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EFN Newsletter June 2024 #25

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: more details about the 2024 EFN Annual Conference in Finland

🔸EFN welcomes a new member: Jean-Marc Wagner, musician from Luxembourg

🔹News from our members: a follow-up of Live Music Now Scotland's collaboration with Mexico-based PRISMA

🔸Our next featured member is Stoneyport Associates

🔹Our next featured artist is the Hungarian singer Márta Sebestyén

🔸Special content: Tafod Arian (silver tongue), by Lleuwen: bringing Welsh spoken hymns alive through music.


✍️ 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


🔸EFN Conference 2024 


Registration continues for the 2024 EFN Conference in Kaustinen, Finland on Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 September.


To register for the conference go straight to the Registration page on Eventbrite or for info on travel, accommodation and the schedule for the programme for each day plus the registration link, go to https://www.europeanfolknetwork.com/conference-2024


The EFN conference is open to everyone - EFN members of course, but also non-members, including students of traditional arts. 


The 2024 conference programme will include items and expert speakers on intangible cultural heritage, pedagogy, education in the traditional arts, and opportunities for delegates in discussion groups on EFN's future actions and working groups. Plus delegates are invited to pitch their own ideas and interests in the Open Mic session.


Visiting Kaustinen is an adventure into the heart of Finland and the heart of traditional culture and this year it's an adventure to celebrate European Folk Day. Deep in Ostrobothnia, Western Finland, Kaustinen 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 Kaustinen Folk Festival. 


For the 2024 conference EFN and Kaustinen offers 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 - and experiencing music and dance each evening, to celebrate European Folk Day 2024.


The activities will take place mainly at the Folk Arts Center, which you can see here below. A good part of the building is underground so you have to come in person to see it completely. We took the picture from their official website.


 

EFN WELCOMES A NEW MEMBER

By EFN editors


This month musician Jean-Marc Wagner joined EFN. As our first member from Luxembourg, Jean-Marc introduced himself like this: 


"I am the violinist and lead vocalist for Schëppe Siwen, a folkpunk band from Luxembourg. I manage the band, organize concerts, and coordinate our tours. We create original songs inspired by Luxembourg’s folk traditions, modernizing them with a unique twist. With over 30 years of experience, I am deeply connected within Luxembourg's vibrant music scene.”


Talking about why he joined EFN, Jean-Marc said: 


“As a European Folk Network member, I offer extensive experience in folkpunk and diverse music genres, backed by a classical degree in violin and music theory, and strong connections in Luxembourg's music scene. Membership will benefit me by providing collaboration opportunities, exposure to new audiences, and engagement with a community dedicated to preserving and innovating folk music traditions.”


The picture is the band Schëppe Siwen and we took it from their Facebook page


 

News from the members

🔹A follow-up of Live Music Now Scotland's collaboration with Mexico-based PRISMA

EFN editors, with info provided by Malena Persson, from Live Music Now Scotland

 

In a previous edition we talked about the collaboration of Live Music Now Scotland with PRISMA, an organization from Mexico founden by Morgan Szymanski This summer, he and the singer and guitarist Lavinia Negrete, will show the result of the collaboration for a number of performances with Roo Geddes. Follow the details, on their Instagram.


 

Featured Member: Stoneyport Associates


When he became a member in 2019, Dr John Barrow explained that:  


"Stoneyport Associates is essentially a one-man business based in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK but organising tours UK-wide and occasionally gigs ex-UK as well mainly for folk(ie) acts and sometimes other genres too. When needed I can generally call on others to assist in what we do – like writing applications for tour funding."


When asked about what they thought would be the benefits of membership for them, he answered that "Approx 55 years of experience as concert promoter, agent, festival organiser, concert promoter, magazine editor (all part-time tho’, bar Edinburgh Folk Festival: 1979-1984). Benefits of membership? Access to new markets and contacts for my agency activities in particular and hopefully widening my knowledge base while also helping and advising others if they need it." So now they are... aprox 60 years of experience! Wow! 


For more information, check their website.


 

Featured Member: Márta Sebestyén

By Araceli Tzigane


I met Márta Sebestyén through her participation in the soundtrack of The English Patient. Wow, I watched it twice in the cinema. At the beginning of the film, Márta's voice can be heard while we see the brush of the female protagonist, Katharine Clifton, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, copying the drawings of swimmers in a cave on the Gilf Kebir plateau in the Egyptian Sahara.


The portrait is from Discogs.


Márta is a star and you can find her biographical facts easily. Some basics: she was born in 1957 in Budapest. According to her bio on here website, she has been "living under the spell of folksongs ever since I was a young child. First these were the ones I heard my mother sing, later the folk music that opened up before me like a new world. I was mesmerized by the ancient voices - primarily the collections of Zoltan Kallos, full of marvelous texts and melodies."


