Music is the common language to all the citizens of the "Blue Ball" – our global village. Music is an international language helping building bridges among traditions, countries, cultures, rhythms and genres – music doesn't recognize boundaries and fences. Music connects people.
This is the idea standing behind an outstanding musical meeting in Budapest – Hungary – EuroMed Music Festival. CREMM – Common Routes of Euro-Mediterranean Music is organized by two young very enthusiastic and competent guys – Zoltan Katay and Said Tichiti, who are building an internet net among European and Mediterranean musicians, and looking for "spies" in all those countries, namely, festival organizers who can recommend them talented marvelous musicians who are willing to jump into the unknown waters of an international musical unique collaboration experience.
The origin of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership reaches back to the process initiated by the European Union in Barcelona in 1995 inspired by the global processes to enhance co-operation between the EU countries and the eastern and the southern countries of the Mediterranean Sea. The primary aim was the protection of the safety of the two regions and the economic development of the Mediterranean region. The Barcelona Declaration emphasizes the strategic importance of the Mediterranean region and of the co-operation and solidarity based on neighborhood and shared history. The Anna Lindh Foundation has been established in order to enhance the dialogue between the cultures, ideologies and religions.
The second edition of the EuroMed Music Festival took place this year from the 26th to the 28th of June in Gödör Klub in the center of Budapest, the most popular students and young people gathering place. The Festival wishes to respond to current social problems, when gaps continue to exist between civilizations and cultures, when the individuals have to face with a society that becomes more and more multicultural. The invited musicians came from twelve different countries to Budapest, in order to spend 5 days sharing their experiences in a variety of traditional and modern musical genres. They used Arab, Jewish, African, Balkan and jazz musical elements for the creation of nine new world music products that were first staged during the three-day festivals closely following each other in Budapest, Belgrade (Serbia) and Katowice (Poland).
This year, beside nine Hungarian musicians taking part in the event, Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, France, Serbia and Poland were also represented.
Each concert was a cocktail of sounds and colors led by musicians with a vast international experience. The public had the opportunity to admire the virtuosity of the Tunisian lute player, Khaled Ben Yahya, the rhythms of the Nubian percussionist Mahmoud Fadl, the songs of the western African region by the Belgian vocalist and bass player Manou Gallo, the former member of Zap Mama. Just to name some musicians more, the Israeli saxophone player Eyal Talmudi who is busy all time touring with the Balkan Beat Box, brought with him the sounds of Balkans and accompanied one of the most prestigious figure of the world music scene, Ljubomir Ninkovic. Boris Malkovsky, the Israeli Bayan (Russian button accordion) player, who is playing this year in Womex, collaborated with musicians from Finland, Poland and Hungary. Beside the musicians and the wonderful new music we heard in the festival, I was very excited by the audience – people of all ages with open mind and open ears were listening very quietly to music they never met, to sounds they are not used to hear, and they reacted very enthusiastically to the event.
The artistic production is a result from a collective creation, thus supporting new European identities, cultural pluralism and enforcing mutual enrichment of contemporary creations between Europe and its Mediterranean neighbors. The aim of the festival is also to show how music can be a mediating tool between cultures, and how a point can be reached where the different cultures join, creating new, universal values.
The event was first held in 2007 in Budapest. This year, thanks to the support of the European Union Culture Program, the festival took place in two other countries as well.
I hope very much that this wonderful project will continue in the years to come with the assistance of all world music and jazz professionals and with the funding (yes, it costs a lot of money to organize such an event) of European authorities. And if you have the opportunity to attend the next edition of EuroMed – don't hesitate – you will experience an amazing unique event. See you there!!!
This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Hungarian Museum of Trade and Tourism and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Anna Lindh Foundation.