A New Age Has Begun: On the success of the 1st Pocket Globe Festival
The first world music festival “Pocket Globe” was held in Novi Sad, from November 10 to 13, 2022. The program included six concerts, three lectures and one workshop-session. Pocket Globe was part of the program arch “Other? Europe” of the Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture project.
The first world music festival “Pocket Globe” was held in Novi Sad, from November 10 to 13, 2022. The program included six concerts, three lectures and one workshop-session. Pocket Globe was part of the program arch “Second? Europe” of the Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture project.
Are we finally entering a new era? The one in which the local audience (and the media) finally became aware of the existence of the world music genre and, even more, of its uniqueness and interestingness that should always be experienced. And in which the hype doesn’t rise only when Mariza comes.
We, from the Ring Ring Association, which deals with several festivals, already noticed signs of that new era at the end of September, when the tenth Todo Mundo – the world music festival, which is often carried out with serious efforts – started selling tickets and festival passes even a month in advance, when the festival then attracted not only our passionate followers, but also some completely new faces and, most importantly, gathered a lot of young people, which we have been dreaming about for years.
And, while this year’s Todo Munda was still a guess, the first edition of the Novi Sad world music festival Pocket Globe gave us full confirmation. All three concert evenings were very well attended, with the dominance of the younger audience, and the three lectures were also well attended, not only in terms of the number of people in the hall, but also in terms of their activity, curiosity and inquisitiveness.
The media has also shown broad-mindedness towards world music and us, as the organizers. Various and numerous media – radio, TV, printed newspapers, internet – gave space to announcements of the festival program, as well as interviews with artists (the latter refers to Etnoumlje, Nedeljnik, Kulturni Dodatak u Politiki, Danas, VisitNoviSad and NsHronika). In all of this, we had great logistical support from the team gathered around the Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture project, especially in the field of communications and marketing. Because, let’s not forget, Pocket Globe was part of the program arc Other? Europe of the Novi Sad ECC 2022 project!
Let’s add that Pocket Globe also had its own after-story in the media, also important, but unfortunately these days, reports, reviews, reviews are increasingly rare. Nikola Glavinić spoke about the entire festival for Radio Beograd 2 and wrote for Etnoumlje magazine, while Ivana Jovanović reported on each evening separately for the Remix Press portal.
Media support is preceded by the key one – financial. Apart from the 2022 Foundation, which was our main support, the festival also received help from the City of Novi Sad, then through the European project Sounds of Europe (whose partner is the Ring Ring Association), as well as the French Institute in Serbia (partly for the performance of Bab L’ Bluz). In the entire implementation of the festival, we were supported in our own way by a circle of wonderful volunteers, whose diverse help we could always count on.
Who are we, in fact, in the case of the Pocket Globe festival? That basic festival organizational cell consisted of three elements, one from Novi Sad and two from Belgrade: Vojislav Malešev, Bojan Đorđević and Marija Vitas. We functioned as one and created a solid base for future activities full of will and enthusiasm, in which we will look forward to possible team expansions. It is likely that the good response of the audience was also influenced by Voja’s skilful management of the series of concerts of the same name, starting in the fall of 2019, of which the Pocket Globe festival is a kind of natural continuation.
The most important thing for the festival organizer is the music itself, which – at least it should always be – we love, follow, know and are passionate about. Our great fulfillment of positive emotions during the festival and after the end of it, was stimulated first of all by fantastic concerts, some of which in the same evening made a crazy good chemistry, which made the organizers smile with satisfaction and a little pride. Such was the second evening, held on November 11 at the Youth Theatre. It’s true that the Cypriot trio Monsieur Doumani blew up on their own, just as the Moroccan-French quartet Bab L’ Bluz blew away in their own way (there is still an informal, futile vote about which band was better), but above all that, they turned out to be a fantastic series! Both bands boast a powerful sound, energy and rock psychedelia, which at Pocket Globe, in truth, did not have an adequate partner in the seating area of the Theater. Nevertheless, the audience was so excited that it sent strong impulses towards the stage equal to those of the visitors standing, dancing and jumping.
And everything started somewhat solemnly, because that is the space of the Novi Sad Synagogue. Before that evening ritual, on November 10, the threat of rain receded, which made people ready in advance to spend the evening outside the house after a pleasant, sunny, cold autumn day. Such weather conditions will, to our joy, accompany the entire festival. Because the second most important thing for the festival organizer (in Serbia) is the weather… Our people don’t like rain, nor wind, nor…
Damir Imamović first shined in the Synagogue with his trio Singer of Tales. Spontaneous, with an expressive voice, with a well-chosen repertoire, Damir captured the imagination with his interpretation of eternally popular sevdalinka songs and some of his original pearls, without a shred of pathos. He is a man of this millennium, with a conscious, mature and authentic view of tradition. The concert of Damir, Derya Tirkan and Žiga Golob was followed up beautifully by Boris Kovač with his New Ritual Ensemble and colorful arrangements of compositions from various phases of Kovač, very attractive to listen to. Even though Boris Kovač’s slightly smaller ensemble performed only two months earlier as part of the NS EPK program, the Novi Sad audience is obviously always eager to hear this unique artist live.
The third concert evening, like the second, took place in the Youth Theater, attracting the largest number of people coming from other cities, especially Belgrade, who were also present at the previous evenings, as well as at the lectures. It only shows that the enthusiastic audience does not give up in the face of the greater number of kilometers that need to be covered to reach the point of musical boiling. And not everyone came from Belgrade by car!
The evening was opened by the local band Shira utfil, which has now fully matured in a refreshed line-up, to which singer Branislava Podrumac and pianist/keyboardist Aleksandar Jovanović – Šljuka contributed. Very gradually they made an emotional, dynamic and rhythmic gradation, in order to completely spoil the audience with an increasingly moving and passionate interpretation of Sephardic love songs.
The organizing team was proud of its July decision that Shira utfila was chosen to perform at the Pocket Globe festival, after the Serbian Globe competition, which we opened for local artists in May.
The mood was brought to a boil. We were almost nervously awaiting the performance of Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan. And then we got something that exceeded expectations. It was an hour and a half continuous flow, musical invention, liturgy, ritual… Constantly in motion between contemplation and passion, melancholy and fervor, quiet sobs and voluminous roars – Kayhan’s kamanche and Erdal’s baglama breathed as one organism, and that perhaps they never looked at each other. A wonderful interweaving of traditions and innovations, and a magical combination of Iran and Turkey, in which the very traditions of these countries become One…
What an end, and it wasn’t the end! Because the real finale of the Pocket Globe festival happened the next day, at the Svilara Cultural Station, at Kayhan’s lecture on the music of Iran. It was the third and last lecture of the festival, which was preceded by similar events in the Small Hall of the Youth Theater. Yousra Mansour and Brice Bottin, members of the band Bab L’ Bluz, spoke (11.11) about the music of the Gnava ethnic group and the role of women in the music of Morocco, while Damir Imamović (12.11) talked about the saz and the place of this instrument in the cultural heritage of Sarajevo and BiH . In addition, the Bab L’ Bluz band had another, special activity, when (11.11) they took Novi Sad musicians through the rhythmic paths of their workshop-session at the Petrovaradin fortress.
When it was all over, and when we, tired and satisfied started to return home – Voja on the bike, and Marija and Bojan in the car – our heads were buzzing with delight, praise and gratitude, which the audience gave us those days. Because of them, we will continue to spin the pocket globe in our hands. Ideas are piling up on paper, and we have already turned on the oven to 1. The program of the second Pocket Globe festival is being slowly thought through.
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