I am Araceli Tzigane. Welcome to Mapamundi Música‘s June’s monthly newsletter.
Greetings from Alcorcón, the city where we are settled, 12 kms far from Madrid on the way to our beloved Portugal. I will stay here for two weeks, preparing a July with travels to five European countries…
This last weekend I was at the festival 5 Continents, in Martigny, Switzerland. I will review it brieftly at Mundofonías soon but I must say now what a great work of the festival’s team and what a deep vision of how a festival can be a tool for developement of the communities in many senses. And, for me, it has been super inspiring and a real strengthener for my challenges to come.
If you have any suggestion of contents for the next editions, let us know. Thanks for your attention.
Summary: Mini interview with festival managers: Karolina Waszczuk and Bartek Drozd from Jagiellonian Fair (Poland) – Mapamundi introduces… Transiberia Productions – Find me in… – It worths its own section: WOMEX‘s first confirmations
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CURRENT AND FUTURE CHALLENGES FOR FESTIVALS
MINI INTERVIEW WITH KAROLINA WASZCZUK AND BARTEK DROZD FROM JARMARK JAGIELLOŃSKI (JAGIELLONIAN FAIR)
The approach to traditional art nowadays is very delicate. Quite often, we listen artists saying that they “evolve” the tradition and many times there is a big lack of deep knowledge and understanding of that tradition that they claim to evolve. And the result is a watered-down product that upholds itself by means of romantic ideas of a lost time of rural innocence… instead of by means of the music and its own aesthetic quality.
Perhaps, the situation in Spain is worse than in other countries, as it seems to be a clear disdain for whatever music comes from the rural world… unless if it is “modernizated” and supposedly adapted for a contemporary audience that would reject the traditional music by itself. My experience says another thing. The public is not interested in those halfway products supported by a self-embarrassment rhetoric.
That’s why this interview makes me very happy. The Jagiellonian Fair takes place in Lublin, at the East of Poland, from 16th to 18th of August in this edition, and its young team has some clear ideas and wise vision about how to create a frame for tradition in a recreational urban contemporary environment. Probably that’s why they gather thousands of people with a concerts program based mainly in quite not commercial shows. Check more at the website.
Karolina Waszczuk is the director of the festival and Bartek Drodz is the programme manager. These are their answers to the mini-interview. Thank you!
MM – What do you search in an artist when you create the programme?
Karolina Waszczuk: An important aspect that we take into account when selecting groups or artists to invite is awareness of tradition and traditional music. We look at how they are represented and how their elements are used and processed. We value artists who research traditional culture on their own and know cultural contexts. That makes their messages stronger and clearer.
Bartek Drozd: One of the key values is the sense of community, place, music and especially people themselves. The programme is created in a way that makes it possible for several worlds to meet: the world of the authentic, roots village culture, the one that reconstructs traditional music and the one that uses and performs it on a conceptual level. There is a kind of mutual respect that allows us to look at traditional music cultures in various ways, while at the same time, it brings out their never-changing values, uniqueness and improvisations. I think that respect for one’s own culture is a key element, and at the same time, it is the bridge between these worlds.
MM – Which are the global objectives of your festival?
Karolina Waszczuk: We show traditional cultures of many, often distant, regions and yet we find shared elements, patterns, symbols, techniques. We want to show that culture has no borders; borders are created by the system. Language is not a barrier but a means of communication. We encourage learning about traditional culture through different areas, we pay attention to its continuation, its current state, and the inspirations it activates.
Bartek Drozd: One of the most incredible qualities of traditional culture is its universality and timelessness. Many elements repeat, often on several levels and they become the driving force behind new activities. In Poland we continue to see the incredible colours of traditional culture and how they interweave. An unattractive, old, dusted thing gains new value. The element of surprise we try to sneak into our activities allows us to look at traditional music in a completely different, yet still the same, context.
MM – What are the most complicated or difficult issues to deal with in your festival?
