Twenty-Eighth Stone of Joy: “Ring Ring 2024”

Twenty-Eighth Stone of Joy: “Ring Ring 2024”

May is the Ring Ring month! The 28th edition of the prestigious Belgrade festival of new, different, experimental music is ahead of us, and will be held from May 23 to 26, 2024, at the Jewish Cultural Center and Zappa Baza. The organizer of the festival, the Ring Ring Association, promises four exciting musical evenings and a total of seven diverse concerts featuring artists and bands from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, the USA, Turkey, and Serbia.

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Running an independent, alternative festival in Serbia is demanding and challenging work. Each year, you push that stone anew. Sometimes it seems that the uphill climb gets steeper with each passing year. On one hand, financial support is often undefined until the start of the festival, while there’s an increasing number of brilliant bands and musicians. They persistently apply and patiently wait. It appears as if they have more understanding of the situation than we do ourselves.

The program pieces of every “Ring Ring” are arranged according to the desire and necessity to introduce new and familiar names to the audience, both from the domestic and international scenes. However, there is, of course, too much phenomenal music on the planet for just one festival per year. But when that one festival arrives, and the audience fills the familiar space at Jevrejska 16, the organizers are simply ecstatic. And already then, they joyfully begin making a wish list for the next edition of the “Ring Ring” Festival.

The combination of debutants and artists known from previous festivals has reached one of its possible peaks this year. Thus, on the same evening, May 25, the legendary Dutch band The Ex, which has been around for 45 years, and the Istanbul-Belgrade TRIOBROK, which will soon celebrate its first anniversary, will perform.

The opening night, May 23, belongs to a long-awaited collaboration – the Belgrade band Fish in Oil has long admired Vienna’s, and our own Jelena Popržan, recognizable for her creative, alternative approach to instruments, voice, and composition. Their long-held dream comes true in full force this year.

Manja Ristić is another name in our festival program. For the first time, she performs at “Ring Ring”, to the great joy of organizers and audiences, bringing a completely fresh program. In the past few years, Manja, working from Korčula, distanced from all metropolises, has entered the circle of more significant sound explorers. On the same evening, May 24, we will hear another debutant of “Ring Ring”, performing in a solo performance: American experimenter Michael J. Schumacher brings his usual sound devices, including eight special speakers.

As it begins, the festival “Ring Ring 2024” will also end with concerts on the floor of the hall at the Jewish Cultural Center. On the last night, May 26, the Cologne trio C/W|N will perform, led by (again, our own) Dušica Cajlan, joined by the trio’s old acquaintance of festival audiences, Georg Wissel, and Dutch percussionist Etienne Nillesen. The last performance at this year’s festival belongs to the international Šalter Ensemble, which performed seven years ago in a slightly different lineup. In early May, they released a new album, “Tri dela”, on which the collective improvisation of this ten-member ensemble shows that for creative musicians, there are no obstacles to opening new collaborations and achieving an ever closer connection with the audience.

Tickets for the festival (individual and a festival pass) can be purchased via the website, as well as through email at

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🔗  Video teaser „Ring Ring Festival 2024”

🔗  Facebook Event „RING RING 2024”

🔗  Facebook Event „The Ex u Beogradu, na festivalu Ring Ring”

🔗  Tickets:  Festival pass   ǀ  May 23  ǀ  May 24  ǀ  May 25 ǀ  May 26

🔗  YouTube:  Manja Ristić  ǀ  Šalter Ensemble  ǀ  The Ex


Innovative Punk: The Ex in Belgrade at the “Ring Ring” Festival

Innovative Punk: The Ex in Belgrade at the “Ring Ring” Festival

On their tour marking 45 years of work, the legendary Dutch punk group The Ex will perform in Belgrade at Zappa Baza on May 25, 2024, as part of the 28th Ring Ring Festival. The same evening, the Istanbul-Belgrade based TRIOBROK will also perform.

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The years and decades may pass, but The Ex never falter! The famous quartet from the Netherlands, highly respected in circles of unconventional, avant-garde punk music enthusiasts, celebrates its 45th birthday in 2024. This jubilee is marked by an impressive series of concerts in 45 countries, including their 2000th career concert held in the Netherlands at the beginning of March. This is their first tour since the pandemic.

The Ex exude inexhaustible energy and strength. Their concerts and tours boast an enviable intensity, while their discography remains highly dynamic. They are also known for their frequent, unusual, and diverse projects and collaborations, which span the realms of avant-garde, traditional, and improvised music.

