Bulgarian cultural diversity project launched in the District

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

A NEW collaborative cultural project entitled ‘Sing 2 Songs’ will show the connection between Bulgarian culture and the district’s local music, dance and traditions.

The project is a partnership between Beyond Skin, Blueprint and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. It is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match funding for the project has also been provided by The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department for Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

The project workshops will both take place online via video conferencing and in natural shared spaces throughout the area, such as the Mourne Mountains. Events will take place over three months from May, June and July 2021. The first of these events will be an online workshop session on Friday, 7 May, via Zoom. There is no cost to participants, and there is a budget to assist participants with any accessibility barriers such as childcare. Details on the project can be found at www.beyondskin.net/sing2songs

The ‘Sing 2 Songs’ project will be a sensory experience of Bulgarian and local culture, celebrating the human spirit, and strength in togetherness as we all navigate through these challenging times. The workshops will give participants the opportunity to learn more about Bulgaria and its geographical, historical, contemporary and traditional treasures through the medium of music and song.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin said, “The songs of the Balkan Mountain are symbols of freedom and strong devotion to the traditions, culture and history of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian calendar is full of celebrations during the summer months. People young and old go out on the mountains, gather together and dive into colourful festivals dedicated to life, the spring and summer with songs, dances and food. There is an old tradition in Bulgaria during these celebrations where one village sings to another close village and mountain peak sings to mountain peak, sharing different songs. We look forward to our residents exploring this cultural programme and reaching out to our neighbours all the way from the Mourne Mountains to the Balkans.”

The collaborative work will showcase the connection between Bulgarian culture and the district’s local music, dance and traditions. Audio and video of the two prepared songs (Bulgarian and local) will be recorded to represent the togetherness of two nations, connected through the beauty of their traditions. Through creative collaborations with our local and global neighbours, the project will also enable moments of reflection for those loved ones we have lost whilst also nurturing our own mental health and wellbeing.

The project’s activities will be facilitated by professional Bulgarian musicians who live and work in Northern Ireland in collaboration with local musicians. The work will include consultations with participants, providing all involved with an active role in discussions and the opportunity to voice their interests, opinions and input.

For further information and to access the workshops and the ‘Sing 2 Songs’ programme of events please visit www.beyondskin.net/blueprint.

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