There were horse carriages. Us bunch of musicians from all over the world jumping on with instruments, racing through the beautiful fields and mountains nearby the village of Kosarisce, South of Ljubljana in Slovenia.
At the end of the trip welcomed by locals who had cooked for us (and might have supplied a little bit of wine and Schnaps....) and awaited our evenings' concert- for most of us a surprise it was happening right there in about 5min. time- 'oh no! But I didn't bring any concert clothes.... my harp is by the mill...'
An amphitheatre that seemingly had popped out of nowhere over night where a gripping communal spirit-laden concert took place that night, the last one with all of the participants and mentors of Ethno Histeria 2015.
A nightbus from Kilkenny had started me off on this trip to sunny Istria, where jumping on deck with the legend that is puppeteer and musician Matija Solce, we sailed away on this folk music exchange that lasted for 10 days- or was it 2 months?!
Filled with gongs, Iarla O'Lionaird's unmistakable soul-stirring voice and the warmth of the light and our Gamelan ensemble in the beautiful St. Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny, I slept my way through bus, plane and car journeys and, stripping off rain coat and 5 of my 6 layers, was welcomed by a small gang of what became to be our family for the next couple of weeks.
I would need to write a book in order to try and describe what happened there this summer, or indeed it would not quite be possible to put it into words.
Our days were filled with dips into the river, morning rehearsals, Iranian- Irish- Scottish- Slovenian- Norwegian- Swedish- American- Austrian songs and tunes. Living musical alarm clocks gave us the wake-up call in the mornings. We danced with villagers, jumped into the sea, played concerts at neighbours houses, outdoor stages and by anchors. We jammed by fires, on the bus, the fire engine and just about anywhere at any time, always ready with the instruments on our backs. There were parades and swims in cascasdes. A newly formed string quar-inett, Matija's reassuring words amidst the most chaotic of chaoses 'aaah.... everything is fine, yeah?.... it's clear, no?'
Another journey through the night, this time on trains, brought me back to my hometown in Austria for a few days of family, warm showers, clean clothes and rehersals with string-duo 'Ants On Glass', with whom I returned to Slovenia for one last blast with the Ethno gang at the Floating Castle Festival.
A little short trip to Ireland was next on the schedule, where I got to play with the amazing Yurodny ensemble feat. Bulgarian accordion virtuoso Petar Ralchev (a two month build-up of bowing and fast fingering muscles was required for this!!) at the Electric Picnic festival- and the Balkan theme contiuned!
Followed by yet another glorious little summer tour with the Netnaksium string gang and german trumpet player Matthias Schriefl, whom I got to hang off skiing gondolas playing trumpets earlier in July, the summer madness ended with a gorgeous Oe1 Kulturpicknick in Graz from where I returned to Sligo...
... It's been quite the summer, and I'm eternally grateful for all the amazing music, people and lands I got to hang out with!! Especially in these times of big migrations and people forced to flee , this togetherness with people from all over the world feels more important than ever.