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A retrospective of World Experience Festival 2019: a one of the kind edition that invited the audience to a musical journey around the world, through amazing artists and vivid rhythms, brought to Romania for the 1st time

Between 13-16th of June, “Simion Bărnuţiu” Central Park and the Urban Cultural Center “Casino” in Cluj-Napoca were both part of a multicultural adventure approaching the unpredictable rhythms of the world.

The just ended 5th edition, organized under “The Unheard Music” theme, was dedicated to the way the people of Cluj can meet over 25 cultures in 4 days and also to the manner the world’s diversity can be celebrated through music. Cluj-Napoca was the host of the fifth edition of World Experience Festival, with a fascinating and exotic program of live performances, creative workshops and interactive musical activities such as artists talks, VR corner and original exhibitions. The people of Cluj have had a very first contact with the extensive multicultural program of the festival, whose newly branded concept involved the audience of all ages to discover and experience the cultural diversity of the world through a range of innovative activities.

World Experience Festival brought to the foreground a fascinating musical route around the Globe, proposing at the same time an original and exotic journey on the World music scene which provided a gateway to other cultures, represented by over 100 emerging artists. They presented to the public of Cluj-Napoca the most representatives geographical areas soundtracks’ such as Senegal, Indonesia, Thailand, Iraq, Spain, Iran, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Haiti, Egypt, India, the Netherlands and so on.

 

Among the artists performing on the festival stage we can list: Indonesia Baroque (Indonesia, West Java), Apichat Pakwan (Thailand, Netherlands), Tarabband (Iraq / Egypt, Sweden), Sin Fronteras (Peru), JMO band Jan Galega Brönnimann – (Senegal, Switzerland), Mohamad Zatari & Michael Acker (Syria / Romania), Lela Soto Trio Flamenco (Spain), Mozayek (Syria), Pape Djiby Ba & Orchestre Afro Suisse (Senegal, Switzerland, France), Moonlight Benjamin (Haiti, France), Sahaja Yoga (India), Manu Vera Tudela (Peru), Exotica Radio (Portugal), Balasa Percussion with the “Groove” project, Cercul Întreg with Dao Drift Collective Jam Session, traditional Chinese music and dances presented by the Confucius Institute, as well as representatives of the national minorities from the Hellenic Union, the Karaševska Zora (Croatian Union) and the Ruthenian Union.

The active audience participating in the festival’s activities consisted of over 10.000 people, attracting both city dwellers and expats, foreign tourists and students.

“This year’s edition purpose was to challenge a new audience, new even for us as organizers, to encourage people to discover authentic artistic rhythms and stories, presented in a cultural mosaic from all over the world, beyond what is usually broadcast on TV and Radio. Apart from this, the invited artists have transposed the authenticity of their cultures on the festival stage in a very touching manner, the event also focusing on diversity, the line-up being conceived to include musicians from different continents, so that the musical fusion can be truly guaranteed. These are only a few proofs according to which the music unites people beyond race, language or political ideology. The direct interaction between the public and artists was much easier than in the case of large-scale festivals, where even physical distance to scene diminishes the relationship between the 2 categories. In the case of World Experience Festival, artists often spoke directly to the audience, invited people to dance, or, after coming down the stage, exchanged direct impressions with them. Some of the artists, upon ending their moment on the stage, preferred to keep staying in the public to listen to the next performance. I was extremely happy to see the visitors being so open-minded to experience something new” – said Andreea Dănescu, the World Experience Festival director.

 

The festival was attended by an official delegation from Indonesia, who accompanied the artistic group Indonesia Baroque, who also met with the Mayor Emil Boc, respectively Ms. Inggrid Rosalina – Diplomatic Advisor at the Economic Section, Nathalian Hasta Panca – Cultural Section, from Bandung City Local Authority, Western Java Province Indonesia: Priana Wirasaputra Wasdi – Special Representative of Mayor Oded M. Danial and Ms. Dewi Kania Sari – Director of the Tourism and Culture Bureau,  taking this opportunity to discuss the possibility of implementing future cultural projects involving the authorities in Cluj and Bandung and also twining these two cities. In addition, His Excellencies, Ambassadors of Syria – Walid Othman and Switzerland – Arthur Mattli, attended the shows dedicated to their countries.

