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EFN Newsletter March 2023 #13


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:

🔸More about the European Folk Day 23 September 2023 and how to sign up. 🔸Our comprehensive report of the 2022 EFN Conference in Manresa. 🔸EFN welcomes new members: the Belgian organisation Amate Galli, the German musician Gunnar Wiegand and English musician Bella Hardy.

🔸News from our members: Project Jugendfolkorchester, in the process of founding, Our member Jo Freya is the New Artistic Director of the National Youth Folk Ensemble, The 15th Scandimoot will take place from 28th April to 1st of May; and EXIB Música's open call for artists. 🔸Our next featured member is Hangvető. 🔸Our next featured artist is the Czeck singer, violinist and composer Iva Bittová. ✍️ 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.


News from EFN

European Folk Day* By the editors We already announced the first major celebration of the traditional arts of Europe's citizens: the European Folk Day - 23 September 2023, generously funded as a pilot project by MusicAIRE, a programme funded by the European Union. EFN's Folk Day project team are now working as fast as possible to encourage and facilitate the participation of any person or organisation, whether a member of the EFN or not, in a live presentation or in an online format. We will soon announce a new dedicated website and issue a participation kit and instructions about how to be part of this pan-European folk event - in any way you like! In the monthly newsletter and in some other specific emails we will continue to publish news for all subscribers. But, if you think you would like to participate in the European Folk Day, please sign up to the news for participants where we will send concrete and timely information about all aspects of participation. SIGN UP HERE.

* Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union and therefore the European Union cannot be held responsible for them.



🔸English traditional artist Bella Hardy is the first of three new members of EFN. About herself she says:

“I'm a singer, fiddle player, and composer. I perform, and release records on my own label (Noe Records). I teach choirs and other workshops, and work as a management and funding consultant for learning and heritage projects through Dark Peak Arts. Previously Head of Learning at Band on the Wall.”

And what are the things that Bella can bring to EFN membership?

“My specialisms,” she says,“ are British traditional song, and vocal health and group singing. I have a good knowledge of arts funding in England, and arts education structures in England’s schools’ system. As a performer, I have experienced different showcasing & conferences in Europe, the US, and Australia, and I can bring insight into how they differ from an artist perspective.”

And what can EFN bring her?

“As a member,” she says “I look forward to the support gained through being part of a network, as I believe it can help individuals working alone to feel connected and less isolated.”

Two other members have joined us recently. We are delighted to welcome:

🔸Amate Galli vzw, from Belgium, who tell us:

"Our organisation is a small and private organisation; we try to give artists a place on the stage they are worth it. Musicians are from the folk, jazz, blues scene. Besides this we organise our own music school where you can study piano, guitar, bass guitar, flute, recorder, trumpet, singing, violin and nyckelharpa. All lessons are individual and on the tempo of the student. 8 teachers are involved in this project."

And their reasons for joining EFN?

"We can give artists an extra performance beside their main performance when they are on tour. We can not offer the big budgets but just an extra performance (playing for the hat) and food/sleeping. We can exchange artists with other organisations , far enough from us. Benefits for us could be exchanging artists or organise a workshop for our students when an artist is in the area." Check their website here

🔸From Germany, Gunnar Wiegand gets straight to the point:

"I am a folksinger collecting and writing songs, doing translations into the German language of folksongs in the English language, playing concerts and sessions."

Gunnar's reasons for becoming a member of EFN are equally straightforward: "Networking, struggling together to make folk bigger, organizing concerts." His website says more:'s Third Annual Conference 2022

For many members of EFN one of the highlights of 2022 was the annual EFN conference in Manresa, Catalonia. Full of ideas and discussions , the conference focussed on subjects of importance for future EFN planning, including enthusiastic sessions on possibilities for the European Folk Day. Read a full account of the conference HERE.


News from EFN members


By Gudrun Walther

"Profolk e.V. (Germany) is currently in the process of founding a national youth project called „Jugendfolkorchester“ (Youth Folk Orchestra), and I’m to be its musical director.

Teenagers and young adults (age 12-23) will be able to apply, and 40 members will be selected and taught in two ensembles (12-18 and 18-23) as well as unite as one big orchestra.

Rehearsal will take place in the week leading up to Rudolstadt Festival 2024 (!!) which has Germany as their theme country in 2024.

The music will be traditional music from manuscripts, archives and song collections.

The Youth Folk Orchestra is to be an ongoing project, with members leaving the ensemble when they are over 23, and new members coming in every year.

The performance at Rudolstadt Festival is also set to be a fixed annual date for the ensemble.

In the future, collaborational projects with other European youth ensembles are very much what we aspire to do, including rehearsal weeks, exchange visits at festivals etc.

