Studijos - Karjera

International Baltic Psaltery Symposium returns to Kaunas

On 24-25 March, the International Baltic Psaltery Symposium will be taking place at the Folk Music Branch of Kaunas City Museum (event hall, L. Zamenhofo g. 4). This will be a gathering of specialists from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland researching traditional musical instruments similar to the Lithuanian kanklės. The programme will include a conference and concerts.

This is not the first event of its kind in Lithuania. Every few years, these researchers have been getting together – first in Latvia, Estonia and Finland, and then at the Kaunas City Museum in 2017 as what is now the international Kanklės Mano Rankose (“Kanklės in My Hands”) festival. And this year they are back.

Every Lithuanian knows the kanklės, and our neighbours in Latvia have kokles, but they’re not the only ones who have similar traditional plucked string instruments – the Finns have the kantele, the Estonians have the kannel, and more distant nations also have their own versions. Interestingly, in many countries, including Lithuania, this instrument is highly valued and has an important symbolic meaning for the nation.

The symposium programme will include concerts as well as a conference to share the latest research in instrument history, ethnomusicology, and performance and teaching experience. The event will be attended not only by researchers, but also by musicians who are well-known in their respective countries.

One of the participants will be Valdis Muktupāvels, a pioneer in the revival of traditional instruments in Latvia. Mr Muktupāvels is both a composer and an expert on Latvian and Baltic traditional and modern musical culture – he studies its social aspects, traditions and change, musical instruments, and identity issues. During the concerts, listeners will have a chance to hear Mr Muktupāvels’s improvisations with traditional Latvian kokles. Another key figure in the Latvian folklore movement is Ilmars Pumpurs – an ethnomusicologist and instrument maker. Mr Pumpurs works for the Skaņumāja association (which means “House of Sounds” in Latvian), where he teaches students how to play traditional music on various instruments. He and his wife Sandra play several ancient musical instruments and are working to return them to modern life. During the symposium, Mr Pumpurs will talk about traditional music in present-day life, and during the concerts, he and his wife Sandra will play the thumb-plucked Latvian kokles and zither.

Estonia will be represented by several famous musicians: Tuule Kann and Tarmo Kivisilla will play traditional and contemporary kannel music, Dr Juhan Uppin will present the tradition of the thumb-plucked Estonian kannel, and Anna Liisa Eller will introduce guests to a professional Estonian instrument – the chromatic kannel – and the subtleties of playing it.

Fans of kanklės music have already become fond of Arja Kastinen’s traditional yet very modern-sounding improvisations with the little kantele. Guests will have the chance to hear them during the symposium, as with the music of the Finnish Kave-duo. Two professional musicians, Hanna Ryynänen and Dr Timo Väänänen, will be playing various instruments – in addition to the Finnish kantele, their performance will feature the nares-jux, a five-string instrument from Western Siberia, as well as the Gdańsk gusli. Renowned Finnish kantele builder Rauno Nieminen will also be attending the symposium.

Needless to say, the symposium will feature Lithuanian kanklės music as well. There will be performances by Vytautas Alenskas, the Skriaudžiai Kanklės ensemble, Vilius Marma, academic kanklės performer and educator Dr Regina Marozienė, and others.

The detailed event programme will be announced soon. The event will be broadcast online. The event will be in English. The International Baltic Psaltery Symposium is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.

Event partners: Kaunas Food Industry and Trade Training Centre, Kaunas Folklore Club Linago, Kadujo, UAB Pūkas, Prienai District Veiveriai Culture and Leisure Centre, Šiauliai Saulius Sondeckis Gymnasium of Arts, Lithuanian Theatre, Music and Cinema Museum, National Museum of Lithuania, Biržai Regional Museum Sėla, Trimitatis National Music Association, the Estonian Folklore Council, the Estonian Kannel Association, NVO Skaņumāja (Latvia).

Pranešimą paskelbė: Aurelija Gervickaitė, Kauno miesto muziejus

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