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  • Jaw Harp Festivals – Calendar 2019

    1-2 February Parmupillifestival, EST
    10-12 May Gjovik Music Week, NO
    18 May La Fete de la Guimbarde, FR
    20-23 June Marranzano World Fest, I
    26-28 June North American Jaw Harp Festival, USA
    4-7 July Rudolstadt Festival, D
    19-21 July Le Reve de l´Aborigene, FR
    8-11 August Ancient Trance Festival, D
    23-25 August Krutushka Festival, RU
    23-25 August Slovisha Festival, RU
    20-22 September Norwegian Jew´s Harp Festival, NO
    28 December Global Vibes Festival, HU
    February 2020 World Mouth Harp Festival, INDIA
    August 2020 International Jew´s Harp Festival and Congress, CHINA (tbc)

    MAY 2019
    10-12 May Gjovik Music Week, NO
    18 May La Fete de la Guimbarde, FR

    Every year in May, the Norwegian jaw harp scene and lovers of international folklore music are on a pilgrimage to the Music Week in Gjovik. There, one can not only learn to forge a jaw harp and to play it. There are also seminars for the flute and the Langeleik as well as for dancing and singing. The gathering takes place from 10-12 May 2019 in Gjovik.

    On 18 May 2019 in France a one-day jaw harp festival, La fête de la Guimbarde is being hosted for the first time. Following the initiative of some lovers of the jaw harp and the local tourism association of Vertolaye (in Central France) a festival day with 6 artists such as Aron Szilágyi, Tikaille and Amaury le Barde performing is being organized. Also, there are workshops with diverse jaw harp smiths and workshops for jaw harp playing on the offer. Furthermore, Harm Linsen and Luc “Tchen” Yayer have signed up for public lectures.

    June 2019
    20-23 June Marranzano World Fest, I
    26-28 June North American Jaw Harp Festival, USA

    Marranzano, the Sicilian word for jaw harp, is the name giver of the local jaw harp festival. The Marranzano World Festival is regularly happening every July. The musician and music ethnologist Luca Recupero from Catania, who is known through the Band IPERcusSONICI, is the host and pro bono organizer of this happening. Luca tracks down the traces of the jaw harp in the history of Sicilia and attempts to revive the tradition around the pocket instrument. The 10th anniversary of the festival is going to be celebrated from 20 to 23 of June 2019 in Catania. Until now guests like Tran Quang Hai, Aron Szilágyi as well as other exicting Sicilian bands and musicians like Jacarànda, Matilde Politi, and Maura Guerrera registered.

    In North America we can also find a festival, i.e. the North American Jaw Harp Festival, that is hosted on a regular basis. In 2019, it will celebrate its 24th anniversary from 26-28 June in Cottage Grove, Oregon. The festival is being organized by a group of jaw harp fans that are spread over different places in the US. The festival features concerts, an open stage and workshops.

    JULY 2019
    4-7 July Rudolstadt Festival, D

    The white-haired folk fan of the first hour meets the 15 year old neo-hippie girl, the scholar for old music meets the neo jazz expert” writes the Weser Kurier, a German newspaper, about Germany’s biggest world music festival. The Rudolstadt Festival is also one of the most important festivals for folk and world music in Europe. Rudolstadt is blessed by thousands of festival visitors. More than 25,000 people per day come back year after year to enjoy the special flair and the choice of music. Almost 30 stages are spread over the whole town: in the park near the river Saale, at the marketplace, and in small courts of the inner city and last but not least high over the town on the castle Heidecksburg. In four days one can see on average more than 120 bands and artists from 40+ countries. One will seriously struggle to find such a musical and cultural concentration somewhere else. In 2019, the musical focus will be on Persian music as this year’s featured country is Iran. As always, the festival starts at the first Thursday in July, from 4-7 July 2019.

