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2014.05.30 14:14

Annual folklore festival Skamba skamba kankliai kicks off

Linas Jegelevičius | Lithuania Tribune2014.05.30 14:14

International folklore festival Skamba skamba kankliai this year organized for the 42nd time is already inviting all folklore lovers to venues scattered through Vilnius Old town courtyard, local concerts halls while some of the events will take place outside the capital. The festival, organizer, Vilnius Ethnic Culture Center (VECC), promises the onlookers a merry time in a motley crowd that the festival is known for.

 International folklore festival Skamba skamba kankliai this year organized for the 42nd time is already inviting all folklore lovers to venues scattered through Vilnius Old town courtyard, local concerts halls while some of the events will take place outside the capital. The festival, organizer, Vilnius Ethnic Culture Center (VECC), promises the onlookers a merry time in a motley crowd that the festival is known for.

“As many as 60 foreign performers from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Italy, Russia, and Belarus, among others, have already arrived, or are on the way to the festival. When it comes to Lithuanian folklore bands, there are numbers of them. We estimate we will have some 40-50 local folklore bands in the programme and half of them will be talented children’s groups,”  Marija Liugienė, VECC’s senior event coordinator, told the Lithuania Tribune.

The festival dates back to 1973, when Skamba skamba kankliai took place as a  folk music concert at the Vilnius Sports Palace for the first time.

The ball was picked by new ethnographic ensembles in following years. But, interestingly, throughout its long history the festival has always begun in May and lasted through early June.

Festival organizers would try each year to absorb and “conquer” new spaces, abandoned areas throughout Vilnius that came alive when re-purposed for the festival.

This year’s festival opened 29 June in courtyard of the Lithuanian Theater, Music and Cinema Museum (Vilnius str. 41).

Vilnius folklore ensembles E. Vyčinas, VISI, “Radasta”, “Labingis”, “Ratilio”, “Reketukas,” and foreign guests from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Poland and Russia filled the onlookers’ hearts and souls with the ethnographic melodies. The festivities later were continued in Traku Vokė Manor House and extended well into the chilly night on Tauras Mountain.

Among the spectators there were many foreign tourists, swaying to the rhythms of the performers.

“Indeed, many tourists who walk into our bureau often want to know if there are any folklore festivals going on so they can attend and get a taste of local culture,” Salomėja Chomičenkienė , chief project manager at Vilnius Tourism Information Center, told Lithuania Tribune.

Today, the festival will hit spread to other Vilnius venues, namely Daukantas Square, where the Office of the Lithuanian President is located.

In Daukantas square, the festival started at noon today with a traditional folk and crafts fair. The festival’s programme of events will be available on a large LED video screen later today.

At 4: 00 PM, Vilnius city ethnical minority folk groups will perform in Daukantas Square.

At 6:00 PM, foreign bands will take the stage.  Performers include “East Band” (Iran), “Qhadim Sharq”(Azerbaijan),  “The State Song and Dance Ensemble Kutaisi” (Georgia), “Sobor” (Russia),  “Majeranki”  (Poland), “Taler” (Belarus), and “Cantà Promàn” (Italy).

At 8:00 PM, a concert of sutartine songs will begin in the Bernardinai Garden.

At 9:00 PM, Lithuanian performers of Sutartines and “Canta Proman” (Italy) singers will perform in the National Museum square (Arsenalo str. 3).

Other venues of the festival will include St. Catherine’s Church (Vilniaus str. 30) , Courtyard of the Lithuanian Theater, Music and Cinema Museum (Vilniaus str. 41), and the picturesque Trakai.

“It is very hard to single out anything in such an overwhelming and varied programme. I’d suggest that everyone interested in folklore culture visit our website and choose what appeals to them the most,” Liugienė advised.

Visit the VECC’s Skamba skamba kankliai page here: http://www.etno.lt/index.php/en/skamba-skamba-kankliai/417-xlitarptautinisfolklorofestivalisskambaskambakankliai

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