Karolina Waszczuk: Like many festivals, we struggle most of all with financial issues. We are eager to do many things, but the budget limits us. The festival is free, none of the events are ticketed. The Fair, where we meet folk artists selling and presenting their crafts is free of charge for them. We cover the costs of their stalls and accommodation. We do not treat the artists as merchants; we invite real artists who form unique niches. They often spend many long days on their creations – making them requires knowledge, skill and experience. We want to show that what the artists invited to the Fair offer is authentic, genuine and one of a kind.
Another frequent problem is the lack of understanding on the part of those who are not invited to the Fair. As Organisers, we select artists whose work is of interest to us, we do not invite commercial merchants, and not every amateur artist is guaranteed a place at the Festival. We have a limited number of places and a restricted space so we cannot always invite all the artists from previous years, especially when we want to make room for new artists and present new regions. The choices we make are tough.
Bartek Drozd: Another challenge is also, in a sense, educating the attendees. Many of them approach tradition superficially, be it music or art. We encounter a lot of situations where we try to explain why some proposals related to music or art and crafts cannot appear at our festival. It is a difficult task but yields good results, as we can observe from the 13 years of the Jagiellonian Fair.
MM – Which are currently the main challenges for this kind of cultural proposals like yours?
Karolina Waszczuk: With a festival as big as this one, there are a great many challenges. One of them is how to show traditional culture in a setting that is not its natural habitat. How to show the character, appearance and function of respective aspects of cultural phenomena in the most authentic way, but one that’s adjusted to the space and the setting of the festival. In Poland, traditional culture is still considered inferior as there is a lack of education in this area.
Bartek Drozd: It’s a challenge, but at the same time our mission and an important task. We pay attention to quality, detail, elements. We observe a tendency to treat traditional culture superficially. And yet, it is only in the depth of traditions, year by year, step by step that we get to know its real value and meaning. And not just us, I hope, but also our audiences. And I think this is a great challenge that requires responsibility and we are aware of it.
MM – In one sentence, summarise the reason/s to go to your festival.
It is the best interdisciplinary festival in Poland where you can discover traditional music in very different ways and get to know, through workshops and meetings, traditional culture, music, children’s games, authentic crafts and folk art of about 300 artists from Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania or Slovakia.
- Portraits of the interviewed at the Warsztaty Kultury website.
- Maciej Żurek, by K.Bodys, from the fair’s website.
- Kapela Braci Pańczaków feat. Adam Tarnowski, by M. Nawrocka, from the fair’s website.
- Ania Broda, by Renata Orlińska, from the fair’s website.
Carlos Gomes, who you see at this amazing picture by Ivo Canelas, is the founder and director of Transiberia Productions, cultural management company, settled in Lisbon.
Our careers share the fact that in a certain point of time, we changed our professional path: me, from psychology and human resources management, he, from architecture. Both of us, caught in a dream where music would be the pillar of our lifes. And the dream is coming true.
Maybe it is was just a matter of time that we found each other and started to collaborate. In the next issue of this newsletter you’ll know more but, in the meantime, check Transiberia’s Facebook and like it to know more!
FIND ME IN…
- Førde (Norway). Førdefestivalen‘s 30th edition!!! Happy birthday! I am so blessed for attending this edition, as media in this occasion.
- Ostrava (Czech Republic). Czech Music Crossroads + Colors of Ostrava. 15th to 18th July. As speaker.
- 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.
- 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, part of the programArtes À Rua by the municipality of the city.
WOMEX RELEASES THE FIRST LIST OF SHOWCASES
Their application periods ended weeks or months ago and while we wait for the complete line up of Visa for Music, Fira Mediterrània de Manresa and many other useful dates, with more news announced for next Thursday, these are the already public confirmations for WOMEX. Congratulations to the selected ones and the jury! See you there, I have already booked Mapamundi Música’s table at Sounds from Spain umbrella booth!
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.