Our Birthday Editions

1 - World Ballads

1 - World Ballads

Ballads are a peaceful oasis in today’s noisy world. We are plagued by the sound of all kinds of engines. On television we hear excited dialogues conducted in a limited vocabulary, advertisements in a loud, sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle command tone; on the radio the same poorly-balanced old hits or else a constant background noise whose absence we only begin to really notice on a peaceful island or in the desert.
Ballads are an invitation to dream, smooch, doze, fantasize, reflect, to drift through landscapes, to indulge ideas and sometimes to enjoy a small festival of idleness. Ballads can deeply move us, can stir that sensual goose-pimple feeling. Music and emotion: a delicate topic. None of the explanations as to why music moves us, more or less, is really apposite. Much research has meantime been done on the subject – be that neuro-physiological studies linking musical-syntactical processes with emotional appraisals in the orbitofrontal cortex, or analyses from a biochemical, psychobiological, behaviourist viewpoint. The findings are not very satisfying. Little wonder! It’s impossible to reduce this complex phenomenon to individual quantifiable variables. Let us keep this wonderful secret! In an essay on “Music and Emotion” (in Bruhn, Kopiez, Lehmann Musikpsychologie, Reinbek 2008) in which he evaluates the different research approaches and findings, Gunter Kreutz comes to the following astonishing conclusion: “It is to be assumed that music has its greatest impact when it succeeds in getting people to gather in peaceful communities and behave considerately towards one another.”

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2 - Fiesta Balkanica

2 - Fiesta Balkanica

Festivals and concerts in the Balkans have a dynamic of their very own: musicians and audience quickly interact and mutually rouse each others spirits. Sometimes this can result in wild ecstasy. The players at this party are: the pan-Balkan group Sandy Lopicic Orkestar with their three female lead singers, the “Magic Voices” from Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo; the Gypsy Queen Esma Redzepova; the intense Clejani Express from Romania; the Istanbul Oriental Ensemble in a new line-up; in “Hot Water Festival” more than 50 Roma musicians who are otherwise in competition with each other at the legendary Guca Festival, get together to play and in doing so perform frenzied soli. Balkan Fever! And even though the one or other symptom may disappear, this immune-resistant virus is constantly spreading.

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3 - Fiesta Tropical

3 - Fiesta Tropical

From Havana to Rio de Janeiro: “It’s party time.” Anyone who has travelled around the Caribbean Islands or Latin America is aware of the importance of music in the everyday life of the people there. Music resounds from all around, irrespective of the place or the time of day. It is an essential part of life, indeed an elixir of life. At this atmospheric party we are entertained by: salsa and son montuno from Cuba, Caribbean cocktails by Izaline Calister and her band from Curacao, hot soca from Trinidad and Tobago, champeta criolla from the Caribbean coast of Columbia, samba-reggae by Luizinho Viera, Banda Mel and Jimmy Cliff, warm samba sounds by Paulinho da Viola from Rio de Janeiro, and tangos by Sexteto Mayor from Buenos Aires.

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