DiaryPosted by Anders Flodin Sun, July 06, 2014 18:47:06
Friday 4 July
A brilliant morning. Bright sunshine, blue sky, and to help you getting a good start of the day, there is some news and positive traditional music blaring from a lamp post attached loudspeakers right outside the cottage gates. We were later told that it was probably the mayor doing his own advertisements or telling of something important happening in the village, followed by some music of his own choice – and probably about 30 years old. During the communist days this kind of information from loudspeakers in villages and towns was very common and just about everywhere. Luckily this morning music was a lot slower and relaxing than the frantic gypsy music from yesterday. Gypsy or Roma people, or music, what to call them? In this diary both words appear. From my own Sweden we’ve been taught to use Roma these days as gypsy has some negative connotations. Our friends here in Bratislava favour using gypsy as they are used to it, grown up with it and use that in everyday talk, while they use Roma in a somewhat more formal way.
The little creek below the cottage kept on flowing and added to the Pribylina soundtrack. After breakfast we headed back to the Kulturny Dom, the Cultural Centre. Today the staff got additions in the form of Maria from Praha, a very important person in this project. She has been working with Roma people for about 11 years. She is a Roma herself and started her dedicated work back when there was a lot of skinhead riots in Praha, where Roma people were attacked, beaten and even killed for no reason. Now she came with her two sons, a daughter in law and a musician friend of one of her sons. It was very obvious that this was her people as she straight away took charge. There were two teachers from the local school too. Still, then the show was taken over by them again. They were to do two songs and then we were to do two songs. Our two songs never happened though, as their two songs lasted the whole day. Besides taped music suddenly there was an electric keyboard on a chair, someone came carrying a guitar, a young boy from yesterday came with an electric guitar and two boys started singing.
Irena (?), one of the local teachers said that ”They only want to do singing and dancing. They don’t like writing very much.” Their fanatic singing and dancing was captivating, but after a couple of hours some of the tunes were eating into the brain and I feared the songs would keep on going in my head for days on end. They did. Later in the afternoon I went for a run and I had one of those songs going around in my head the whole time – despite having the most incredible views with Kirvan, the fourth highest mountain in Slovakia, right in front of me for a few kilometres.
At the end of the day Anders was reading his notes and his planned programme and schedule for these first two days.
”It’s just to tick all the items off,” he said and laughed.
Nothing has gone according to plan and the saying for these two days has been ”Det blir som det blir,” (It will be what it will be), famously quoted from one of Anders’ lessons back at the Örebro university.
In the evening we went for a most enjoyable dinner at a restaurant in Podbanske, the next village up the road. Maria kept telling stories and shared her thoughts on the situation for the Roma people in the Czech and Slovak republics, interspersed with her own life. From the start with her work eleven years ago it now filled her life and gave both her sons full time work as well as the 90 employees.
Another memorable day – and another soccer game in the World Cup right now on the t.v.
DiaryPosted by Anders Flodin Sun, July 06, 2014 18:32:21
Thursday 3 July
The rain has finally stopped and what sounds like the rain
is a swiftly flowing creek below the cottage.
Slowly shrouds of clouds lift and disperse and instead the splendour of
the Tatra mountains appear, with snow on the higher summits. The highest peak is this part of the world is
close to 2700 metres. The one you can
see from the verandah, Krivan, is the fourth highest in Slovakia.
Let’s see, what was this day of music workshops supposed to
be about. It was a group of musicians
and educators from the far north, plus Beata Greggersen from Bratislava, were
to conduct workshops about music with Roma children from the Roma part of
Pribylina village. Anders suggested that
everybody probably had to be prepared to improvise. It took about half an hour of introduction
and efforts before the show had completely been taken over by the Roma
children. The Kulturny Dom, the Cultural
Centre – a grey, inconspicuous concrete building behind the little shop in Pribylina
– turned into a Emir Kusturica film set.
The music educators from a land called Sweden were redundant and the
children took over. First the percussion
workshop broke all records when it came to number of children and simultaneous
activity on each instrument – such as half a dozen playing fiercely on the
marimba. Then the local technician had
some recorded music and it all turned into a giant karaoke, dancing and acting
session. A couple of girls did the
singing, young boys did percussion and everybody was dancing madly. A young boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old, dressed
in blue and wearing a traditional male hat, suddenly became the focal point
with his confident dancing. In the
evening, sitting on the couch in the cottage where we’re staying, summarised
the day as a ”pedagogisk buklandning” – whatever that can be translated
as. Pedagogical belly landing? Hmm….
Emelie and Robert conducted percussion exercises, Anders
tried various voice exercises to make different vocal sounds and Simon did
sounds with natural materials.
Kulturny Domo was a 1950’s type of building, grey concrete,
big stage with wooden floor. In all it
was lots of noise, lots of music, the highest possible level of participation
by everyone and it sure turned out to something else than planned. It was all very unforgettable in many ways
and brought endless smiles and laughter.
They had organised catering for lunch, which was very
good. Potato and cabbage stew, a big
beef rissole and a slice of bread.
The rest of the day was for recovering, relaxation, sharing
impressions and thoughts and some evening cooking. The magnificent Tatra mountains showed its
best as a backdrop. Thanks everyone for
a most wonderful day.
DiaryPosted by Anders Flodin Wed, July 02, 2014 08:50:46
We all woke up early this morning. Today we are traveling from Bratislava to Pribylina in the Tatra mountains. We will take a short break from this blog for some days because the lack of Wi-Fi but we will be back on Sunday when we are in Warszaw.