Her first discographic work was with the band of the singer and multi-instrumentalist Sebő Ferenc. And you can see them performing live in 1980 here. Her current discography is really long, with more than 60 references, between her own albums and collaborations with many other artists.


She is currently active and making concerts. You can follow her activities on her Facebook page


Here is the beginning of the mentioned film. The soundtrack is responsibility of Gabriel Yared. For this moment, he chose the piece Szerelem, Szerelem. The full song is available here. Since the lyrics are so moving, I will explain below what they are about.



The song "Szerelem, Szerelem" translates to "Love, Love" in English. It is a traditional Hungarian folk song that delves into the themes of love and its associated pains. The lyrics reflect the narrator's feelings of love and heartache, expressing a deep longing and the emotional turmoil that love can bring.


The song begins with a lamentation about love, describing it as a cursed torment. The narrator wishes that love had blossomed on every tree so that everyone, including the narrator, could have picked it. The lyrics convey a sense of missed opportunities and the narrator's regret for letting love slip away.


The narrator continues to express a desire to find true love again, specifically referring to an old lover. There is a willingness to perform great feats, such as scooping water from the sea with a spoon or collecting pearls from the seabed, to show devotion to the former lover.


This piece, Istenem, Istenem, performed by Márta, also became well-known due to the "remixed" version by Deep Forest in one of those typical exercises from the 90s. Specifically, it is on the 1995 album Boheme. You can look it up at your own discretion... In reality, the piece and Márta's voice are so beautiful that even this techno cheese beat becomes tolerable. But here I link the original a capella version:



This Hungarian folk song reflects deep emotions of sorrow and nostalgia. It starts with the singer lamenting how three measures of red ribbon no longer fit around them, symbolizing changes over time. The lyrics mention a mill across the water that grinds sorrow, indicating the singer's burden of sadness. The song continues with references to drinking wine and brandy to ease the heart's grief and concludes with a plea to God for mercy and blessings, including the hope for many children.


 

Special content:

Tafod Arian (silver tongue), by Lleuwen: bringing Welsh spoken hymns alive through music


This content was suggested by Elen Elis, Cyfarwyddwr Artistig (Artistic Director) of our member the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru (National Eisteddfod of Wales), which is an annual Welsh festival that celebrates the culture, language, and traditions of Wales. It is one of the oldest and largest cultural festivals in Europe, featuring a wide range of competitions in music, literature, dance, visual arts, and performance. Participants compete in events such as poetry, singing, instrumental music, and drama. The festival also includes ceremonies, such as the crowning of the Bard and the Chairing of the Bard, which honor the best poets and writers. Learn more about this event, on their website.


Contents provided by Elen Elis, edition by Araceli Tzigane.


This year, the Eisteddfor Genedlaethol Cymry will host the premier of the performance of the artist Lleuwen Steffan with band, of the project Tafod Arian. It is an archive project bringing hidden voices from the past out to a new audience through music – with Lleuwen and band performing with the archive voices – folk hymns from the past.Elen explained for your newsletter that "The project is important for Wales as the hymns had been lost for such a long time before we rediscovered them. Through Tafod Arian we are reintroducing them to a public who is fascinated by how current the hymns are. Yes, they are old but the messages and emotions behind them are ageless." To collect the repertoire for this project, Lleuwen and the National Eisteddfod of Wales delved into the depths of St Fagan’s Museum and National Library’s sound archives as well as hymns picked up and recorded by Lleuwen in her tour of 50 Welsh chapels.


On an interview with Nation.cymru, Lleuwen Steffan, explained that: “I have met the descendants of most of these people who’s voices are used within the music. The families have been so welcoming and have unintentionally steered the music to other unexpected directions. I was introduced to (and became rather obsessed with) recordings of the “Hwyl Gymreig” which are the half sung half spoken sermons of Wales that were popular during the nineteenth century. [...] These sermons are unlike anything I have ever heard before. Mindblowing. I have also been introduced to recorded memories of the 1904/05 revival. If these memories were documented in written form, one could only read the words. But with audio, the emotional recall within voices is captured.


I asked Elin about the meaning of "1904/05 revival" and she explained that: "The 1904/04 Revival was a Methodist revival in Wales. But it was not only a religious revival as many of the Welsh folk filled the chapels and were educated in the chapels through the Sunday schools. The language of their bible and their hymns were Welsh and therefore thousands of people learned to read, write, and philosophise through the medium of Welsh. This religious revival brought on a cultural revival also and that culture was in the medium of Welsh. Some of our finest modern poets were raised with the revival in the background." 


We wish much success to the project!


The picture of Lleuwen is from her official website.

Learn more about this project on the website of the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru.


Before the premiere of the concert with band at the Eisteddfor Genedlaethol Cymry, Lleuwen has performed this repertoire in solo concerts. This is her concert at Celtic Connections 2024:




 

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. - It will be present again in the next edition - 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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