The jubilee, 25th Ring Ring, Belgrade’s festival of new, avant-garde, experimental, improv and free jazz music, ended on December 3, 2021 in Studio 6 of Radio Belgrade. The Berlin trio Der lange Schatten performed that evening.

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Der Lange Schatten at the Ring Ring Festival, Studio 6 of Radio Belgrade, 2021 (photo: Ivana Čutura)

So much delay and uncertainty preceded the jubilee Ring Ring, which has made us fulfilled, proud, delighted for 25 years … But we finally welcomed the beginning of the festival, and then those ten festival days flew by like a moment …

A lot of things crossed – this year’s edition of the festival started where the Ring Ring began in 1996 – at Jewish 16, formerly REX, now the Oneg Shabbat Jewish Cultural Center, recently opened. The feeling is still magical, the space radiates, the audience and the musicians were thrilled with the opportunity to perform there again.

Members of the domestic Ensemble Studio6 and the Austrian Szene Instrumental feat. Irina Karamarković had this important task: to conquer the stage, coordinate rehearsals and draw the audience into their music worlds.

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Ensemble Studio6 at the Ring Ring Festival, JKC Oneg Shabbat, 2021 (photo: Ivana Čutura)

The next concert was already at the second concert venue to which the festival is related – Studio 6 of Radio Belgrade. It was the first world premiere this year and the performance of the Dutch-American cellist Francis-Marie Uiti, the Austrian pianist Elizabeth Harnik and our harpist Milana Zaric. In the same building, just on the other side, shortly before the concert, an exhibition of photographs Objectively from the Six of the Ring’s permanent companion was opened, as well as concert events in Studio 6 – the famous, tireless el gvoyos.

The weekend was reserved for a new space – Drugstore, a club with an enviable reputation, seemingly far from the center and certainly new to many regular festival-goers. Albert Marcos replaced Phil Minton at the last minute, whose arrival was postponed to May 2022.

The free improvisation of this Hungarian cellist with violist Silard Mezei was a meeting of old friends, who read and follow each other in a sound journey without sound system. And after them, the Akosh S. Trio used their magic to make us forget the cold. Total jazz!

Laurent Bigo has already performed at the festival, 2016, and this time he brought a new set of sound “toys”, only now they were bottles, cans, balloons, stripes … Fun and excitement for 50 people; he could no longer even fit in the small hall of the club. In the big hall, the hosts, the duo Thark, had their concert premiere. They, as well as the band that closed that evening, were greeted by many more people. And the evening was concluded by Kim Mir and his seven-member band You ǀ Me.

Four guitarists and three drummers perform Mir’s music, in fact two long compositions, which slowly develop, turn and return to silence. Discipline and freedom.

The last evening in the Drugstore club (December 28), with a new pair of concert excitement, was opened by Ana Kravanja and Tijana Stanković. Two women, two voices and two violins improvise, playing and singing in unison, even when moving around the audience in wide circles, far from each other. It was almost time for this to be a completely Slovenian evening, because apart from Ana, and with the exception of Tijana, some of the most important actors of the local impromptu scene performed. This male duo consisted of percussionist Zlatko Kaučič and double bassist Tomaž Grom. Exciting, innovative, different, as it has already become the standard of the festival.

ana kravanja & tijana stanković ring ring

Ana Kravanja & Tijana Stanković at the Ring Ring Festival, Belgrade, Drugstore, 2021 (photo: Ivana Čutura)

The return to the Jewish Cultural Center (December 29) brought a too short but interesting performance by the Polish accordionist Zbigniew Hojnacki, and then a brilliant performance by the Berlin trio Jane in Ether. After Magda Mayas (piano), Biljana Vuckova (violin, voice) and Miako Klein (records) finished their performance, long applause and admiration said two things – that the audience was delighted with the concert, but also happy to return to this concert space. .

The Berlin scene, so important and rich, has had interesting representatives at the festival for several years. This year, even two performances. After a break of three days, just to breathe the air after Jane in Ether and other excitements, Der Lange Schatten concluded the festival on December 3 with a great performance in Studio 6 of Radio Belgrade. This trio is a true representative of the Berlin scene – musically exciting and all from different countries, and related to Berlin.

After the 25th edition, with seven concert evenings in ten days and one exhibition, the next Ring Ring festival is scheduled for a somewhat shorter period, from 19 to 22 May 2021.

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