WATER AND SOUND
Festival of Cultures
27.7.- 30.7., 5. & 6.8.23
With the acclaimed concert of the Kurdish singer Aynur together with the ensemble of the Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra on the open-air stage, Water&Sound 2023 came to a crowning conclusion. From 27.7. to 6.8.23, the focus was on the Mediterranean region as an exciting musical melting pot. In spite of the occasionally uncomfortable weather, most of the concerts remained dry and numerous visitors celebrated the cosmopolitan sounds of global music on the first weekend in the Annahof and on the Rathausplatz: deeply impressive the Occitan chants of the French group San Salvador, rousing the psychedelic urban fusion sounds of Bab L’Bluz (Morocco, France) and Al-Qasar (France). The water bird moved into the city center in a new colorful appearance along Augsburg’s waterways and got some company in the form of a creation by the Kinact Collective. The production with Maria Mazzotta (Italy) revealed nuances between traditional tarantella music, indie and jazz in the interplay with the band The Waterbirds, formed especially for the festival.
The Augsburger Allgemeine wrote: “Mazzotta’s sung lament for the dead who desperately demand Mediterranean crossings on overcrowded rubber dinghies is oppressive, her hymns of friendship and love are beautiful. Melancholy and exuberance go hand in hand. This performance is like the blueprint of this festival – people from all imaginable cultural backgrounds find each other in front of, next to and on stage and celebrate a festival where something common emerges from something different. And where everything counts but one thing: namely, what is stamped on the front of the passport.”
Simultaneously on the Rathausplatz, the spectacularly unusual sound of Ag Dan Gwang Chil from South Korea sparkled with joy and dynamism.
In 2023, the concept of artistic director Girisha Fernando again included a supporting program in cooperation with the World Heritage Office and other stakeholders such as the University of Augsburg and the tba21 Academy. Inspiring panels discussed topics such as water ethics, Odyssean odysseys of ships carrying hazardous waste, the relevance of the oceans worth protecting, and the relatives of the musics of Southern Europe and North Africa. Here, the role of the Mediterranean as a “connector” of cultures, as a place of dialogue, encounter and cultural exchange – but at the same time a conflict zone and a hard political border – was once again made clear. Also inspired by themes related to the ecology of the Mediterranean are paintings by French artist Gala Vanson, which were on display for the first time in the max neu(n) vacancy.
Last weekend, the groups Monsieur Doumani (Cyprus) and Fanfara Station (Italy / Tunisia / Canada) presented further facets of contemporary Mediterranean music at Kuhsee – directly on the water and in the immediate vicinity of three World Heritage objects – and were exuberantly celebrated for it.
CROSSING BORDERS WITH MUSIC
New in the video series “Crossing borders with music”: Fatoumata Diawara with “An Ka Bin” live on the open-air stage 2022. “Crossing borders with music” was created in 2020 during the lockdowns to keep creative collaborations alive and to document in-house productions and creative processes.