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the way it goes. That is a shame. Kasia Kapela, Basia Songin and Zosia Zembrrzuska, collectively Sutari, performed in 2015. The foundation of their music is a cross-cultural, Baltic region multi- part song tradition in its Polish manifestation. Other specifically Polish music showcases have included Karolina Cicha, Maniucha & Ksawery, Mosaik and, probably the best-known act outside Poland, Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa (Warsaw Village Band). The list could go on and on, beginning, as might be expected, with the festival’s inception through to the present.


Maszewski again: “… Recent times have brought new chal- lenges. The issue of people who seek safe refuge in Europe has grown to such an extent that the wealthy Western societies con- fronted with it have found themselves unable to cope. The situa- tion has become particularly critical in those countries where the authorities inflame the sense of threat, playing on the fears of the citizens. At this point, understandable apprehension transforms into wanton aggression against strangers, which is in no way pro- portionate to the threat, if there actually is any. The migrant-relat- ed narrative which is now widespread in Poland will be a thing to be ashamed of for decades to come.”


he ‘issue’ – or plain, old-fashioned problem in Plain English – is not Poland’s alone. It is central to what is going on in this field of music that many, if not most, if not all of fRoots readers hold dear. “Instead of ask- ing whether a music festival is a place for ideological deliberations,” he concludes, “we should rather think whether it makes any sense to organise multicultural events in a world which seems to be changing for the worse, much to our unrest. Again, ‘yes’ is the only answer we see here. One should stand firm by such humanistic values as the fundamental truth that people brought up in different cultures are equal and have so much to offer one another. More festivals should be organised for the audience that thinks that way and this audience is Ethno Port’s greatest asset and treasure.”


T


Szota sums matters up concisely: “Ethno Port is not only the greatest adventure of my life and a professional challenge; it is also a holiday I look forward to all year, a longed-for meeting with open-minded people who see the world and its diversity as I do. A meeting with artists who, after several months of e-mails going to and fro feel like a family, and the audience who stay with us for a few days in this utopian, joyful haven. A meeting with people with whom I feel safest. The experience of participating in that commu- nity is invaluable and fills me with energy for the months of prepa- ration ahead. I love to walk around during the concerts, among the dancing or engrossed festival-goers and soak up the waves of their enthusiasm.”


History is never far away in the city. Perhaps that is why Ethno


Port Poznań really is one of the most optimistic and most coura- geous of music festivals anywhere in Europe.


In no particular order, special thanks to Anna Hryniewiecka, Marcin Kostaszuk, Roch Maher, Wojtek Mania, (ace translator) Szy- mon Nowak and Bozena Szota.


F Helena Matuszewska & Marta Sołek, featured in 2017


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