There are many great world music festivals in Poland, but the unique atmosphere of the EthnoPort is hard to beat. Every June it changes the center of Poznan into a colorful mosaic of musical traditions.
The spirit of the festival is uplifting and vibrant and by far more inclusive than anything I’ve ever seen anywhere before. Enough to say, we’ve been dancing shoulder to shoulder with the director each night, artists were hanging out with people and the festival club did not close before the dawn.
But, first and foremost, we could see some great musicians on three stages. An intimate, unornamented kora show of Ballake Sissoko, twisted cumbia beats of Las Piranas; fierce Romanian melodies from the legendary Taraf de Haidouks; a mesmerizing, trance-inducing maloya songs from Danyel Waro and a theatrical performance by Iva Bittova. And these are the highlights, as the festival program featured 20 different acts, which left me breathless and gasping for air on the dancefloor again and again. No wonder some of the audience coined a new nickname for me: “the dancing photographer” 🙂
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the festival doesn’t limit its activities to music. One can watch socially engaged movies in the festival cinema or attend meetings with human-rights activists or writers. There are plenty of workshops and activities for kids, too.
EthnoPort is a joyful and friendly meeting place for musical cultures from around the world. You should come see for yourself.