Saturday, 8 October 2016

II Vidzemes storytelling festival "Stāsti krēslā"

So this weekend promised to be a long weeked full of activities and work to do...well, at least friday was like that. As the "II storytelling festival of Vidzeme" took place!
   For the start...let´s be honest, the star was a bit lame, from the introduction time and breakfast my role at first was mostly focused on guarding the welcoming desk and the organization´s goods.

At least I took breakfast for free! ha?

This event took place at first in the town´s library; most of the day was to pass there. As I was there I was hoping that this wuld get better as time pass because being the guard when I could contribute my own cultural enrichment and background was not a very worthy position, honestly. This was a bit tiresome...thinking in the following 11 hours (at the end they were 14) wasn´t something retrieving.

But the things changed to better; I went in the group and I could some interesting persons; some of them had extra elements for their stories to tell, like puppets!
Love the pillow-cat!

After the breakfast it was time to start serious. We went to the children´s library section and the introduction time started:

Here are all the heads of the event thanking and greeting the participants, receiving some plaques of merit...and flowers, never forget that in this country.
And guess what! there was a concert of multi-task musicians playing songs that everyone knew (thus, popular music) as public made company of the songs clapping their hands in harmony.
Interesting to saw one of the musicians using his foot for playing the bell.

After the introductions the next part focused of the participant yungsters; from several schools some kids with their best tales and art to tell were chosen to came here to take part in the festival. Each of the young guys told a particular story, mostly related to their relatives (which gives a good impression creating interesting tales from supposed ordinary lives, showing that families guard a lot of particular events), many stories relating to potatoes as well. Thankfully for me, I received some help with the translation, otherwise, I would have missed most of the stories.
The begining of the event.

Then supper time came! With hot soup for cold temperatures (as these days the thermometer is not surpassing 8ºC). Yeah, soup in Latvia is a norm in caterings if you don´t want to fall ill. Albeit here can be the MAIN dish, or sometimes the only dish with many ingredients in the soup.

Meanwhile, one of our musician "draugs" was playing his accordion giving some chills to those who dwell around. This reminded that I purposed myself to learn how to play this instrument.

Finished the supper, and giving the welcome to the afternoon, our swiss guest expert in storytelling opened the next round of young storytelling teaching some lessons about how to tell stories on popular mode, where later, the youngsters would be the protagonists:

But first! some more catchy music with accordion!

So the storytelling round started. Our young storytellers were the protagonists, and actually, they didn´t have anything to envy from proffessional storytellers. Some of them brought even elements to give context to their tales: such dressing gorgeously fitting with the tale (loved the outfits that some of the girls worn), plushies, baskets or instruments. While I tried to understand all the stories, I barely was able to follow them, the accent and the idiom, too different. But as I said, I loved the staging that some of the kids put in their tales and efforts, some of them being really fancy. I show in order each of the participants where you can appreciate the effort of some of them in their dressing and other context elements:

Umm, yeah. As the event was way long there was a break betwixt. Here, one of organizers made some group breakers, but without the "game" inside, just to warm up the public and the participants. Which was the term I cannot remember correctly right now but I attach this picture where you can see what I´m talking about:
It´s fine anyway, albeit I didn´t have the mood to participate.

After all the stories were told there was a break...a break for eating snacks and drink. And also another breaker for kids, again (but if you weren´t a kid you could join in too).
Not only there was a break but also it was time for a puppet show! quite entertaining and fun for the kids. Amusing. From the woman of the puppets.

I liked the creature that eats pencil and crayons for lunch (middle photo).

And then it was time for the young participants to sand up again! this time for receive their diploma and gifts pushing their great tales!

Close-pic of the diplomas.

A guess game was included for those who went to receive their award, they had to guess which chocolate they were going to take. Ha!

Once the junior storytelling was over I headed to the upper floor of the library where a debate with a musician about traditional music was taking part. But between I don´t speak latvian and that the topic (rural popular music instruments) wasn´t my favourite thing this part of the festival became the most tedious for me.
Nothing much else to say, besides I didn´t find where the debate was at first. I stayed for a while thinking where I should go next.

Night arrived (at 18:00) and it was time to end the party and leave the public library alone. Our next stop was a hostel in the middle of Valmiera, hostel where some of the participants were going to stay the night.
As introduction for the visitors to Valmiera, there was a curious sensation game. The game reminded me like the story of Hamelin´s futist: a girl playing "River flows in you" with a flute guided the participants who worn a band covering their eyes and blinding them, the participants had to walk holding hands, following the song while crossing the forest (despite the hostel is in the center, Valmiera has the Gauja´s forest very close to the houses). Along with it there was some storytelling (so as you focused hearing the nature noises you also heared a story regarding it) and also a "potion" (thankfully hot, because it was being a cold evening).
  Yes, it looked super. But I´d rather no participate due it was awfully freezing and rainy, and I wasn´t wearing the best clothes.
The participants.

The teller.

The potion.

By the time they came back to the hostel the dinner was ready. But then, my part in action came here, so for the event I told my story here. Only 7 minutes allowed, which required to be very quick!...
However, it was only me who told the story, giving me a feeling of difference, not to mention that it was indoors...
Anyway, after, more games and singing songs came altogether. So they finished here, in a cozy and gentle banquet. I took my things and went back to the lair, preparing myself for next day...which actually will be sunday...

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