MELEZ. 07 Festival of Cultures

MELEZ. 07 Festival of Cultures

Atiye Deniz in concert 2007

Atiye Deniz in concert 2007

The European Union is a reality and the European governments are investing every effort to bring European communities even closer together. The goal is to improve understanding, acceptance and integration of immigrants within the communities. One of the initiatives to achieve this goal is the launching of “European Capital of Culture”. Essen, a German city in the Ruhr Basin, is one of the three cities designated for European Capital Culture 2010. The government of the Ruhr Basin region in partnership with several organizations initiated a festival of cultures and arts coined MELEZ that focuses on intercultural integration. Afritopic was at the festival.

The intercultural festival, MELEZ, took place from the 27 October till the 3 November 2007 for the 3rd time in the German cities Essen and Bochum as well as in Herne, a small town near Bochum . The program included symposia, lectures, literature sessions, dance performances, theatre and music concerts. The idea behind the festival is to promote openness to intercultural lifestyle and intercultural dialogue. The value of each culture in a multicultural community should be acknowledged. The acknowledgement should encourage reciprocal appreciation of the cultural values. The festival, which took place for the first time in 2005, is a major project of the European Capital of Culture 2010 in the Ruhr Basin, Germany. Since 1985, the European Union designates one or more cities for a period of a year as the European capital of culture. The initiative originates from the late actress and Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri and was launched on June 13, 1985.

The primary aim was to bring Europeans in all cultures closer together. However, the designated cities soon realized the opportunities and socio-economic gains that could be derived from the events of the project. It gave the cities the chance to showcase and market their cultures/cultural products. The cities are brought into international limelight and thereby attract investors. The European City of Culture 2010 is designated to 3 cities namely Instanbul ( Turkey ), Pécs ( Hungary ) and Essen ( Germany ). Essen is a city in the Ruhr Basin, which is in the German state North Rhine-Westphalia.

Under the title Ruhr 2010, the government of North Rhine-Westphalia in cooperation with several institutions and non-governmental organizations decided to focus on intercultural integration. This is necessary considering the fact that the community of the Ruhr Basin consists of immigrant families from 140 nations. MELEZ is a major yearly event conceived to promote intercultural integration.

MELELEZ.07 presented among others 3 music artists on the 3 November 2007, the last day of the festival at the Jahrhundert hall in Bochum . The musicians are: 

Atiye Deniz: Atiye mixes Turkish-oriental rhythms with Hip Hop beats and soulful vocals. Atiye was born in Bremen, Germany to a Turkish father and a Dutch mother. She began her dance lessons at the age of 3 years and started to play the piano when she was 6 years old. Soon after, she was playing for popular bands, which gave her the opportunity to travel extensively and get in contact with all types of musicians. Today, Atiye writes most of her songs and creates her dance performances. Her music band under the directorship of Iskender Paydas, is made up of some of the best musicians turkey can offer. Some of them have worked together with great musicians like Ajda Pekkan, Mustafa Sandal und Izel. Iskender Paydas is the most popular producer in Turkey .

Atiye Deniz received the “newcomer of the year 2007” award from Kral-TV. The video to her hit single “Don’t Think” was viewed by over 2 million people on the YouTube.

Roy Paci: The Sicilian trompeter and vocalist produced the Italian summer 2007 hit “toda joiia toda beleza”. Before forming his own band, he worked for many great musicians including Manu Chao, Zap Mama, Paolo Conte and Trilok Gurtu. Roy mixes Sicilian folklore with Funk, Swing, Caribbean , Rock, Pop, Hip Hop and Rap. A newcomer in his band is a Rapper called Cico. Roy met the 20 years old Rapper on the street in Bologna , Italy and was fascinated by his talent. According to Roy, apart from speaking five languages, Cico has the typical immigrant soul that fits into the band.

At the Melez 07, Roy Paci presented his new album “Suonoglobal” with his band Aretuska for the first time in Germany. For his music, he developed his own language, L’italogno, which is a combination of Spanish, Portugues, French, English and Italian dialects.

Zdob Si Zdub: The Moldavian name of the band translates to “beat the drum” in English. The country of origin of the group, Moldava, still belongs largely to Romania. The group was formed in 1994 and has since then performed on the stage with popular music groups like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Biohazard, Rollins Band, Rage Against the Machine and Soulfly. At the Melez.07, the group delivered a very energetic show combining Moldavian Folklore with Hip Hop, Rock, Pop and Jungle.

The music of Zdob si Zdub has a big impact on the alternative scene in Moldavia and the band’s show is always a big attraction at festivals. The band’s songs are written in Moldavian dialect. A hit single „Hardcore Moldovenesc” topped the charts for several weeks. As recipient of “The best Live group in Russia ” and „Fuzz –Musikmagazin in  St. Petersburg” awards, the group has proved to be one of the top bands in Romania and Russia.

The audience had the opportunity to listen and dance to different types of music during the concerts. The enjoyment continued with an after-party. In all Melez.07 achieved its goal of bringing different people from different nations together to see, discuss, admire and appreciate each other’s culture. 

Roy Paci

Roy Paci

 End.  Afritopic 2007


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