These are the main topics:
· July is the month with more festivals in many countries in Europe. I am sending this newsletter from Ostrava, where I am attending the Czech Music Crossroads, before leaving to Germany for Horizonte Festival. Nice events list, below.
· So, planes and airlines are once more a day-to-day issue… I have to thank Juan Antonio Vázquez (whose radio show The Spice Road is featured below) for the scale model. It will be sufficient until I save enough for my red Bombardier Challenger…
· My dear Sherezade will stay in the office until August, when she will travel to Calabria to eat much pizza and pasta to gather strenghts 💪 for Autumn challenges: we have showcases at the Fira Mediterrània de Manresa (Vigüela + the Valencian artists Apa and Eduard Navarro) and WOMEX (Monsieur Doumani). Yeah!
· On the other hand, a festival that takes place, not in Summer, but at the end of Winter, is the Mediterranean Music Festival in Switzerland, whose director, Alkis Zopoglou, is in this issue the interviewed in the series about challenges for festivals. By the way, he is a member of the Rodopi Ensemble, that will have their Spanish debut on day 18th of July in Palma de Mallorca! Interview, below.
· A brief mention to Mapamundi concert’s calendar is included. We have one more debut in Spain, by a Polish band. Guess which? Check below!
· And, in the previous issue you already met Carlos Gomes, from Transiberia Productions. We announced recently the concerts programme Transiberia Mundi, that we have developed together, with the fundings of the city council of Evora. Learn more about Carlos and about our Transiberia Mundi, here below.
· Mini interview with festival manager: Alkis Zopoglou from Mediterranean Music Festival (Switzerland)
· In depth: Carlos Gomes & inspirations for Transiberia Mundi
· Find me at…
· Mapamundi Música concerts calendar
· Mapamundi Música introduces: La Ruta de las Especias (The Spice Road) by Juan Antonio Vázquez
**** Do you have a world music festival and you want to be included in our mini interviews? Contact us. ****
***CURRENT AND FUTURE CHALLENGES FOR FESTIVALS
If you haven´t read them, you can find the previous interviews clicking on the names: Michal Schmidt (Folk Holidays, CZ) – Jun-Lin Yeoh (Rainforest WMF, MY) – Luis Lles (Pirineos Sur, ES) – Amitava Bhattacharya (Sur Jahan, IN) – Nicolas Ribalet (Sukiyaki Meets the World, JP) – Sergio Zaera (Poborina Folk, ES) – Per Idar Almås (Førdefestivalen, NO) – Bożena Szota (EthnoPort, PL) – Ken Day (Urkult, SE) – Mads Olesen (5 Continents, CH) – Karolina Waszczuk & Bartek Drozd (Jagiellonian Fair, PL)
MINI INTERVIEW WITH ALKIS ZOPOGLOU FROM MEDITERRANEAN MUSIC FESTIVAL
There are several connections between Alkis and Mapamundi Música and it is a pleasure to collaborate with him in all senses. I first knew about him thanks to Antonis Antoniou, from Monsieur Doumani, who is a generous links creator, and introduced my band Vigüela to Alkis for the festival. They played in 2017. In 2018 it was the Portuguese quartet À Porta do Cante which was included in Alkis’s program. In 2019 it was the premiere of Rebetiko Meet Fado and Cante Alentejano.
The Mediterranean Music Festival in Switzerland takes place in February and/or March in Zurich and Bern. Its name is quite explicit about the topic. The focus is acoustic music, the performances are mostly in little venues, with the public very close to the artists, and with no amplification. Check the details at the website.
In the meantime, Alkis introduced me his band in which he plays kanun, Rodopi Ensemble, traditional acoustic music from the Greek Thrace, of which I felt in love inmediatly and started to work together about it and about the Greek-Portuguese project Rebetiko meets Fado & Cante Alentejano.
Rodopi will play for the first time in Spain next July 18th in Cançons de la Mediterrània, in Palma de Mallorca. They will also play at the Jagiellonian Fair, of which we talked in the previous issue, on 17th August.
So, grateful to Alkis for the kind answers. Without further ado, here you are the interview:
MM – What do you search in an artist when you create the programme?
AZ: The most crucial issue in my opinion is to find a special and innovative musical idiom in each music ensemble, which will also be interesting for the audience of my festival.
Each music ensemble should have a clear cultural stance as a Mediterranean country and those next to them but at the same time it should present a spectacle in an authentic and honest way. And I’d like to emphasize this last issue particularly, as on the altar of spectacle and competition in the music market, many misinterpretations and exaggerations are being made, firstly from the artists themselves, while at the same time there is the pressure from the organizers to overcome the spectacle presented at their festivals.