We are currently in the process of talking to possible funding partners to secure the necessary financial means."


By Peter Craik

"The English Folk Dance and Song Society have appointed the multi-instrumentalist and singer Jo Freya (who is herself an EFN member) as Artistic Director National Youth Folk Ensemble.

Jo will lead the Ensemble from October 2023, succeeding Sam Partridge (2019–23) and Sam Sweeney (2016–19). The Ensemble is now recruiting for its 2023/24 cohort, and is presenting free Open Days in Exeter, Leeds and London in May/June.

For much more about the Ensemble, including videos and audio, see its website."


By Philip Keen

Scandimoot - 28th April to 1st May - Clapham & Settle, North Yorkshire

Now in its 15th year, Scandimoot invites outstanding musicians and dancers from Scandinavia to teach and perform.

This year features:

  • Olof Kennemark & Pers Alexander Olsson: two young fiddlers with a firm anchoring in the Swedish tradition.

  • Ami & Håkon Dregelid: Ami is an important role-model in the Scandinavian folk dance scene, both as a dancer and teacher. Håkon is a dancer from Voss in Norway.

  • Fredrik Lundberg: a fiddle player from Värmland who has been active within the Swedish traditional music scene since the late 1980s, running courses with Ami for most of that time.

  • Also teaching this April are John-Francis Goodacre, Andrew Parr & Kersti Ståbi.

More info, on the website.


By Ana Sors

The call is open to artists from Latin America, Spain and Portugal. The expo is open to all music industry representatives from around the world to take part. The programme includes showcases, conferences and discussion panels in the beautiful coastal city of Setúbal.

Artistic proposals can be submitted by completing the form on the website here.

Application deadline: 27 March

Location: Setúbal, Portugal

Dates: 19-21 October 2023


Featured Member: Hangvető

According to the information they provided when they became a member, what their organization does is this: "We promote world music artists from Hungary and beyond as well as producing festivals. Hangvető proudly hosted WOMEX in Budapest.

Activities include ECoC production, consulting as well as promoting festival exchange and training programs such as the MOST in the Balkans.

Radio productions, copyright management and publishing feature in our core activities."

And about what they can give to the European Folk Network as a member and what you they thought hat would be the benefits of membership, they explained that: "As major player in the region we can offer our networking capacities, as well as our direct channel to traditional artists. With our MOST program we'll extend our Central European network towards the Balkans."

Learn more on 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


Featured Artist: Iva Bittová By Araceli Tzigane

In 1997 I had no idea what music was being made in the Czech Republic. One day a woman's voice came on the radio making amazing and hypnotic sounds. After a while, a violin came on delicately. Then, a light percussion. The piece conveyed a lot of different sensations throughout its 14 minutes. The piece was Ne Nehledej and you can listen to it below. And she was Iva Bittová and I never forgot her.

According to her official website, Iva Bittová was born in 1958 in Bruntál in northern Moravia. Both of her parents were musicians. Her father Koloman Bitto was a musician strongly influenced by the land of his birth – southern Slovakia. He had a major impact on his three daughters, Iva, Ida and Regina, who are professional drama and music performers. Iva has an album called What my father sang to me, signed with the Turkish cellist and improviser Anıl Eraslan, which you can listen to here.

Iva studied violin and ballet in Brno. From very young, she acted in theatre, radio, TV and movies. After her father’s early death, she decided to follow in his professional footsteps as an instrumentalist and by composing her own music. As they say, the rest is history. You have many more details on the aforementioned website.

This is a live version of the first piece I heard by Iva Bittová, Ne Nehledej, that means "stop searching". It was originally included on the album called like her, released in 1997 by Nonesuch. This is the recording from the album.

Iva Bittová is an artist who composes and draws from contemporary creation to a large extent, while at the same time sounding deeply imbued with the music of her homeland. According to the website of Bang on a Can, "You can feel Iva Bittová’s folk roots in everything she does – in her composing, her violin playing, her singing, her improvising. And yet, everything she does sounds new – the traditional is the foundation that supports her relentless, swirling, joyful innovation."

In "Duetting with Bartók and others. Iva Bittová's post-revival 'personal folk music'", included in "Remixing Music Studies. Essays in Honour of Nicholas Cook", Julie Brown makes a deeper analysis. It is available in

In 1997 Iva Bittová released the album Bílé Inferno, together with Vladimír Václavek, Czech bass player, guitarist, vocalist and composer. It includes the song "Zelený Víneček", that is my favourite of the works by Bittová. It is a traditional piece arranged by her. In the album, the pianist is her sister Ida Keralová.

The portrait at the top of the profile is from Bittová's website.

I want to thank Petr Dorůžka for the support with a data.


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, 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

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


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.

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