    AUGUST 2019
    8-11 August Ancient Trance Festival, D
    23-25 August Krutushka Festival, RU
    23-25 August Slovisha Festvial, RU

    The Ancient Trance Festival (ATF) in the restless town of Taucha near Leipzig is known as an established name by world music and jaw harp fans. The ATF began 15 years ago as a small, compact concert moment for jaw harp music. Transcendental, hand-made live music, environmentally conscious partying and workshops that invite to join: the concept of the festival has been so successful that the weekend in August has found its regular spot in the festival calendar. The festival team works by the principles of Sociocracy – self-governed and in conscious harmony with the powers of nature and the festival organizers. That is why the ATF team regularly takes a well-deserved one year break as this event is organized during the free time of all members. This year marks the 10th anniversary. From 8 to 11 August more than a few jaw harp virtuosos will mingle with world music bands and solo artists in Taucha. So far, confirmed bookings are: Airtists, UUTAi and Vassvik.

    As always, the Krutushka Festival is a solid booking for the jaw harp festival agenda. It regularly happens in August in Russia and in particular reflects the world music scene in Russian-speaking countries. There, one can always spot the most excellent players.

    In 2019 Mouth harp experts Aksenty Beskrovny, Gjermund Kolltveit, Vladimir Markov and Anton Kamenskiy met at Slovisha Festival in the city Veliky Novgorod in Russia. They shared their knowledge of the archeology and history of Jaw harps with the audience. Aksenty Beskrovny published an illuminating interview with Gjermund Kolltveit about his Jaw harp research starting in 1994. The album recording "It's a Long, Long Way to Novgorod" documents the musical encounter of Aksenty, Gjermund Kolltveit and Anton Kamenskiy at Slovisha Festival 2019.

    SEPTEMBER 2019
    20-22 September Norwegian Jew´s Harp Festival, NO

    In Norway, one can find one of the most vibrant jaw harp scenes in Europe. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that another highlight of the European jaw harp calender is the Norwegian jaw harp festival. This year, it is being hosted from 20 to 22 September in Rauland in the province of Telemark that is located in the South of Norway. The invitation comes from the Norwegian Jew´s Harp Forum (Norsk Munnharpeforum), which was founded in 1998. Kudos to the forum as year by year they make numerous possibilities for the continuous exchange of knowledge around the topic Munnharpe happen. The 150+ members of the forum meet annually in September at the Norwegian Jaw Harp Festival. On top of concerts and workshops the jaw harp players are gathering to exchange playing techniques, tunes, jaw harps and news from the scene. The festival took place for the first time in 1995.

    FEBRUARY 2020 World Mouth Harp Festival

    In Southern Asia, the most important happening for jaw harp music is the World Mouth Harp Festival in Goa, India. Since 2013 it is being organized by musician and jaw harp specialist Neptune Chapotin. The festival is regularly happening in January and the next one is announced for 2020. One experiences exciting music from different regions of India as from South Indian Bangalore, the Northern provinces of Rajasthan and Gujarat, or from Assam. Not only jaw harp virtuosos, but also musicians with diverse Indian music instruments as well as beat box artists and didgeridoo players perform on stage.

    AUGUST 2020 International Jew´s Harp Festival and Congress, CHINA (tbc)

    The meeting of jaw harp players and scholars is a sequel to the last congress that happened in 2014 in Taucha. Back then, more than 30 international jaw harp specialists met for presentations, concerts, discussions and workshops in Taucha at the same time as the Ancient Trance Festival. Not only the conference, but also the challenge cup “Global center of the jaw harp” will be moving from Taucha to China. That’s why the hosting town of the conference will also receive the cup. By the way, the first meeting of its kind happened in the year of 1984 in Iowa City, USA.

    Single events

    The Austrian Jaw Harp Association regularly hosts concerts in Northern Austria, e.g. in Molln or at the castle Schloss Feldegg.

    We also would like to point you to the events of the Japanese Jaw Harp Society Nihon Koukin Kyoukai, located in Tokyo, which is basically organized by Leo Tadagawa.

