A journey according to different definitions describes a change of place of residence. To travel is to cover a given distance, trying to get to the final place, usually the far one. Movement has always been with the people, just the means of transport and the aim change. Travelling has become very common nowadays. One can choose a short trip or try a great expedition. It is said that everyone can travel today. Some would say that this statement is true, when a travel is thought to be a movement in order to find a place to live, escaping from persecution or war. Travelling is also associated with physical sphere, with space, time, whereas it may have a symbolic dimension.
I have written something about another dimension of travelling here Blues Express. This time I would like to write about trips that are closer to us and further at the same time. Closer, because they take place in the city where I live and remote because it is not possible to draw their borders. One of the most beautiful things and forms going beyond the imagination and restrictions is music!
There is a special time of the year for me, when I travel far away thanks to music. What I want to describe it the music festival Ethno Port, that takes place in Poznań since 2008. There are a lot of things to say about it because it is a very specific event. This year 10th edition took place, the anniversary. So the time was even more important for organisers and also for the audience.
The name of the festival refers to a port, a harbour, as at the beginning, the festival took place at the Warta river banks, and as the organisers explain it might be treated as a route that shows us the way to travel; a port from which we can set off a trip to fascinating music stories.
The river flows, everything changes, also the place has changed where Ethno Port is organised. Since 2013 the event was moved into ZAMEK Culture Centre. The main idea of the festival hasn’t changed though. I would like to write about the travels that became possible for me for last 10 years. I was in the heart of hot and colorful Africa
(Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso), I have visited its faraway islands (Reunion, the Comoros) or the countries of Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia). I met not that cold climate of Norway or Finland. I travelled through Balkans (Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Albania), the Middle East (Iran, Israel, Palestine) to far Asia (India, China, South Korea). I was also ‘behind the great water’, in Brasil, the USA or Colombia. Of course there were also plenty of music trips in Poland, with the groups that I hadn’t known before. One may say: and what sort of travelling is that?! I guess it is not easy to describe, this is something you have to feel on your own. The most amazing thing about these travels is that you don’t cross any physical border, obstacle, barrier. They have never existed, disappeared quickly, as only borders and limitations we have, are those in our minds.
Sounds fulfill our every day, creating incomprehesible cacophony. Not everyone likes music and appreciate it but for sure it evokes some kind of emotions inside us. Music has a great potential that allows to unite because it doesn’t recognise the limits and is an universal language that allows to travel inside our souls. It allows to get to the roots and explore the nature of it. So called ethnic or folk music, has the biggest influence on me. The sounds coming from many instruments of the names that I cannot even repeat, different tone of voices and even various languages don’t disturb to understand the stories sang and played by the musicians.
Specific concerts for Ethno Port are those full of energy and joy but also these that trigger sadness, longing or reverie. And the emotions I’m involved to attract me the most. Every year I wait impatiently for these 3 or 4 days to close my eyes and dive into the world described by the artists. These are not only musicians, they represent much more, their culture, tradition, history, but also the will to learn and change. I have one scene in my mind. During the first edition by the Warta river a band Chemirani’s, created by the father, two sons and a daughter played Persian music. I remember until today the proud smile of the father and cheerful glances between the siblings. These moments repeat, and bands compounded from multi-nation musicians break all the barriers and stereotypes. There aren’t any barriers, fences between the scene and the audience because there is the atmosphere of reconciliation and the artists very often interact with the people. It seems to be the only festival where the bodyguards has nothing to do, at least dance shyly to the Balkan sounds 🙂
I don’t even want to start describing the music bands, as there were more than 120 of various musicians, that it is impossible to choose the favourite ones. Ethno Port is not only concerts and crazy dances on the grass or festival club. This is a chance to meet, talk and discuss the subjects that sometimes we are afraid to talk about. This is a chance to learn and exchange the experiences on various workshops for adults and young participants. Also, this is the time of support for those in need, time to educate and bring attention to crucial facts. Rthno Port is time of solidarity.
It has been a week since 10th edition of the festival took place. As every year it was the hardest week. My music taste is quite wide and I don’t see the problem in changing in one night the parties between metal, electronic and ethno music. But Ethno Port brings me to that specific state from which it is difficult to carry on. So many instruments, voices, songs and emotions coming from the scene, the people met, all these go through myself and stays in my mind for a long time. As every long, far and deep travel evokes emotions and unforgettable memories. I hope that everyone would have a chance to travel in this way.
I have never took photos at this festival because I wanted to be involved in the music the most, and at least there are people who can catch the moments and emotions better that I do. All the pictures in this post were taken by Bartek Muracki. By his courtesy I could use the photos in here. More of the beautiful pictures of this and last year editions of Ethno Port you can find at his website.