Founded in 1979 in Amsterdam, The Ex began collaborating with jazz musicians and a Kurdish-Iraqi group in the early 1980s. Throughout the 1990s, these collaborations became more frequent and diverse, but perhaps their most famous phase of musical cross-pollination began in 2002 with Ethiopia. This culminated in a collaboration with the renowned saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, with whom The Ex released two albums and performed over a hundred concerts.

As unwavering advocates of the “do it yourself” concept, The Ex have operated independently of record labels, managers, and roadies throughout the years, serving as a model for other progressive bands and musicians. They have released 28 albums on their label “Ex Records”, and from the outset of their career, they formalized their independent management activities under the name “Stichting Ex”. They have performed concerts across nearly all of Europe, as well as in the USA, Russia, Canada, and Ethiopia. In Belgrade, they have performed three times, with their last appearance in 2015, also at the “Ring Ring” festival.

The members of The Ex are: Terrie Hessels (guitar), Arnold de Boer (vocals, guitar), Andy Moor (guitar), and Katherina Bornefeld (drums, vocals).

The concert of The Ex at the 28th “Ring Ring” festival will be preceded by a performance from the Turkish-Serbian ensemble TRIOBROK, starting at 8:30 PM. This very young group, founded in 2023, is composed of esteemed and experienced musicians from the jazz, improvisational, and experimental music scenes: Ali Onur Olgun (tenor saxophone), Daniel Izmaylov (double bass, electric bass), and Atilla Ozan Keskin (drums).

Tickets for the entire evening, priced at 1800 dinars (balcony: 2500 RSD) in advance, can be purchased through the website, as well as at their sales outlets.

The organizer of the “Ring Ring” festival is the Ring Ring Association, with the concert of The Ex also being organized in collaboration with the Connected Agency.

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🔗  Facebook Event “The Ex u Beogradu, na festivalu Ring Ring”

🔗  The Ex:  Website   ǀ  YouTube   ǀ   Facebook

🔗  TRIOBROK: YouTube: A gig in Belgrade, at the “Živa” Cultural centre



In the rhythm of world music: “Pocket Globe” 2023 is over

In the rhythm of world music: “Pocket Globe” 2023 is over

The second Pocket Globe festival was held in Novi Sad, from November 9 to 11, 2023, at different locations. The program included six concerts, a workshop, a musician’s session, a presentation and two lectures.

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When the idea was conceived in 2021 to turn the series of concerts called “Pocket Globe” into a permanent festival event in Novi Sad, we announced that it would not be an action related only to the year of the “European Capital of Culture”. Because the world music festival is needed in Novi Sad, both because of the curious audience and the fact that members of a large number of peoples live together and very harmoniously in the city, and because of the extremely rich local music scene. In accordance with that idea, we have built a concept in which we are slowly including Novi Sad musicians, cultural workers, concert venues, the media, but also those young and the youngest people.

This year, a part of the city’s new cultural hub, SKCNS Fabrika, was chosen as the central concert venue. In the end, the choice turned out to be excellent.

Although this space may be famous as a place where rock or punk music is played, in cooperation with excellent sound technicians, we have enabled the audience to enjoy the concerts, which are world music, but with rock elements, as was the case on the first night, and turning space into the hall for real chamber concerts, which characterized the second evenings. Again, on the third evening, there was enough room for those who wanted to sit and enjoy the music, as well as for those who were driven to dance by the same music.

The organizing team, in cooperation with volunteers from Novi Sad, technicians, also with the help of friends of the festival and the understanding of the city’s institutions that reduced the prices of their services, realized second very successful festival, with six concerts, two lectures, one presentation, a musician’s session and a workshop.

Certainly the headliner of the festival was Bombino, an artist from Niger, whose latest album was released just two months before the festival and who included Novi Sad in the program of his European tour.

At the premiere concert in Serbia, Bombino showed how great an artist he is, but also a humble person, approachable for conversations with the audience after the concert.

The Belgrade-based band The Cyclist Conspiracy, who released their debut album for an Italian label a month before the festival, fit perfectly into the program of this first evening.

Although Bombino was the biggest name of the festival, the Czech artist Iva Bittova had the most intense contact with the audience. First of all, on the festival’s first day, during the workshop with members of the Children’s Opera Studio of the Serbian National Theatre created exceptional communication with the youngest and showed a desire to continue this cooperation. The children, together with their parents, the following evening, with the invitation of Iva and the organizers, came in large numbers to the concert, which introduced them and the large audience into an incredible atmosphere, at the end of which Iva Bittova and her collaborator Vladimir Vaclavek sang an encore together with the audience.

