute and the renowned Kaustinen Folk Festival. 


For the 2024 conference EFN and Kaustinen offer a unique opportunity to explore this remarkable part of rural Finland and its importance to folk traditions, whilst meeting and sharing ideas with a host of other people and organisations active in the folk arts from across Europe.


Info on registration, travel, accommodation and programme will be available soon. 


 

EFN WELCOMES THREE NEW MEMBERS

By EFN editors


This month EFN is delighted to welcome three more new members – from Ukraine, Greece and Scotland.


🔸From Ukraine, the Ukrainian Institute


The Ukrainian Institute, affiliated to the national Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tells us that their activities “are aimed at improving the understanding and perception of Ukraine in the world and the development of its cultural ties with other countries.” “Membership of EFN”, they say, “will allow Ukrainian music industry representatives to integrate into the international music community, establish new partnerships and collaborations among artists, participate in international music conferences and fairs, and showcase Ukrainian artists at international music festivals, concerts series, and other initiatives in order to become a componentof international music discourse.”


Check their website for more information.


 

🔸From Greece, Thanos Stavridis


Greek musician Thanos Stavridis tells us “I’m an accordion player, composer and ethnomusicologist, and I have many projects playing Balkan oriented fusion music. I am researching the music of the Balkans, its evolution, similarities and differences among the countries they consist of.” The portrait is by Giannis Gouzidis.


Check his website for more information.



 

🔸From Scotland, the North Atlantic Song Convention


The North Atlantic Song Convention (NASC) is “an inclusive international network that promotes, celebrates and supports our North Atlantic song traditions. NASC hosts its annual convention in Edinburgh, Scotland which features talks, panels, workshops, song circles and more with guests and participants from across the North Atlantic region.” 


Explaining why they have joined EFN, NASC says that they “seek to engage with other folk organisations interested in similar aims of providing inclusive spaces and opportunities to share traditions and experiences. We offer opportunities for traditional/folk singers from a wide geographical range to meet and celebrate the beauty of unaccompanied song.


Check his website for more information.




 

News from the members

🔹New round of the Roots Workshop

By Fira Mediterrània de Manresa


The Roots Workshop is Fira Mediterrània’s support and assistance programme for artists who are exploring new directions based on roots and folk culture.

The new 2024 version will comprise 20 artistic projects which, in addition to involvement from the Fira, will also benefit from co-production support from more than forty entities, companies and institutions.

The projects included in this programme are structured in three blocks: the international workshop, the performing arts workshop and the workshop for community-based projects.


For more information, check their website.


 

🔹Festival Mazurkas of the World

By Fundacja Wszystkie Mazurki Świata


The Festival All Mazurkas of the World, in Warsaw, took place 17 - 20 April. This festival is a great celebration of traditional music, dance and singing. Concerts and dances with the participation of the best country bands from Poland and abroad, outstanding musicians and their students. Workshops of singing, dancing, playing instruments, activities for children, an Instrument Fair with presentations and meetings with instrument makers from all over Poland. And finally the Dance Night - 10 hours of great music, more than 20 bands and dancing madness until the morning.


The main guests of the festival have been KUD "Tomislav" from Donja Andrijevci, Croatia. They performed in a concert on 19 April, along with other bands. It featured a lot of songs from different historical periods and from different regions of Croatia, including Slavonia and Northern Dalmatia, among them those listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO (ojkanie, bećarac).


The concert "Peasants. Boryna's Wedding", on 18 April, has been a musical spectacle inspired by an old Polish wedding ritual, in which a whole plethora of young continuators of music from the Łódź region performed, alongside rural masters: the Kożuch band, Napięcie, Róża Grabowska and Joanna Skowrońska.


For more information, visit the website


 

Featured Member: Creative Scotland

When they became a member in 2019, they explained that:  


"Creative Scotland is the public body in Scotland that supports the arts, screen and creative industries on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.


We distribute funding from the Scottish Government and The National Lottery." 


When asked about what they thought would be the benefits of membership for them, they answered that "As the main funding body for the arts (including traditional arts) in Scotland, we can offer a unique perspective to the EFN on the folk 'scene' here. The benefits to us of membership will be gaining views of a wider network of people and organisations who are working across Europe."


For more information, check their website.