The World of Sounds Exhibition, organized throughout the 4 days of the festival, consisted of a range of authentic musical instruments that visitors could play & interact with, VR games, Xbox technologies, interactive music apps, a world music map brought to life by Cities & Memories and also videos screenings various short-documentaries on musical traditions in the participating countries. All these elements invited the audience to take an imaginary tour around the globe, bringing to mind the ethnical musical specificity, the typical musical instruments and the musical ties between the nations. During the whole period of the festival, for the first time in Cluj-Napoca, it was possible for the local audience to visit an exhibition of traditional musical instruments from several corners of the world. The exhibition featured dozens of traditional musical instruments with diverse origins, mysterious and educational stories from the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Far East, which created a portal to a world of sounds and spiritual life of more than 30 civilizations. A range of musical workshops were also carried out by a number of seasoned invited artists who explained the audience both the cultural context of the music origins from various corners of the world and also the techniques of the traditional musical instruments, along with a variety of dancing master-classes (Irish dance, Latin-American dances, Brazilian capoeira) and cultural ceremonies for each nation.

 

The festival brought in the newly discovered city, besides the energy of the sounds, the revealing respect, tolerance and openness to the rest of the world, being an opportunity for the intercultural cooperation between artists and the public, and exploring the activities showing that music can be experienced in a big number of ways, some even unexpected and spontaneous.

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The team of WEF 2019:

Andreea Dănescu – Director & Founder of World Experience Festival, Prresident of Asociația Escu

Alina Ciulei – Project Manager, Asociația Escu

Dorian Obreajan – Communication Manager, Asociația Escu

Vadim Ciocazan – Art director

Gheorghe Pop – Logistics Manager

Cristina Clima and Octavian Caldarari – PR contributors

Valentin Micu – Photographer

Denisa Morariu Tamaș and Cristian Tamaș – Video editors

Nicolae Barbu – Business Development Manager

Special thanks to:

Ovidiu Câmpean and Călin Forna – City Hall and the Cluj-Napoca Local Council

Adina Pop, The Urban Cultural Centre „Casino”

Irina Cioș – Administration of the National Cultural Fund

Tatiana Călin and Viorica Calmâc – Ministry of Culture and National Identity

Lacziko Enikő Katalin – The Department for Interetnic relations

Anna-Katharina Scheidereiter and Bogdan Brohanschi – Kaufland Romania

Silviu Apostol and Irina Ionescu – Coca-Cola HBC Romania

Alexandra Moldovan – ATP Exodus Group

Bianca Apahidean – Unita Turism Cluj

Ruedee Cheawsamoot – Tourism Authority of Thailand, Prague Office

Gabriela Leu – UNHCR Romania

Oana Bițan – The Embassy of Sweden

Raluca Alhaddad – The Embassy of the Arab Republic of Syria

Rozalia Petcu – The Embassy of Spain

Liliana Ciurea – The Embassy of Switzerland

Mara Cernat – STEYsha School of Irish Dance

Raluca Popescu – Valvis Holding

Claudiu Sugar – Crama Salina

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World Experience Festival is a project initiated and organized by ESCU Association, co-funded by the National Cultural Fund Administration, the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, the Cluj-Napoca City Hall, the Department for Interethnic Relations, the Government of Romania, ProHelvetia, in partnership with the Romanian National Commission for UNESCO, The Embassy of the Swiss Confederation, the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Embassy of Ireland, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (Prague Office) and InfoCons.

Sponsors and partners: Kaufland, Coca-Cola HBC Romania through the „After us (Dupa noi)” platform, ATP Motors, Domeniile Samburesti, Unita Turism, Crama La Salina.

Media partners: TVR, Agerpres, ClujLife, Cluj For Youth, Cluj.com, Radio România Cluj, EBS Radio, Feeder.ro, I Like Cluj, Festivalier, Iqads, Smark, Telekom Electronic Beats, Romania-Insider.com, Modernism, Șapte Seri Cluj, Romania Pozitiva, The Romania Journal, InfoTrafic, Media Trust, Cluju.ro, Cluj Web Story, Stiri ONG.ro, România Pozitivă, Radio România Cultural and bloggers: Munteanu.ro, Andreialbu.com și CameliaCrisan.com.

Other partners and collaborators of the festival: Innovative Professional Services, Parametru Productions, Paradigma Film, Exotica Radio, Steysha School of Irish Dance, Confucius Institute of Babeș-Bolyai University, Polish Institute, Sahaja Yoga, Cercul Întreg.