The second evening was opened by Serbian artist Jasna Jovićević (feat. Bojan Bojić), with the program “Illusion of Freedom”, premiered on this occasion. Before the concert, Jasna was awarded with the “Vojin Mališa Draškoci” award, which has been awarded for years by the World Music Association of Serbia to those artists who creatively combine tradition and world music with other musical genres.

On the last evening, the Slovakian group Nogaband, led by violin virtuoso and researcher Michal Noga, performed first, which was a great opportunity to hear traditional music performed in a very authentic way. Italian artist Stefano Saletti with his band Banda Ikona had the premiere concert in Serbia that evening, presenting Stefano’s vision of the Mediterranean, along with the story of the extinct Mediterranean language – Sabir. Saletti, on the same day, held a successful and well-attended lecture on this contact language in the Zenit bookstore.

In addition to the concerts and the aforementioned lecture and workshop, the festival included several additional events: the lecture “Rich and vital, old music of Slovakia” by Michal Noga in the Zenit bookstore (10.11), a session by Vladimir Vaclavek with local musicians at the Petrovaradin Fortress (10.11), as well as the presentation of the “Creative Europe – Culture” program in cooperation with the Creative Europe Desk Serbia, also in the Zenit bookstore (11.11).


“World in a pocket”: Three days of intense encounters

“World in a pocket”: Three days of intense encounters

The second edition of the world music festival Pocket Globe will be held in Novi Sad, at SKCNS Fabrika, from November 9 to 11, 2023. The program will include concerts, lectures and workshops.

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One of the youngest musical genres, world music, is gaining more and more fans in Serbia as well. Every year a new festival emerges that gives local musicians the opportunity to present themselves, and the audience – to hear and see big names from the world scene.

“Pocket Globe” started as a series of concerts, which will grow into a festival in 2022. Last year’s edition showed that Novi Sad needs this kind of event.

A large audience, great concerts and lectures – what better fuel is there for the organizers to continue with their plan to make the world music festival in Novi Sad a regular annual meeting place for musicians, audience and experts?

In accordance with the name, this year the festival will also present musicians from different meridians, and already on the first evening at SKCNS Fabrika, a big name, Bombino, will perform with his quartet. The music created by this prominent artist from Niger is the essence of “desert blues” – the instruments are all the same as in America, the cradle of blues, but the sound is from the origin of blues, West Africa and its Saharan part.

At his premiere performance in Serbia, Bombino will also promote the new album “Sahel” (Partisan Records, 2023).

The very opening of the festival, before the performance of Bombino, belongs to the Belgrade band The Cyclist Conspiracy, who can also boast of a fresh album, “Mashallah Plan” (Subsound records, 2023).

After an interestingly conceived, energetic opening, the festival continues the next evening with two top authors. Local and increasingly international Jasna Jovićević, multi-instrumentalist and composer, will perform a solo program largely dedicated to the legendary professor Vojin Mališa Draškoci (1945 – 2000).

Then, accompanied by bassist and guitarist Vladimir Vaclavek, another great name of the world scene will perform, Iva Bittova, a violinist, singer and composer from the Czech Republic.

Iva is coming to Novi Sad again after 12 years, and this time, for the first time in Serbia, with her decades-long friend, fellow compatriot and collaborator Vaclavek, with whom she released the acclaimed album “Bílé Inferno” (Indies Records), which is experiencing a new, a different concert performance.

In addition to the joint concert, Iva and Vladimir will hold two separate workshops within the festival, bringing the festival closer to a wider Novi Sad audience, as it was intended during the development of the idea of a world music festival in Novi Sad. Several more musicians will have their lectures or workshops at the festival, about which there will be more information soon.

The last evening in the SKCNS Fabrika will be opened by Nogaband, a Slovakian group led by the phenomenal violinist and researcher of traditional music Michal Noga. It will be Slovak traditional music in the best light – with dancing, enthusiasm and openness!

For the end of the festival, the organizers left one of the biggest names of the rich Italian world music scene, Stefano Saletti, who will perform with his quintet Banda Ikona. What the audience expects is the music of the Mediterranean, evoked through the Saletti’s composer’s prism, but also singing in the extinct language of the Mediterranean – sabir.

Tickets for the festival can be purchased through the gigstix website. The price of an individual ticket is 1,500 dinars for the first evening, or 1,000 dinars for the second and third evening, while the price of a complete set of festival tickets is 3,000 dinars.

