By Ivana Bilić

Concert Of Christine Salem – Second Night Of Femart Festival

Christine Salem, from Saint Denis, Reunion Island, came for the second time on FemArt festival, as the only international participant who was invited to come again to the biggest feminist festival in the region. At the very beginning, Zana Hoxha addressed the audience to thank them, to thank the French Embassy to Kosovo for their support and of course, to phenomenal Christine Salem and her band for coming to Prishtina once again. And then, the magic started.

Mersi: Hommage to Women and Ancestors

This time Christine came with her new album Mersi. Mix of different tunes and different languages from a tiny island in the Indian Ocean vibrated in the very intimate ambience of Oda theatre. We could hear different sounds and instruments and then words in Malagasy, Swahili, Réunion Creole and other local dialects, with which the singer wanted to include all the communities that live in Reunion Island. The song Tyinbo is dedicated to women who experienced domestic abuse and violence and triggered by the rise of femicides in general. Then, later on, the artist wanted to share her personal story with the audience. It was about another song that she dedicated to her ancestors, explaining how important they are in the lives of people from the Island. There are many different communities and religions in Reunion Island, but these differences do not prevent people from hanging out with each other, or taking part in rituals and ceremonies. These are rather like spiritual connections to the past.

Welcome to Re-union!

She then, on several occasions, invited everyone to come to Reunion, to feel it and experience it for themselves, saying: “You are all welcome!” Soon after, her band left the stage and she stood alone in darkness spiritually connecting with them in music sounds and vibrations while, at the same time, connecting to the audience in a very personal time. The very last song was about a great humanitarian – Nelson Mandela, and the audience was invited to sing along. All the people accepted it generously and soon were chanting together in harmony until Christine gave the sign to wrap it all up. What a magical night of reunion after 5 years!

Joy of Living or Carefree Enjoyment of Life

After the concert this great musician said that the Kosovars have the same joie de vivre she remembered from the last time she was here. She felt that people really wanted to be here with her, singing and dancing together. This is how music inspires her and that is a means to survive every day. One member of the band said how impressive it was to see a huge number of women in first rows singing and dancing and being very much free in their movement and expression. She was extremely glad to be a part of such a festival and emphasized the special meaning it had for her – the presence of free bodies on the stage where we were all at the same level.

As a farewell message, Christine said that she is leaving with joy – joy that was mutually transferred tonight between enchanting sounds of different worlds, energies and vibrations.

Art Of Entertaining

STILT WALKING, ACROBATICS AND FIRE

The sunny Wednesday started with stilt walking throughout the center of Prishtina, from Zahir Pajaziti Square down to Mother Teresa boulevard. The performers were to announce their evening acrobatics and fire show in the National Theater. Many people – young and old – stopped to take a photo and enjoy a chat with skilled actresses. When we saw them on stage, it was something else. The strength of core and elasticity they have was astonishing.  Spectators, and especially youngsters, kept coming in during the performance to discover flexible stunts. A skilled duo then shifted from acrobatics to playing with the fire. Music was energetic as fire balls the acrobats were spinning. The young audience was quite impressed with skilful choreographies.

Ivana Bilić (Sarajevo, BiH) is an intern in Artpolis where she will conduct her research on the role of performing arts for social change. She is a translator and interpreter in English, French and Bosnian and a human rights student with special interest in women’s rights, minorities and LGBT+.