MM – Which are the global objectives of your festival?
AZ: My first and most important concern is to highlight the musical idioms of the traditions of the population around the Mediterranean, which are truly many and very beautiful each, with their similarities and differences.
Another important point, as I am a musician myself and know very well how difficult it is for an artist to enter a market, is to give space to very special requests made especially from young artists.
Furthermore, especially at the Mediterranean Music Festival, which takes place in small venues during the winter, I aim to keep the sound authentic, to reach the audience’s ears as it is produced by the human voice or the musical instruments. That’s why I avoid making use of sound amplifiers during the concerts and this has been appreciated a lot by our audience so far. It’s like having a group of musicians in your home.
MM – What are the most complicated or difficult issues to deal with in your festival?
AZ: Unfortunately the most difficult issues initially always have to do with the funding of such musical events. There is a great difficulty in finding the financial resources but in any case I believe that the Swiss authorities are still supportive towards culture and whatever notable appears.
On a second level I believe that a great problem is the possibility, especially of small projects, to attract a sufficient number of listeners in order to have both happy, artists and organizers. It is a global phenomenon that the world is directed more and more by the brands, slowly losing its sense of personal judgement but also the wish to discover new things. We’re getting more and more used to find everything ready and this is stultifying us without even being conscious of it. I hope once we’ll wake up.
MM – Which are currently the main challenges for this kind of cultural proposals like yours?AZ: Along with the issue I stressed before it’s a great challenge for me personally, using the festival as a vehicle, to awaken people who love music and make them get out of their homes, where they have almost everything available on a screen, getting them to know the great feelings that live music provides you and let them live in a world of interaction, that arises from the exchange of feelings between artists and audience.
MM – In one sentence, summarise the reason/s to go to your festival.
AZ: The “square”, which includes the creators in their real dimension together with the audience, ready to evaluate participating live in this process, is the basic principle of our culture, as it was born and started in Ancient Greece and travelled to the ancient theatres of all Mediterranean countries, which are still preserved up to this day and continue hosting similar activities after thousands of years.
As a Greek, I think I am totally involved with this cultural dimension of the phenomenon.
Our festival is a small cradle of culture and forms in its own way and by the forces it has, a healthy cultural view among the people visiting it. We are very glad that our audience speaks about the festival with enthusiasm and that’s why they‘ve all become warm supporters of it. There is certainly room for even more people who are always welcome.
- Alkis portrait from his Facebook pictures
- Stok theatre, in Zurich, one of the usual venues for the Mediterranean Music Festival. From the festival’s Facebook page.
- Alkis dancing at the premiere of Rebetiko Meets Fado & Cante Alentejano, took from his website
IN DEPTH: CARLOS GOMES AND INSPIRATIONS FOR TRANSIBERIA MUNDI
In June’s issue we presented Carlos Gomes, the founder and director of Transiberia Productions, cultural management company, settled in Lisbon. And the previous week I sent the mailing about Transiberia Mundi, the concert programme we have developed together and that will take place in the city of Evora from 1st to 4th of August, funded by the city council and part of the program Artes À Rua.
Carlos is an entrepreneur with a strong, inspiring and thrilling vision that I want to share with the community of world music. In the picture it is linked a little video (in Portuguese) with his statements about Transiberia Mundi, made after the presentation in Lisbon last 4th of July. And here below you’ll find his answers to this special questionnaire.
CG: Transiberia is a cultural production company, created in 2015, focused on Ibero-American music and market, on a non-exclusive basis and open to other music and cultures of the world. Its activity includes the conception and production of shows, the organization, production and programming of festivals, music events and thematic parties, the cultural programming for other institutions, both public and privates, and the booking and management of artists.
MM: Which were your objectives when you created it?
CG: Transiberia’s mission was always and continues to be to strengthen the relationship between Ibero-American producers, agents and artists, starting with our neighbouring country, Spain, and pursuing to enlarge its field of action to the countries from South and Central America, from a cosmovision that is Portuguese, inclusive, open to the other and to the world.
CG: My vision and what I am most interested in working is based mainly on the awesome book by the Portuguese writer José Saramago, named “The Stone Raft”, that captures the human nature, especially the nature of the people from Iberian Peninsula after an extraordinary event: the segregation of the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe and its Atlantic drift. I understood it as a metaphor of the liberation of the Iberian Peninsula from that kind of political constraint that is to be considered as peripheral territory from the center of Europe. I think that the nature of Iberian people is close to the South American nature and I also believe that, if we overcome that hierarchical political organization of the world, especially of the navel-gazing of Europe, the relationship between cultures, mediated by the freshness of the Atlantic, it will be one of the centers of the future world.
