Chant du monde boréal
Sandshifter, 60N.
Where it all makes sense.



Through Chronicles from Arcania, I shall attempt to share walks with you, this poetics from 60N, where I feel at one with our Earth, my sense of place so maritime.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

one world, many tongues

world poetics under one roof

When Kate called me to read in French, I knew she was up to something. Let me rewind to that final week of February. Somewhere, I read that the Island's main Library would host one of those nights when folk gather to share a verse, a tune or a stanza... Karen usually orchestrates those wonderful nights, but for this once, she would ally with the Adult Learning Centre  for something very special. And so she did. With Jen Hadfield as Reader in Residence, who, in the past already requested such reading in my native tongue, The International Poetry Night was born.

And what a night. 
Genny & Kate
On Friday 2 March, the Library kept its doors open till late. Our co-hosts gathered so many voices under one roof.  Karen always hosts such nights in style. This time, Orkney beer and fudge were available to be sampled at the event's interval. 
Whereas Jen made a very brief introductory appearance, her co-hosts, Kate and Genny, enacted a farcical scene before a fifty strong audience. 
Polish born Klaudia Marosek
So many voices, languages filtered through the mesh of the open mic'. English, Polish, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Russian, Frisian, Gaelic, Shetland dialect, French, Moroccan, Malaysian... A world symphony motion!  It felt just home.
Not only poetry, but songs and dance for some of the performers. 
Local fiddlers Bernadette & Jim
This night of world celebration united fantastic voices, who have elected their home on the island,   
Bulgarian born Radina, with Alan
Nordicblackbird in full swing
would remind us all that their respective native tongue adds so many colours to the poetics of such a small community such as ours. Cultural joy to be able to breathe and walk through life with more than one language. Too many folk take it for granted. And although Shetlanders experience such bi-lingualism through their own dialect and English,  their own midder tongue once suffered through cultural cleansing at the start of the 20th century, when English reigned king in the classroom. Too many local dialects, patois and languages have suffered too much already. In an effort to revive local languages and dialects, regions revive their own, hence declaring their unique cultural distinctions. At local level, the island thrives to keep it going and has even taken the step to re-introduce it in today's classroom, via Shetland ForWirds, even though it is fighting against  linguistic imperialism as notably exposed by today's media. 
Hungarian born Fari Batai
Jen at the mic'
For the first time, I discovered Robert Burns in Hungarian through Fari's voice. How enchanting! Re-discovered the magic of those more northern and eastern European languages. Whit a hansel! What a present!
To hear it, or any language spoken by folk in the island really defines the wealth of our local community.
Jen reappeared during the session to share with us her version of  a traditional Irish tune entitled She Moved Through the Fair - a song which is familiar to my heart thanks to Kate Bush's own version. Precious moment from our Reader in Residence.

Steve Davidson and Alan McKay closed the Open Mic' session with a Gallic tune, a bourrée. (Part One)
Scot born Steve is a francophile and an avid & very accomplished musician, who spends parts of his summer holidays somewhere in Auvergne (among his favourite destinations) with a gang of kindred spirits in an attempt to widen his love of traditional Gallic music. 

For Steve & Alan's Bourrée (Part2), please click here

Shetland Library's hospitality
My renewed thanks to Karen and Kate for such a brilliant night of celebration. Blending with the world feels such a privilege, especially when we live on an island somewhere in the North Atlantic.

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