Wednesday 2 July 2014
”Your task now is to write some kind of diary. In English. Starting today.” That’s the instruction from Anders F., so
here it is. Today is 2 July and today
started in Zahorska Bystrica on the northern outskirts of Bratislava. From
Bratislava to Pribylina, from the Austrian border by the Danube River to the
foothills of the Tatra mountains near the border to Poland. A very interesting day.
We aimed for the E75 freeway to the north east and upon
hitting the freeway we pressed the play button on the cd player. A freeway in the former Eastern Europe
deserves Sofia Rotaru and Ukrainian schlager.
After driving the freeway for a while we took the eit to get to Beckov
village, or town. A small town with a lovely little attractive square with a
restaurant, a small shop and a small obelisk with a cross on top. Just beyond
was a church and the high cliff with the imposing ruins of Beckov castle. It occupied the whole cliffe, including a
well with its own protective walls.
Then we kept on with the long drive to Pribylina. An
excellent freeway to Zilina and then something else, the old narrow, windy
highway along river valleys. Towns with
their share of rusty factories and cement factories and forests of billboards,
at the same time as the valleys closed in and the landscape became more and
more spectacular. Onwards to Pribylina,
a small village near the mountains. We
found neither shop or somewhere to eat, but outside the village there was a
sign saying restaurant. A few kilometres
on a forest road, a clearing with an inviting log cabin saying it had pension
and restaurant. Wonderful. We wondered if this was bear country and
expected the bear hunters to wander into the clearing from the surrounding
mountains, carrying the catch on their shoulders. We ordered food – and tried both the pasta,
duck, venison, tuna, pork and sheep cheese soup. A terrific spot, a terrific meal.
Now we’ve set up camp in Beata’s mother’s house in
Pribylina. A few metres down the hill is
Palo’s house, which is where Beata grew up and which was built by her
grandfather’s father I think. He had
been to America, came home with enough money to buy blocks of land and get
started here. Palo quickly wondered if we wanted some home brewed beer and when
Anders declined, Palo looked so said that it was very obvious that was not the
correct answer to the invitation. ”Oh
yes, we’d like a beer,” we said. Then
the question was if that was beer with a schnapps – presumably it should be
that way. Luckily Josef was with us and
was quick to say yes, so Anders and I could decline that part of the beer
drinking ceremony. A small glass of beer
turned out to be a huge one litre jug.
The beer room was in a cellar made of concrete blocks. No door, no
windows, but the hole called door had been knocked out at a later stage. Anders, being the scholar he is, quickly saw
history in the place and that this was the ancient cave where the stone age
ancestors had lived happily. For
thousands of years they had been sitting in the cave, drinking home brew and
eating bread (the flat bread tray with a very long handle was hanging in the
ceiling). One day they got bored,
knocked out a door in the wall, climbed out in the sunshine and decided this was
a good place. They settled Slovakia and
Beata’s family started to spread.
Across the back yard was some spruces and beyond that some
simple wooden houses and shacks. ”That’s
the ghetto,” Beata had explained when we
first got there. That’s the part of
Pribylina where the Roma people lived.
When Beata grew up here they were called gypsies of course and that’s
where she had many of her friends too.
The cottage where we’ve happily settled in for the night is overlooking
mountains and forest and, in the foreground, a part of Europe that is very
different from where we are coming from.
The rain has been pouring down. I took a walk up to the little store, open
one hour in the evening, to find some bread and biscuits. The boy in front of me in the tiny store,
where you did your shopping across the counter, got half a loaf of bread. I got the other, remaining half. Hans
DiaryPosted by Anders Flodin Tue, July 01, 2014 11:16:50
Today Seth-Reino, Emelie and Robert went of with the boat to Vienna. Seth-Reino wanted to meet an old friend and Emelie and Robert wanted to have a walk through the city. Simon is working hard to finish his musical drama and discovered that most of his files disappeared from the computer yesterday. Anders have an appointment to sign a contract for the festival later this week and later in the afternoon Anders and Simon will make an interview for a local paper. Hans made a new acquaintance with the neighbors and where invited to the house and the wine cellar. It is impressing! He have been here in ten hours and is socialized into the society as a local.
DiaryPosted by Anders Flodin Mon, June 30, 2014 11:53:05
The rain poured down during the night and the air has become much colder. Robert, Emile and Seth-Reino went into the old city center, while Simon and Anders sitting at home and work. This afternoon Hans is arriving by train from Brno and will be with us the rest of the journey. Beata is working to organize the next few days in Pribylina ordering catering and coordinating communication with teachers and participants.
DiaryPosted by Anders Flodin Sun, June 29, 2014 09:43:03
We all woke up at 9am for breakfast. It was a day off after yesterday. In the afternoon we went to the restaurant Pohostinstvo U Iváka
opposite Beata's house for dinner and in the evening we watched the World Cup on television.
DiaryPosted by Anders Flodin Sat, June 28, 2014 11:41:42
Simon waking up, still has a cold. Nice breakfast in the garden, also serving cherries from the trees. Preparation for todays outdoor concert at 5 pm. Washing cloths. For the new member, Bora, a little 2 months daxon puppy, it is the first morning in her new home. We made two concerts with one hour break. Jan Zach, an old friend of Anders, came to the second concert and it was very nice to have a long chat with him after the concert. A wonderful evening.
DiaryPosted by Anders Flodin Fri, June 27, 2014 08:04:09
The sun is shining. 29 degrees in the air. Summer has arrived to Bratislava.
Two eager carpenters manufacturing the perfect bamboo wind chimes from scratch. Their musician friends left for the city center to buy ice hockey skates and vegetables.
The carpenters turned out composers (after all) and went to visit professor Jevgenij Irschai and his family in Peterzalka and had a very nice evening with them discussing the essentials of life over food and wine.