Planning each subsequent Ethno Port Poznań—2023 will see the sixteenth edition (!)—naturally raises questions: how is this year’s festival different from the previous ones? How has the festival changed since we launched it in 2008?
Among many others, the most significant change was relocating from the Old Warta Channel to the Castle. Over the years, the financial capacity fluctuated, as sometimes we were able afford to stage sixteen concerts, while at other times we simply could not go for it on such a scale. New audiences are there as well each year, although the festival faithfuls still make up a large proportion of participants. However, our core idea and the structure of the entire programme have remained unchanged.
What distinguishes this year’s Ethno Port from its past editions is, in the first place, the reality in which we live. In the early years, fascination with the wealth of cultures and the need to learn about them seemed self-evident in an open world built around humanistic values. We naively lived in the belief that racism, xenophobia, nationalism and fascism were in retreat and did not threaten our increasingly beautiful and colourful lives. The ongoing war across our eastern border—the most terrible and vivid outcome of consistently fuelled hatred of the other—is proof of how wrong we were.
While the involvement of many Poles in helping Ukrainians is a wonderful social experience, numerous developments in our country today are a cause for concern. Reluctance towards strangers has been on the rise since the 2015 migration crisis. Despite our willingness to make sacrifices for our neighbours, with whom we share cultural affinity, we are increasingly indifferent to the fact that people are dying on the border with Belarus. A steadily growing number of people become victims of pushbacks: the unethical and inept response of the Polish authorities to the provocations of a ruthless dictator. We are getting used to the horrors of war, and tend to normalize death to an even greater degree.
As an event which invariably celebrates and respects the achievements of diverse cultures, Ethno Port seeks to respond to the evil happening around us. It does so using the language it knows best. Among others, this year’s festival is going to feature the unique polyphonic music of the of the Aka Pygmy people, whose humanity was denied for centuries not only by white colonizers, but also by their African neighbours. We will also hear artists from Kurdistan, the nation trying to find its place on the world map. Most significantly, however, we will have the pleasure of hosting performers from Ukraine, our special guests. Naturally, our invitation goes to all refugees from Ukraine—the new residents of our city—to join us for the entire festival.
The concerts will be the central events of the festival, as always. There will be as many as fourteen, with three held for the first time on a stage located in the Adam Mickiewicz Park. (Thus, instead of laying a grass lawn in front of the Castle, we will use the natural green carpet around the park's fountain). There will be no shortage of workshops run by festival guests, events for the youngest audiences, film screenings and meetings devoted to important social issues. The latter are being prepared in cooperation with the Lepszy Świat Association, who will be delivering their “Promigration Alliances” project during Ethno Port.
We promise to do our best to make the three June days an enclave of normality and cheerfulness, a venue of openness and friendly atmosphere. May they bring us all hope that a better world is possible, and show us that in the one we live in today, we still have each other.
When the history of Ethno Port began in 2008, little did we know how fascinating the journey we were embarking on would be. For starters, we found a beautiful, though somewhat neglected space on the river near the very heart of the city, and it was there that we decided to arrange a meeting of artists playing ethnic music with the audience. From the beginning, our most important task was to strive for the best possible quality of the encounter, ensure a splendid atmosphere and excellent arrangements. However, we worried how many people would actually come to the festival.
On Friday, June 13th, 2008, the first night in the festival’s history, it turned out that the number of people who knew a thing or two about ethnic music and expected to hear the best it can offer sufficed to create an unforgettable atmosphere during the shows. Meanwhile, the artists performing at the first Ethno Port, such as Värttina, Chemirani Ensemble, Adama Drame or Oumou Sangare set the standard which would then characterize all subsequent editions.
In 2013, the most important and the riskiest decision in the history of the festival was taken; Ethno Port relocated from the riverside plot to ZAMEK Culture Centre. The new formula, taking advantage of the potential of interiors which had just been completely overhauled at the castle, stood the test, while the transformation of the monumental stone edifice into a colourful venue proved a fascinating challenge.