  • “My good friend, for the last 56 years.” Spiridon Shishigin visited Leipzig

    A Yakutian jaw harp dangles from the neck of Spiridon Shishigin on a thin braided cord. It is embedded in a little wooden box. The jaw harp catches the eye as it is embellished with a big “65”. “This Khomus”, says Spiridon, after he finishes playing the first tune on another jaw harp, “I got as a present from my friends on my 65th birthday. That was last year. Now, I’m 66 years old. I’ve been playing since I’m 5. The Khomus is a good friend of mine for 56 years now.” He speaks cautiously, with a lowered voice. He smiles, then takes the precious jaw harp into both of his hands, lifts it to the mouth, pauses, pants, lets it sink to his breast for a moment, as though he’d like to emphasize his words by these movements, and then finally he puts the instrument that marks his anniversary to his lips.

    On 15 February Spiridon visited the project shop “Sinn und Sein” (Sense and Being) in Leipzig. About 30 fans and guests from the whole region gathered to see the world-famous jaw harp virtuoso from Yakutia in concert. Here – where the minds behind the Ancient Trance Festival conduct their planning meetings as well – is a hint of Indian Chai in the air on this winter evening. Coloured lights provide the backdrop for the warm sound from the eternal ice and long winters. "I’m from Siberia and play 'the tundra' for you on my jaw harp," Spiridon says and makes use of one esteemed element in the Yakutian art of the jaw harp, which connects sound and vibration with nature and landscape: improvisation.

    "I play the tundra for you, but I need to confess I’ve never been there, actually. A trip to the tundra takes so much longer than travelling to Berlin. When taking a plane I arrive in Berlin after 9 hours. If I intend to travel to the tundra I need to fly and then go by car for hours. That’s why I’ve never been there." The steady wind of the tundra blew through Leipzig – evoked by the Khomus, the Yakutian jaw harp. A “cuckoo” cried out of Shishigin’s throat and announced spring soon to arrive. Melodies appeared and started sketching an austere and never-ending landscape of the steppe in Northern Russia.

    Spiridon Shishigin performs at Sinn und Sein in Leipzig

    Spiridon Shishigin performs at Sinn und Sein in Leipzig

    Shishigin’s stage appearance happened thanks to his friendship with Clemens Voigt from DAN MOI. The both of them have known each other for 13 years and on that evening played a jaw harp duet for the auditory, too. Everyone in and around Leipzig who missed the opportunity to see Spiridon Shishigin live on stage – stay tuned: The master has good reason to visit the city more often in the near future. Recently his daughter’s family moved to Delitzsch, a town close to Leipzig.

  • Sustainability all along the line: The Ancient trance Festival 2016 backs responsible awareness of sound, environment and man.

    Ancient Trance Festival 2016

    The Ancient Trance Festival in Taucha started off as a small compact moment of concert for jaw harp music more than ten years ago. Just after the very first festivals the crowd was signalizing that they enjoyed the universe of transcendental live music, of resource-aware partying, and of join-in activities, created by the Ancient Trance team. During the first weekend in August 2014 more than 4000 people were drawn to Taucha.

    Ancient Trance Festival 2014

    How does the team of organizers look at the Ancient Trance Festival? Corinna Klinke belongs to the communication group of the festival team and provides an insight into the structures, the self-conception, and the vision of the future of Europe’s biggest mouth harp festival. For the DAN MOI blog Helen Hahmann talked to her.

    Helen Hahmann (HH): After the very successful Ancient Trance Festival in 2014 which also hosted the congress of the International Jews Harp Society, many people had probably marked the date in August 2015 as definitely not to be missed. But then you announced that you would pause for a year and not organize a next festival until 2016. Why did you do that?

    Corinna Klinke (CK): Even in the years before we liked to take a step back now and then. The festival grounds for example used to be larger a few years ago. There was another stage in the area which today is reserved for camping. After that, some of our team said that the festival was a bit too big, and so we decided to get smaller again and to put up a stage less in the following year. For us and the festival it is an important point to look what we are capable of. This is a sustainable treatment of and within the team – to keep in mind that the festival does not burn out our people. In the end we all do that voluntarily. In 2015 many team members questioned where to get the energy from to be able to cope with all the work. And then it became clear that we would need a break and pause for a year just to work on the mission and vision of the festival. What do we actually want and how can we realize this? One important issue at it was the appreciation of the work – not in a financial sense, but in the sense of how can we say thank you to the people managing all this. How can we grow together as a team for the festival to grow into a long-term project?