MM: What is your personal relationship with music?
CG: My personal relationship with music comes mainly from an inner vibe and from the dance. For me good music doesn’t have to make me dance but must be able to make me vibrate. If it makes me dance, even better. I think that the union of music and dance is one of the happiest expressions of human beings. I think that a human being who likes to dance and can´t hold the vibration of music in his/her body is probably a good human being.
MM: Tell us one or two of Transiberia’s main achievements.
CG: Two of the main achievements by Transiberia have been so far the creation of the Festival Emergente in Lisbon and the program Transiberia Mundi, in collaboration with Mapamundi Música.
The first one, because it emerged from a raising awareness of the responsibility of supporting and contributing to an unbelievable moment of creativity, production and expression that the Portuguese music is currently experiencing.
In the second case means the realization of an old ambition of having a Transiberian and transnational partnership that was born as Iberian and that would lead the way to something with an undefined scope, enhancing the name of the company and undertaking Samarago’s vision.
I’d like also to mention that it is of much and special joy to co-produce with EGEAC (cultural institution of Lisbon’s city council) the program “Dançar a Cidade” in Lisbon (to dance the city) which calls its citizens to dance several dance styles of the world in the public spaces. I love to dance and to provide the others the joy of dance is extremely rewarding.
MM: Which is your next dream to be fullfilled?
CG: I can´t unveil my next dream yet. But I can say that it will be a transnational project out of Lisbon.
Thank you, obrigado, gracias, Carlos.
FIND ME AT…
- Ostrava (Czech Republic). Czech Music Crossroads + Colors of Ostrava. 15th to 18th July. As speaker. I will be part of the listening and comment session and of the panel Touring Guide for Germany, Austria, Spain and Israel.
- Koblenz (Germany). Horizonte Festival. 19th July. What a pleasure to attend this festival for which I will travel with Vigüela! Also other of our collaborators, Monsieur Doumani and Don Kipper, are programmed in this festival. Yeah!
- Bled (Slovenia). Okarina Festival, 23th July. My first time at the country and it will be also with Vigüela.
- Bielsk Podlaski & Białystok (Poland). Festival Podlaska Oktawa Kultur. 27th and 28 July, also with Vigüela and thanks to the agency Wodzirej PL.
- Evora (Portugal). 1st to 4th August. Series Transiberia Mundi, programmed by Transiberia Productions and Mapamundi Música, and part of the program Artes À Rua by the municipality of the city. I will be honoured by making a conference too.
- Lublin (Poland… my second country). 16th August, Warsaw, 17th August Lublin for theJagellonian Fair. How could I miss the concert by Rodopi Ensemble and the night of dance directed by Janusz Prusinowski Kompania in the same city the same day. Top masters of their traditional music! 😍
- Spain, but I must include it as it will be the premiere of Wowakin Trio in Spain 🙂 23rd August.
- Samarkand (Uzbekistan). Last week of August. Yes, I wanna cry of joy. More, soon.
- Perth (Scotland). 16th – 20th September. The Visit (event produced for Showcase Scothland Expo by Active Events). Really looking forward it!
MAPAMUNDI MÚSICA INTRODUCES… THE SPICE ROAD, AT RADIO CLÁSICA, SPAIN’S NATIONAL RADIO. BY JUAN ANTONIO VÁZQUEZ
For the second year, this Summer Juan Antonio Vázquez is doing the radio show La Ruta de las Especias (the spice road) for Radio Clásica, of Spain’s National Radio. As the name indicates, it is focused on music of Orient, or, as he likes to say, “the many Orients”. Click the picture to listen 2018’s editions and also the new ones, in August and September:
As you probably know, with Juan Antonio I make the radio show Mundofonías, our own production, broadcasted in 17 countries in 46 radio stations.
MAPAMUNDI MÚSICA CONCERT CALENDAR
Very brieftly: our concerts calendar is here at our website and also at our Facebook events. And, apart of Rodopi Ensemble’s, I want to highlight the debut of a Polish band in Spain. It will be on 23rd of August and they are WoWaKin Trio, known for many of our community as they performed in WOMEX Katowice 2017.
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WHO WE ARE AND SISTER PROJECTS
We also offer you our Mundofonías radio show, probably the leader about world music in Spanish language (on 46 stations in 17 countries). We produce the Transglobal World Music Chart with our partner Ángel Romero from WorldMusicCentral.com. And we lead also the Asociación para la Difusión de los Estilos.