The festival was supported by: City of Novi Sad, international project “Sounds of Europe” (supported by Creative Europe), Ministry of Culture of Serbia, Italian Institute for Culture in Belgrade, French Institute, Slovak Arts Council, World Music Association of Serbia. The organizer is the Ring Ring Association in partnership with the Music Information Centre of Serbia.


Variety that inspires: “Todo Mundo” 2023 is over

Variety that inspires: “Todo Mundo” 2023 is over

The eleventh Todo Mundo festival was held in Belgrade at different locations from September 21 to 23, 2023. The program included five concerts, one DJ gig, an international conference and a public conversation with two members of the Hungarian group Erdőfű.

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The eleventh edition of the Todo Mundo festival was fully in line with the basic idea set at the very beginning, in 2012 – an intriguing and diverse concert and accompanying program, which corresponds to the challenge and diversity of the world music polygenre, an entertaining, artistic, research and educational approach, and close contact with the audience.

Although the campaign for the 11th edition started earlier than ever, the three days of the festival flew through us with great speed and intensity that gave a new, driving energy.

When it was announced at the end of 2022 that September 23 was chosen as the European Folk Day, we immediately started to plan performances for that day by two ensembles, which fit perfectly into the first celebration of this important date. We hosted both groups – Erdőfű (Hungary) and Janusz Prusinowski Kompania (Poland) thanks to the international project “Sounds of Europe”, in which our Ring Ring Association is a partner and part of a team with 12 other festivals from 10 European countries.

Then, during the arrangement of Bombino’s performance in Novi Sad (Pocket Globe festival), the possibility arose to arrange Vieux Farka Touré’s gig in Belgrade with the same agent. The concert of Alba Carmona was essentially discussed during a joint bus trip with her agent to Naples and the Napoli World festival.

When you make such a program, then imagine and ask yourself: “Does the audience in Serbia know these musicians? How popular is Vieux really or is it just known for his famous father Ali Farka Touré? Is flamenco popular enough to fill the hall? How attractive is the traditional music of Hungary and Poland to the local audience?”

It was awaiting its confirmation in September. Only two unknowns remained when we started the campaign: Which of the local artists to include in the programme and, of course, what the last-minute budget would be, that chronic pain of most events in Serbia.

We chose DJ Killo Killo, our internationally most famous world music DJ, fan and connoisseur of African music, as the local artist. We considered this as a more than appropriate solution for the continuation of the evening after Vieux Farka Touré’s concert, in the Zappa Baza club, with which we now cooperated for the first time.

That choice for the opening of the festival (September 21) turned out to be a complete success. The audience responded in large numbers, both younger and older, including several legends of Belgrade music journalism. All of them together confirmed that the music of Mali easily provokes all generations to dance. Despite all that, cooperation with a world star, as Vieux certainly is, was not at all complicated. Vieux and his musicians are polite, simple and cordial in their conversations with the media and the audience (we think they spent two markers signing records and discs).

The following evening (September 22), the return to our longtime venue, the Jewish Cultural Center, presented a new challenge. Will the two different audiences – flamenco lovers and accordion fans – completely be separated or will the quality and intriguing music make everyone stay in the hall for both concerts? And yes, to our joy, exactly the second thing happened. Belofour, the Austrian accordion quartet, also nailed the flamenco fans to the chairs, only for Alba Carmona and Jesús Guerrero to keep them there with ease, and finally get them back on their feet.

The European Folk Day itself was marked with several activities during the third, and last day of the festival (September 23). In addition to the evening performances of the groups Erdőfű and Janusz Prusinowski Kompania, good acquaintances from the international scene, during the day, another in the series of international music conferences, which we organize for the third year in a row as part of the Todo Mundo festival, was held in the RTS Club – Radio Belgrade Gallery.

The topic, quite appropriate “Tradition nowadays, in the World Music”, imposed itself, with the participation of experts, musicians, organizers and scholars from six European countries: Daina Zalāne, Márton Éri, Marija Dumnić Vilotijević, Alba Carmona, Janusz Prusinowski, Ana Sors, Mirjana Raić Tepić, Soma Salamon, Joanna Wiedro-Żak, as well as permanent hosts, organizers of the “Todo Mundo” festival, Marija Vitas and Bojan Đorđević.

In addition to this addition to the program, the festival, as in 2022 and 2016, in cooperation with the Department of Ethnomusicology of the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, offered a talk by Soma Salamon and Márton Éri with professors and students, on the topic of Hungarian traditional music, tanchaz, the heritage of Transylvania etc.

