Issue 7 12/98
New Year 1999 marks an important and historical date for Europe. The EURO is introduced in most countries of the European Union. For us, the important part of this introduction is not the economic, but the symbolic side of things. With the EURO we are bound to our European neighbours and friends - and the same currency gives a security and necessarity that the European countries stay closely together for a long time. Which is great. Of course the European Union and the EURO have also a lot of problems, but from the historical and emotional side the growing together is an exciting and positive thing. (As a side effect, it makes FolkWorld's finances easier - going with the time, our ad prices are from now on in EURO!)
Hopefully this will mark also a new era of 'Euro-culture'. This Euro culture does not mean that all regional cultures mix up with each other to have finally one culture - it should mean that we get more cultural exchanges between the European countries and regions. It is amazing how many most interesting cultures can be found in all the European regions; often they are cultures that are typical just in this one region; and sadly enough most Europeans do not know anything about them. Thinking of Germany and its folk music scene, people know what Scottish, Irish, maybe also Breton music is like; but most of them have never of Celtic music and bagpipes in Spain. Spanish, Italian, Norwegian or even Northern German folk music seems to be for many people too exotic to experience in concert.
We should change that, we should create an interest in European folk music in all its regional pecularities. Carlos Núñez is the same opinion - he said in our interview: "I think we should change that. Because Europe has very interesting traditions - I know that in Germany you have also the bagpipes, and in Poland as well, and nobody knows that. If I tell somebody in Spain that they have pipes in Germany, he will say 'that is not possible, just us and Scotland and...' - And I know the folk music scene in Europe is just in the beginning." Why not take the introduction of the EURO as a start into a new folk music interest era: the Euro-Folk era. Often, the traditions from all the other European countries sound very different to the ones we are used to hear, but somehow at the same time very familiar - which is most interesting.
We are often wondering why there are no real Euro Folk Festivals around, with representants from many different European regions. It is strange enough - although Europe is becoming more and more an important unity for all of us, there is in the folk scene a bit of a gap: You have either Folk Festivals specialised particularly in Celtic Music or in the own regional music, or you have on the other side World Music Festivals. Nothing against these kind of festivals, but in our opinion we should fill the gap between World Music and Local Music by Euro Folk.
If anybody knows about a folk festival that features folk from all over Europe, please let us know! We would support such festivals in FolkWorld, as FolkWorld has the ambition to increase the interest in folk music from all over Europe. Also, if you like to start such a festival, we would offer our help.
At the same time, while the currency goes on its way, Europe still has to do a lot for its regional cultures. All the centralised countries should respect the cultures of their regions - thinking of Bleizi Ruz' Eric Liourzou who told us that politicians in Brussels know more about Breton music than those in Paris, it reminds that many countries need to give more possibilites to allow their regions to make their music and culture better known. In Germany, the foreigner's tax is still around (although there is some whisper that the tax might be stopped sooner or later) - we have the same currency as our European neighbours, but our neighbours have to pay a much higher tax than the Germans when they want to present their culture in our country.
And, of course, our Euro Folk movement should not stop at the borders of the European Union - of course Eastern Europe offers also European folk music, and of course we are also interested in cultures from the rest of the world - it's the difference that makes folk music exciting!
Hopefully the Europe of the Regions will sooner or later help to fulfill our day dreams...
Enjoy all the European stuff in our New Year's issue, and take the chance to win several CDs with exciting music from Europe!
Have a good and Euro-folky 1999!
Your FolkWorld editors.
Drawings by German artist Annegret Haensel; for more info on the artist, look at the editorial page
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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 12/98
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