 

Remember: the Featured Artist section is open to the contributions of the members of the EFN. If you want to talk about someone contact efneditors@gmail.com

 

Featured Artist: Věra Bílá

By Araceli Tzigane

Every year, April 8th is International Romani Day. In a previous April edition, we dedicated this section to the Serbian singer Šaban Bajramović. You can find that edition here. And this time, we remember the Czech singer Věra Bílá, born in 1954 in Rokycany (former Czechoslovakia) and deceased of a heart attack in 2019 in Plzeň (Czech Republic).


The portrait is from Discogs, from where I got some biographic facts about her. A very useful source of information about Bílá's life is this report from The Guardian, from which I will take some facts. I invite you to read the article if you want more information.


The Czech folk singer Zuzana Navarová discovered her and she helper Bílá to release her first album, Rom-Pop, in 1996 (BMG-Ariola). Some time after, she would become the Czech Republic's most important musician abroad and she was possibly the world's most popular Romany singer for some time.  


She performed in Europe and her albums were internationally distributed but in her country she was booed off the stage by skinheads more than once. 


The film Black and White in Colour, directed by Mira Erdevicki-Charap, made a portrait of Bílá, "a cult celebrity in Europe but the target of scorn in her home, the Czech Republic" (Rottentomatoes). About her life, protrayed in the film, Variety explained that "She lives in a simple apartment with her husband and adopted son, often flounders deep in debt and has taken her stereo to the pawn shop 18 times. Bila certainly doesn’t fit the Western conception of stardom: She smokes 30 cigarettes a day, buys second-hand clothing, walks outside barefoot, enthusiastically plays slot machines and eats avidly despite her obesity." I don't know how much of this is true, I can believe it but sometimes these stories seem to exaggerate a lot. The video I've chosen is of the song with which I knew about her. It seems to revel in the misery.


This song was a hit. The video has more than 5 millions of views on Youtube. You can read the lyrics in the original Roma language and in English, here.



Here you see Bílá in 2015 performing at the Festiwal Piosenki i Kultury Romów, in Poland, one of the biggest festivals dedicated to Roma culture. 




 

Special content:

Project Folk_ME, by the Hungarian Heritage House


A couple of weeks ago we received from Linda Diligens, PR manager of the Hungarian Heritage House, the information about Folk_ME project, their brand new innovation.


According to their website, "the Folk_ME (Folk Music Education) program is an innovative initiative in the field of digital education and cultural heritage preservation. Its aim is not only to preserve the rich traditions of folk music, but also to present and integrate them in new and creative ways into modern educational practices. The programme will pay particular attention to making traditional folk music content available in digital format, thus contributing to the wide dissemination and promotion of cultural heritage."It is highly recommended that you visit the website and choose one of the more than 100 pieces currently available, to fully understand what it involves.


We wanted to get deeper into some aspects and Miklós Both, director of Hungarian Heritage House, answered our questions. Here you are:


European Folk Network Editors: Can you explain briefly what an user can exactly do with Folk_ME? 

Miklós Both: The platform was designed to be highly versatile, catering to a diverse audience and providing educational value. Users visiting the site can delve deeper into folk music content, easily search among them using various filters, explore songs in their entirety, read their lyrics, and listen to their instrumental accompaniments, as well as their archival, authentic versions. Beyond exploration, with the multitrack player feature, users can toggle individual tracks on and off, enabling them to sing or play along with the interface.


EFNE: Does it have any cost for the user?

MB: No, using Folk_ME is free and available for everybody. 


EFNE: Does it include anything apart from the resources of the website?

MB: The platform was designed to be user-friendly for both individuals and groups. When visiting the Folk_ME website, there is nothing else you need. During the project presentation, we regularly hold live workshops on its usage, but fundamentally, the platform stands on its own.


EFNE: Do you have any future plans for the project? 

MB: By creating the Folk_ME digital platform, we do initiate building a network as well. A network of educators, researchers, and creators in the field of intangible cultural heritage as this digital platform, the Folk_ME can assist and connect their work. In this sense, within the musical domain of intangible cultural heritage, we seek further collaborative partners to continue this effort.As Folk_ME is designed as a framework, it can be applied in various fields. The Hungarian Heritage House is a versatile institution, active in applied folk art, dance too. Therefore, we primarily intend to expand the Folk_ME framework towards these areas first. 



 

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 efneditors@gmail.com, 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 efneditors@gmail.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. 

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