This time too, the volunteers contributed, and the media supported us quite strongly.

As it was every year, the freshly realized festival is the impetus for us to start creating the next edition and to attract a new and younger audience, but also to promote the festival all over the world, both at festivals, conferences, and through social networks.


From desert blues to flamenco: “Todo Mundo” 2023

From desert blues to flamenco: “Todo Mundo” 2023

The 11th Todo Mundo festival brings five concerts, a DJ performance and an international conference. It will be held in Belgrade, from September 21 to 23, 2023.

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The transition from summer to autumn, in the capital of Serbia, will be marked again this year by the Todo Mundo festival, with concerts at two venues and an international conference. In terms of the program, the festival days were conceived and named as: “Razmrdavanje” (Shaking up), “Gradske priče” (City Stories) and “European Folk Day”.

We are already used to regularly listening to the pearls of world music at this festival, from regions that were called “exotic” before the new era of Internet networking. This year, the headliner of the festival is Vieux Farka Touré from Mali, an artist who performs extensively on all continents, with a current tour lasting over six months, with already sold-out concerts in England scheduled for May 2024. Magazine “Rolling Stone” awarded five stars to Vieux’s latest album “Les Racines” (Roots), another great offshoot of the so-called desert blues.

The son of legendary Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, Vieux will open the 11th Todo Mundo festival with a performance at Zappa Baza on Thursday, September 21. After the concert of his trio, the audience will be further shattered by one of the most engaged local DJs among those inspired by ethnic sound – DJ Killo Killo (Vojislav Malešev) from Novi Sad. His set will include Afrobeat, and Ethiopian jazz, as well as new, modern themes inspired by Africa.

The remaining two evenings will be held at the Jewish Cultural Center Oneg Shabbat, on September 22 and 23. The “Gradske priče” evening will be opened by the Viennese accordion quartet Belofour, whose music is inspired by Vienna itself, as well as the Balkans, tango, classical and jazz music, bringing top-notch art, virtuosity and fun!

It will be their premiere performance in Serbia, which also applies to the concerts of other foreign artists at this year’s festival, and in some cases, it’s about premieres in the region.

One of the most popular “exotic” kinds of music is flamenco from Spain, where new names, performers and composers are constantly arriving. At the Todo Mundo festival, the duo of singer Alba Carmona and guitarist Jesús Guerrero will present their approach to flamenco and other Spanish and Latin American genres, and will also show us why interest in their duo is growing in Europe.

The dance character of the music is an obvious feature of this year’s Todo Munda. This also applies to the last evening, during which the festival joins the celebration of the “European Folk Day”, officially linked to September 23, starting this year. Thanks to the program of the third festival evening, called “European Folk Day”, Belgrade is also on this European map!

The celebration of the “European Folk Day” will begin with the international conference “Tradition nowadays, in the world music”, which will be held in the RTS Club – Radio Belgrade Gallery, starting at 11 a.m. and ending with concerts in the evening hours.

Among the many great roots groups from Hungary, the band Erdőfű drew attention with exceptional albums released in the past three years, concerts and well-attended tanchaz-evenings, and was recently nominated for the “Best New Group in Europe” award, chosen by representatives of several festivals gathered around the project “UpBeat”.

Even more experienced, and much better known in the world, is the Polish band Janusz Prusinowsky Kompania, which approaches folklore tradition in a similar way, authentically and refreshingly. Band leader Janusz Prusinowski is one of the leading researchers and promoters of Polish roots music, as well as a prominent violinist.

Compact and exclusive, the program of the 11th Todo Mundo festival will allow the local audience to truly enjoy the concerts of top, well-known musicians of diverse artistic expressions.

The price of an individual ticket is 1,500 dinars for the first evening (September 21) and 1,000 dinars for the second and third evenings (September 22 and 23). The price of the festival set is 3,000 dinars. For the first evening, individual tickets can be purchased at Zappa Bar (Kralja Petra 41) and through the website, while the set, as well as individual tickets for the second and third evenings, can be purchased exclusively through the website. Tickets can also be purchased at the entrance, before the start of each evening.

The organizer of the 11th Todo Mundo festival is the Ring Ring Association in cooperation with the Music Information Centre of Serbia. The festival was supported by: the Ministry of Culture, City of Belgrade, Sounds of Europe/Creative Europe, Embassy of Spain, Collegium Hungaricum Belgrade, Austrian Cultural Forum, Instytut Adam Mickiewicz and RTS/Radio Belgrade 3.


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