    HH: Who are the people organizing the festival?

    CK: Outsiders may easily get the impression that there are “hippies” behind those people, wearing dreadlocks and colorful rags. And of course, they are. But there are also other people being part of it who have organized similar events for different musical genres, and who just enjoy discovering something new. We are united by the kind of music, the virtuosity, and of course the aspect ‘mouth harp’. Besides, I for example like to be surprised by the music and groups I did not know before. So there is a varied mixture of people, and therefore their interests are quite diverse. This is the reason why we also used the past year to find a way of communication which satisfies everybody, which means consensus instead of content. We have organized ourselves in a structure called sociocracy. Different areas are divided into groups or circles which are specialized in certain tasks. When these groups meet there is a so called “check in” and “check out” providing people with the chance to “arrive”: some come from work, others from a world trip or from dinner with the family. That means each member of the group gets their own space. Furthermore there is a moderator who makes sure that each person gets the chance to speak. Or when somebody talks for too long or keeps repeating themselves, the moderator sets a frame or limit for the contribution.

    HH: How did you become part of the Ancient Trance Festival?

    CK: I have taken part since 2010. Back then I read an announcement on the bill-board saying that people were wanted. I met the team and pretty soon became part of it. Then for a few years I coordinated the press which I did because I had studied communication and media science in Leipzig. But after a while I found it monotonous, plus I had my first baby and that was the reason why I worked in the office. I liked it a lot, but it was also exhausting. Then in 2014 I joined in the artist support.

    HH: How has the program of the Ancient Trance Festival changed? Any alterations compared to 2014?

    CK: There will be many world music bands who have never played before at the Ancient Trance, but a few known bands will also participate in the festival, such as the Airtists around the Hungarian musician Aron Szilágyi. Especially with the jaw harp virtuosos there are of course always similar artists in different lineups, for example multi-instrumentalist and jaw harp player Nadishana from Russia. In 2016 he will be playing in a duo together with Dima Gorelik from Israel. We are also thinking about finding a main theme for the festival in the future, such as a musical theme for example or topics like sustainability or intercultural understanding. But these thoughts are still in process.

    HH: What are your visions about your engagement with the festival? What is motivating you? What do you hope to induce with this festival?

    CK: Well, I am motivated by the teamwork. Back then when I became part of that structure, I had some kind of aha moment: it is possible to communicate that way. Last year many were struck by the sociocracy and became interested. For example I am very impressed by the consensus decision: when we take a vote on something, we try not to decide by majority, but to attain a commonly agreed resolution.

    The Ancient Trance is not a festival going on until 3 am or even longer. At 1 am at the latest the stages are closing. But the nice thing is that afterwards there are people all over the place sitting in the meadow and playing music together, starting small sessions. The guests themselves playing music is maybe something not quite so common for festivals. At the Ancient Trance you can meet people, be it at a concert, playing music, doing the laughter yoga in the early morning hours, or at the lake enjoying the atmosphere. I think, many people are drawn by the otherness and uniqueness of the festival, and become interested in participating themselves. Many of our team were initially guests and then were up for joining in. That is what is motivating us!

    HH: What are your wishes for the future of the festival?

    CK: I wish that the Ancient Trance is growing in a “healthy way”. Many festivals were hyped and then quickly became something very big, which destroyed some of the charm of those festivals. I would not like at all to see this happening to the Ancient Trance. I rather wish that it will be growing with its resources and energies in a healthy way. Part of it will be, not to let it become a routine what we are doing, but to give space for spontaneous acting to keep the festival alive and open-minded. Open-minded in a sense of noticing what is happening around us, how society is changing, and how our guests are changing, who are the new guests and what are their wishes?

    The Ancient Trance Festival will take place from August 12th to 14th 2016. You can listen to the interview with Corinna Klinke on

    Ancient Trance Festival 2016


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