FolkWorld Live Review 09/2004 by Christian Moll

When bards (and lots of other musicians) meet
29th Bardentreffen in Nuremberg

It is amazing - have you ever heard of a real big folk and world music festival taking place in the heart of a pretty town, and there is no entrance fee? The Bardentreffen in the beautiful north Bavarian town of Nuremberg is quite unique... In 2004 already the 29th edition of the festival took place at the first weekend of August - and again it was well worth a visit.

Tancaruja, photo by The MollisThe festival started of on Friday 30th July at 7pm - and the first hard decision had to be made: either join the whole evening the great German singer songwriter Stoppok with his special festival show "Hör global, tanz lokal" (= listen globally, dance locally). Stefan Stoppok invited to this event many musicians and bands - it sounded like a unique event. But I decided to join Stoppok later the evening and to start of with Tancaruja.

The German agent and tour manager Rainer Zellner had told me to look out for this band on their first German appearence. And he is right - Tancaruja are a great band from Sardina. Tancaruja is formed around the componist, singer, songwriter, multi instrumentalist Pino Martini. But the true focal point of their live performance are the two beautiful singers Valeria Martini and Giorgia Loi. With their powerful voices they blow the audiance away... The arrangements are modern, steeped in the mediterranian traditions of Sardinia. Together with the great sunny weather the band created real holiday atmosphere.

Meanwhile on the mainstage at the market place the Stoppok party was going strong. Stoppok is skilled at combining very different bands into a seamless spectacle. The show featured Bernies Autobahn Band with their "old style" songwriter music from Germany, The Transsilvanians and their speed party music from Hungary and beyond, German singer songwriter Lüül, of course Stoppok's band and more... A great party - especially when all musicians finally came together on stage for some more songs...

Elena Gudkova, phto by The MollisSaturday started slowly, as it was a very hot day - first act I should mention is Elena Gudkova with her trio. The singer songwriter from Petersburg in Russia performed in the ruins of St. Katharina, a former church. In that church there was no air movement, so the heat became nearly unbearable - it was not to easy to keep the attention on the pretty voice of Elena. It is great to see the festivals discovering more and more the musicians from the eastern neighbours.

A fascinating very refreshing concert came from the Chilean singer songwriter Sergio Vesely. He has a great sense of humour and tells always funny and interesting stories between his songs. Add to that a nice southern German dialect with an spanish accent - highly enjoyable. His songs in this concert were mostly Chilenian songs, some own material mostly in Spanish language - but on his homepage you can see that he also does lots of different things. His performance has a special very friendly atmosphere, hope to see Sergio soon again!!!

The evening was a special affair, too. The festival arranged with Eugenio Bennato (who has played the friday evening a whole show with his Tarata Power) to put together an evening of high quality Tarantella music. So there was a unique chance to see nearly 4 hours of trance music from southern Italy - there are surely not too many possibilities to see this North of the Alps.
There were I Cantori di Carpino, Taran-Khan, Rione Junno and of course Eugenio Bennato himself with his Taranta Power. It was a great insight to a special music scene - up to now rather unknown in northern Europe. All the four bands are quite different, but all create a trance atmosphere, taking the audience completely away from their everyday problems. A highlight of the show was I Cantori di Carpino - a group of young musicians playing a number of tunes together with some of the very old (90 years) masters of the genre - fantastic.

I Cantori di Carpino, photo by The MollisAfter this hot show it was time for a beer - and you should know that if you are into good beer, Nuremberg is the place for it. But when we ordered beer from a good small brewery, we were told: No beer left today - come back tomorrow, we will work for you all night to fill more up. But we were lucky that just the famous one-litre-bottles were sold out, and it was possible to drink some beer in their pub.

The sunday was again a very hot and sunny day. The music started off with three Scottish girls, who call themselfs The Midden. They are decent musicians and they do have good singing voices - but all in all I do not like their repertoire. Many of the songs are a bit too much run of the mill folk classics with overall unspectacular arrangements. Having said that, I do like their own material, please focus more on that!

The Polkaholx play - as you might have thought - polka music. And they do play nothing else but polka music. Much of their repertoire are well known songs - from different background, but all arranged as a polka. In the heat of the afternoon it was a bit too hot to dance fast polkas at the marketplace.
Better then to go back in the ruin of St Kathanrina and listen to Lüül - a German language songwriter with fascinating texts. His band is very good, it helps to create the right atmosphere for his songs.
After a short visit of the famous Brasilian singer Marcos Valle, I headed to the Orchiestra Sw. Mikolaja. This is one of the established folk bands from Poland. They play very well arranged traditional songs from their region. A lovely way to finish a hot weekend of hot music in the beautiful town of Nuremberg.

Don't forget next year is the 30th anniversary of this great event - why not come and party with Nuremberg!!!

Festival Homepage:

Photo Credit: All photos by the Mollis: (1) Tancaruja; (2) Elena Gudkova; (3) I Cantori di Carpino.

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