Throughout the last fourteen years, Ethno Port saw over 150 bands and performers from all corners of the globe. About a third among those are artists from Poland, whom we consistently showcase along with the most outstanding personalities of world music. It cannot be denied that the list of all acts who came to Poznań is nothing short of imposing:
47Soul / Adam Strug Kompania / Ballaké Sissoko / DakhaBrakha / Danyèl Waro, Debashish Bhattacharya & Kacper Malisz / Dom Tańca Poznań / Driss El Maloumi / Félix Lajkó Trio / Iva Bittová & Čikori Los Pirañas / Maniucha i Ksawery / Mari Boine / Michał Felter „Polmuz” / Mosaik / Taraf De Haïdouks / Trio López / Petrakis / Chemirani / A Filetta / Abavuki / Adama Dramé / Alamut / Alireza Ghorbani / Amit Carmeli & Joca Perpignan / Andrew Cronshaw & Svetlana Spajić & Tigran Aleksanyan / Arifa / Balkan Beat Box / Banda Nella Nebbia / Baraji / Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba / Bijan Chemirani / Boban & Marko Marković Orchestra / Bubliczki / Čači Vorba / Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino / Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita / Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole / Celso Piña / Charming Hostess / Chemirani’s / Chicuelo / Christine Salem / Cumbia All Stars / Cüneyt Sepetçi & Orchestra Dolapdere / Dagadana / Dakha Brakha / Debashish Bhattacharya / Desert Slide / Dhafer Youssef / Dikanda / Dimitris Mystakidis / Djivan Gasparyan / Dom Tańca Poznań / Dubioza Kolektiv / Dżezbandyta / Fadia Tomb El-Hage / Eva Quartet / Faiz Ali Faiz / Fanfara Transilvania / Fanfaraï / Fanfare Ciocărlia / Ganesh-Kumaresh / Félix Lajkó / Fláre Beás Band / Gadająca Tykwa / Gramy! / Gulaza / Habib Koité & Bamada / Hanggai / Hee-Moon Lee Company / Hossein Alizadeh & Pejman Hadadi / Houria Aïchi & L’Hijâz’Car / Hysni(Niko) Zela & Albanian Isopolyphonic Choir / Ibrahim Maalouf / Ifriqiyya Electrique / Indialucia / Ionică Minune Band & Alex Simu / Iva Bittová & Lisa Moore / Jambinai / Janusz Prusinowski Trio / Jean-Luc Thomas & Yvon Riou / Joanna Słowińska / Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara / Kalàscima / Kapela Hałasów / Kapela Maliszów / Kapela ze wsi Warszawa & Mercedes Peón / Karolina Cicha & Bart Pałyga / Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan / Kimmo Pohjonen / Klezmafour / Krzikopa / LA-33 / Lautari / Le Trio Joubran / Les Tambours de Brazza / Lo Còr de la Plana / Lula Pena / Maalem Mokhtar Gania & Michael Zerang & Wacław Zimpel / Mairtin O’Connor Band / Mariana Sadovska / Mari Boine / Maria Pomianowska / Masala Soundsystem / Moh! Kouyaté / Mosaic / Motion Trio / Muzsikás / Muzykanci / Na Visoko / Nawal / Noreum Machi / Noura Mint Seymali / Oumou Sangare / Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia / Panjabi MC / Pekko Käppi / Rabasa / Radio Cos / Raphael Rogiński & Genowefa Lenarcik / Renata Rosa / Ross Daly / Rube Świnÿe / R.U.T.A / Sefardix Trio / Selamnesh & Badume's Band / Shafqat Ali Khan / Sirventés / Söndörgő / Speed Caravan / Staff Benda Bilili / Sutari / Taksim Trio / Tamikrest / Taraf De Haidouks / Titi Robin / Tarek Abdallah & Adel Shams el Din / Teresa Mirga i Kałe Bała / Transglobal Underground / Transkapela / Trebunie Tutki & Twinkle Brothers / Trio 3MA / Tsigunz Fanfara Avantura / uKanDanz / Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin / Värttinä / Vidlunnia / Village Kollektiv / Violons Barbares / Wimme / WoWaKin / Yat- Kha / Yemen Blues / YeShe / Zofia Dragan & Kapela Manugi / Żywiołak / Sutari / Taksim Trio / Tamikrest / Taraf De Haidouks / Titi Robin /
Tarek Abdallah & Adel Shams el Din / Teresa Mirga i Kałe Bała / Transglobal Underground / Transkapela / Trebunie Tutki & Twinkle
Brothers / Trio 3MA / Tsigunz Fanfara Avantura / uKanDanz / Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin
/ Värttinä / Vidlunnia
Violons Barbares / Wimme / WoWaKin / Yat- Kha / Yemen Blues / YeShe / Zofia Dragan & Kapela Manugi / Żywiołak / Sutari / Fanfara Awantura / Noiseband / Przodki / Kapela Dudziarzy Wielkopolskich / Timingeriu / Mehehe / Released Sounds Trio / Nasta Niakrasava / Vorsoba & Porakh / Koło Jana / Baul Meets Saz / Kapela Brodów / Odpoczno / Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda / The Como Mamas / Laboratorium Pieśni / Nooran Sisters / The Garifuna Collective / Lankum / Lina Babilonia y Son Ancestros / Evritiki Zygia / Lemma – Souad Asla / Kapela Niwińskich / Maija Kauhanen / Waed Bouhasssoun / Super Parquet /
Yegor Zabelov / Wernyhora / Masar / Okra Playground / Trio Da Kali /
Zawierucha / Cimbalom Brothers / The Sero / Justin Adams & Mauro
Durante / Sepia Ensemble