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  • Claudia Schwab

A dissolving microcosm

Updated: Aug 14, 2022

Miles and miles beyond sleep deprivation, lost track of day, time and date, this years` experience of the Etno Histeria gathering and the Floating Castle Festival in

beautiful Slovenia is finally coming to an end.

To put it into the words of our dear friend Gaia Miato: a microcosm of its own that was created over the course of an intense ten days of living, playing and being together, night and day, is now slowly dissolving ...

Rehearsals at Cat´s Hill / Istria

Today I bid farewell to the last two people linking me to this entity and I finally find myself in the transition period of reflection.

An orchestra of 90 people from all over the world! So many meaningful moments, happenings, shared experiences. I would not know where to start, since so much

happened and time literally dissolved from the moment that we pitched our tents in this beautiful forest in Istria. But one thing is for sure: as Matija Solce, the

master puppeteer behind it all, said at one of our gigs: "Well, this is the shit!"

A truly inspiring bunch of talented musicians from all over, spreading such utopian feelings of togetherness beyond any borders. A palpable current of excitement of being alive, expressed through infectious grooves and deeply moving songs and melodies. One of my personal highlights was playing for Matija´s granny in the old folks home - what a grateful audience ... as well as playing for the immigrants in Trieste and the prisoners in Koper ... learning and sharing a heartbreaking song (to say the least) with an amazing bunch of singers from Ukraine... this really makes sense.

(Photos c Stephan Talneau)

How it was possible to move everybody from breakfast to rehearsal, from the campside onto busses going from Slovenia to Italy, from a dip into the sea to soundcheck, from the immigrants centre to prison via the old folks home, WITHOUT any phones, e-mails or other distant forms of communication is beyond my comprehension. There was no reception at the camp and an extremely limited supply of electricity, which resulted in a phoneless society from about day two. Everyone just had to be there - and we were!

Admittedly, I still had stressful dreams for a few days after the camp was over, waking up in the middle of the night convinced that I had to try and teach people new chords on the bus, or quickly find a way to fill them in on the latest plans of happenings ... but I would not miss a minute of our beautifully anarchic chaos, with all that comes with it. (Yes, once we were nearly stranded in Trieste at midnight, all 90 of us, but sure look, we would have been ok somehow, having each other, playing tunes at the beach and waiting for the morning to come...)

Honoured to have been a mentor this year and I thank all of you beautiful people for your kindness, hard work (!!!! it was full on, ey!), flexibility and kind words. I miss you!

Then the Floating Castle Festival, a new chapter again! Floating above the lake in a duett with Soof Nikritin... on the forest stage with the amazing Maggi Rust and

the Kate In The Kettle Quintet with Kate Young´s magical songs and tunes woven around the healing properties of plants ... one more chance of togetherness with the

whole orchestra, a last rendition of all the cool arrangements, tunes and songs, WOW! Such power. Epic moments with the Broken Hearts Trio, playing standing on

the fire engine with people stage diving to our latest repertoire of love songs %-) . Not to forget yet another outing of Los Hostes, featuring Ales Zorec and Matija Solce at Katastrofa stage.

Well, yes. That´s it. This IS the shit. Makes you believe in this world and the endless possibilities of living through music. Hvala lepa. I now will sleep for 5 days straight through (I wish, hahah!)

(Ps. you can watch a live stream of a whole orchestra concert at Sv. Frančiška in Koper here !!!)

(Ukranian Song at the old folks home with Matija´s grandmother)

(At refugee centre Trieste)

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