We just returned from Estonia. First three days in Tallinn and Viljandi, and then three days in Tartu. Soon we’ll give a report on our meetings. Meanwhile look at this wonderful clip. This shows the essence of what Folk Practice Academy is all about. Bringing folk music into every day life. The moment was captured Friday night at Sofia Joons’ birthday party in Viljandi.
Today we (Astrid and Kristin) returned to Estonia and it felt a little bit like coming home. Or like Kristin said: “I know my way better in Tallinn than in Karlskrona…”
Visiting Tallinn for us folk art nerds is mainly about looking for really nice handcraft. Some Christmas gifts were bought, but the mission this time was to find hand-knitted, woolen socks. At least two pair each. We visited three markets, but ended up at the knitewear sellers by the city wall. Two charming Russian ladies held out some grey socks and said something that sounded like “It’s made of dock”.
“Yeah, yeah” we answered without actually knowing what she was implying. She persisted “It’s made of DOCK!”
It turned out the wool was from her very dear dog Sharyk, who obviously is grey. We had a nice amusing chat with the women and decided the socks will go well with our Polish drum, which Pawel will deliver soon…
Sitting in a wonderful café in Ronneby – mandeltårtan – planning next week’s trip to Estonia.
Many thanks to all our new friends in Poland – Kuba, Aga, Suzy, Pawel, Magda, Jerzy, Piotr, Janusz, Miki, Agata, Pedro and all the fantastic youth of Raczki!
Friday evening we picked up Gustav and went by car – Kuba, Aga, Gustav, Kristin and I – 300 km up to the village of Posejnele in the very north-east of Poland. That’s where Pawel (the drummer in Krusznia) has his farm. This weekend happened to be the great “All saints”-weekend and the roads were packed with cars leaving Warsaw for visiting relatives outside the city.
Finally, at one a clock in the morning we arrived and was met by a buffé of food and locally flavored vodka. The night meal was lovely and jolly, we sang and laughed and laughed and sang…
The Saturday was dedicated to practicing for the concert and taking care of the cows. We got to see the lovely lakes and take some nice pictures.
Late afternoon we all left for Raczki, 60 km away, where the launch of the film “Tu Gdzie Jestem” (Here where I am) would take place. Last summer Kuba Pietrzak produced a film together with six teenagers about their lives and dreams in Suwalki. And we – Kristin, Gustav and I – had the honor to have a concert after the show. And we were warmed both by the overcrowded room in the culture center as well as the appreciative audience!
The night was full of jamming of Swedish and Polish music and we did all thank the higher powers for the extra hour of sleep given by the transition to winter time…
The Raczki youth did not only surprise us with great service, but also with a disco party at 9 o’clock in the morning and some interesting background music for us when leaving for Warsaw. Singing, drums and hand claps followed us all the way into the bathroom (!) and out to the car. It felt as if we were part of the movie Black Cat, White Cat… We love you all!
We also managed to find time to plan for the future. Hopefully, if all funding will be cleared we will have three youth teams meeting in the spring in Blekinge!
Finally we are growing southward! This week we are on a planning tour to Poland to, to meet all our new friends (and friends of friends). The first two night were spent with Miki Wielecki, who is a percussionist specialized in Latin-american tradition. During the Kuba Pietrzak, a member of Krusznia, guided us around the amazing city of Warszawa.
Wednesday night Miki guided us into the Warsaw club life. Unfortunately, the expression “lille-lördag” does not exist in Poland, so the action was slow, but we finally ended up at the Culture Center chatting and drinking cider.
Thursday night we spent at the club W oparach absurdu at a folk music jam sessison together with Kuba, Aga Sroczynska and Miki. We met a truly amazing double bass player, Lukasz, and played one tune even more assymetrical than the other.
Friday we got the chance to meet two new friends of friends. First we had an interesting skype-meeting with Janusz Prusinowski, and an hour later we had coffee with his band-collegue Piotr Piszczatowski. We talked about how to bring folk music to the next level in society. Brilliant!
Then, of course we had to see the Chopin-monumentet and stroll in the park, where the squirrels were strangely tame…
Now we’re waiting for our bandmate Gustav to arrive so we all can travel up to Suwalki, meet the Krusznia and finally play at Tu Gdzie Jestem – Raczki.
Yesterday was finally spent on the road again. The weather was fine and it was nice to enter the car at 6.a.m. filled with expectations, laughter and songs.
Our first stop was Österlens Folkhögskola in Tomelilla, in Skåne. We spent a few hours listening to (and of course playing with) Rasmus’ folk music class*. They were rehearsing for today’s concert – good luck!
The other mission was to meet their teacher Reine Steen, a legendary folk violin player with lots of knowledge about folk music in the Baltic Sea region. Together we discussed future plans for projects including folk music around the Baltic Sea.
The afternoon was spent in Lund and Skånes Musiksamlingar/Folklivsarkivet, where we met an extremely dedicated archivist, Patrik Sandgren, who promised to help us with future work. To open the sound- and textfiles felt like opening a box of chocolate, so after a few hours work we just had to crush down at a nice café…
High on sugar we then went to Gustav’s place. The three of us are giving a concert in Poland next week – a perfect excuse to meet and play together!
* Rasmus is one of our young participants in the project Baltic Sea Inter Cult