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“Pokrovskye Kolokola” (Pokrov Bells) is an international festival, which in a short time managed to gain great authority not only in Lithuania, but also outside it and became one of the most prestigious festivals in Lithuania. Performances are held on the most prestigious stages: at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, the Orthodox and Catholic churches, museums. “Pokrovskye Kolokola” is the only festival in the Baltic States, which annually asks composers to write in the style of World music.

The festival is named in honor of the Orthodox feast – Protection of the Holy Virgin. As you know, in old times, people completed all the farm work by the autumnal period and began celebrating village festivals, weddings; fairs were held, accompanied by singing, dancing and festivities. It is exactly on 14th October, 2004 the first festival was organized. All members of our ensemble named the international festival “Pokrovskye Kolokola”, held in Vilnius in 2004, one of the best events we were lucky enough to take part – this review given by the team of The Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory was published in the authoritative publication Bulletin of Russian Folklore Union.

It is not so simple to become a member of the grand folk festival: foreign teams are sending their entries, which are monitored and selected by well-known folklorists; ensembles from Lithuania are participating in the preliminary competition. That is not surprising: the festival organizers require participants to perform the high standard of professionalism, invite only real heirs of the national traditions. This is not only masters’ principled approach; such requirements are dictated by the desire to present the best examples of folk art to multinational audience.

Initially, it was decided to hold the festival every two years. The second festival was held in 2006, the third in 2008. That year was a turning point in the festival history. At that time the whole country was preparing for the great event: in 2009, Vilnius was recognized the European Capital of Culture. The festival “Pokrovskye Kolokola”was invited to be a part of this program and proudly gained confidence of this important government program organizers. It was the time when the idea appeared to appeal to composers and try to combine the musical language of modernity with spiritual values of antiquity. So popular worldwide trend in music – World music – has not yet been sufficiently developed in Lithuania. One of the founders of such music in Lithuania is Linas Rimsha. In his works the world folklore takes fundamental place and intelligently intertwined with other musical genres and styles. The mystery Old Faith by Linas Rimsha was presented to the audience of the festival “Pokrovskye Kolokola”2009 at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society, and later at the Moscow International House of Music. Leading Moscow musicians called it a breakthrough in modern music. The compact disc was published twice, and later the right to re-release the album was received by a well-known UK company ARC Music. This undeniable success has inspired the organizers to continue the started tradition. Thus were born the works of A.Doynikov “Ethnosphere – a New Breath of Traditions“, G. Rimkus Rimkevičius “Folk Rhapsody ”, J. Jurkūnas “From This City”, “Old faith” and “The Female Song” by L. Rimša, “The Saga of Life” by A. Martinaitis, “Collages” by Z. Bružaite, “Dedication ” by A. Šenderov, “The mass of the starling”  by L. Vilkončius, which with a huge success, were presented at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society. The Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the Russian folk ensemble “Arinushka” and many well-known Lithuanian performers became constant partners and prime performers. The Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and the famous Lithuanian and foreign conductors became the permanent partners – the executors of the premiere.

Concerts of folk groups, master classes by leading experts, ethnographers, art exhibitions, photo exhibitions, trade fair of crafts, holiday culinary heritage, educational programs for schoolchildren and students, conferences, round tables, meetings, evenings of folk dance – these are all components of the festival “Pokrovskye Kolokola”. The festival organizers pay special attention to children and youth. This is not accidental, because about 300 children are studying in the ensemble of the organizers of the festival “Arinushka”, celebrating 20th anniversary this year.

Throughout 14 years the festival’s participants included folklore and ethnographic collectives from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, China, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, the Netherlands, Russia and the Republics within the Russian Federation took part in the festival for 13 years. (Adygea, Altai Territory, Kabarda Balkaria, Kalmykia, Mordovia, Udmurtia, Chechnya, Dagestan, Komi, Tuva, Mari El, North Ossetia-Alania), Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, Hungary.

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