The North Folk Project
The Folk Music Center in Siglufjordur is the initiator of a project to create one common, Folk Music and Dance Database, Center, Festival, and Academy of the peoples North-Atlantic region. The
mission of the project is to make accessible to locals and to the world the wealth that resides in traditional music and dance of the North-Atlantic nations. Furthermore, preservation by means of
recording and educating is a core element of the project, to strengthen important features of peoples’ culture.
The formation of transnational and intra-national partnership is underway and below is a list of the main partners from each country so far:
Greenland National Museum and Archive in Nuuk, Greenland - www.natmus.gl
University of Faroe Islands, Faroe Islands - www.setur.fo
Heritage of Clare, Clare College for Traditional Studies, Ireland - www.oac.ie
Ceolas, Gaelic Music and Dance Summer School - www.ceolas.co.uk
Ole Bull Academy in Voss, Norway - www.olebull.no
Each partner possesses a particular expertise which will provide a strong foundation for the cooperative implementation of the project. In addition, each main partner will involve appropriate agencies, organizations and institutions, for the successful implementation of the various and interconnected components of the project.
The partnership applied for pre-project funding to the EU’s Northern Periphery Program and the Nordic Culture Point, and got a full support from both. The pre-project was officially launched on June 1st 2009. It is lead by The Folk Music Center and the municipality of Fjallabyggd, the northern most town of Iceland. The pre-project will establish intranational networks, define parameters and work packages of the project, and conclude with an application for main project funding to the Northern Periphery Program and the Nordic Culture Point by March 2010.
III. North Folk Academy in all participating nations for learning, performing and researching music and dance of the whole region in a historical cultural context.
IV. North Folk Festival and Symposium, which celebrates the music and dance traditions of the North-Atlantic nations.
I. North Folk Database
The North Folk Database is one common database with video recordings and research of their traditional music and dance of all the nations by the North-Atlantic. Elementary schools and institutions
of higher education can get access to the the database to enrich their curriculum, and promote awareness, knowledge and practice of traditional music and dance. The database will have five main
||Performance: The database stores digital video recordings of folk music and folk dance of all the North-Atlantic nations.|
||Instruments: Traditional instruments of the North-Atlantic nations will be introduced - their history, development, characteristics, and performance practice.|
||Research: The database will also provide information and offer access to latest research of the nations’ traditional music, and dance.|
||Transcription: Transcriptions of traditional music and dance will be provided.|
||Educational material: The partnership could select and produce educational material from the database in the form of books and DVDs.|
II. North Folk Center
In all the partner nations there exist ambitious museums that portray our heritage in tangible items such as clothing, pictures, documents, works of art, and many have archives with sound files of music and spoken word. Some have outdoor areas as well with preserved buildings displaying activities and the way of life in the olden days. The North Folk project will add a new dimension to existing cultural museums by means of video display of people performing traditional music and dance.
||Display of the database: Tourists, students, researchers and musicians can enjoy the material in the database on wide screens, and see tangible items associated with each country and culture.|
||Folk Music concerts and Dance Shows: The North Folk Center will arrange concerts and shows with traditional music and dance which travel between the Centers.|
||Research facility: The project will organize “artists/researcher in residence” program. Researchers, dancers and musicians in residence will work with and synthesize music and dance of all participating nations to advance understanding, and create new works of art based on old traditions.|
III. North Folk Academy
The partnership will establish a North Folk Academy which will offer a month long program of traditional music and dance. The traditional music of Greenland, Iceland and Faroe Islands is underrepresented in the global context of world music. It is a national wealth that has yet to be harvested and recognized for its sustainability. Other partnership countries ( Norway, Finland, Sweden, Scotland and Ireland) have established educational institutions and artists’ societies, which teach and foster their traditional music and dance. The North Folk Project will enable transfer of knowledge and experience between established educational institutions, and establish traditional music/dance institutions and organizations where there are none. It is common practice of the areas’ folk music educational institutions and folk music festivals to concentrate on their own tradition in isolation from their neighbours. As a result of the partnership each institution will have access to folk music and dance traditions of the partnership to study, practice and research. A correlated curriculum will be created, which all the academies will build on. Subjects to be taught are:
||Performing arts: The Academies will offer courses in playing traditional instruments, singing and chanting as well as dancing folk dances.|
||Ethnomusicology/ethnochoreology: A few countries in the partnership (Ireland, Scotland and Finland) have departments within universities where the research methodology and theories of anthropology and Folkloristics are introduced for the study, performance and research of music and dance traditions. That approach, which combines historical and cultural research with performance practice, will be an important part of the project, allowing us to better understand our unique differences and common cultural heritage. For the purpose of comparison and a global perspective music and dance of other nations will be introduced.|
||Composition/Choreography: The Academy will offer classes in music composition and choreography based on, or influenced by, traditional music and dance. New music and dance compositions are an important factor in bringing traditional music and dance into the present and making it the living tradition it is meant to be.|
||Soundscape/acoustic ecology: The remote areas of the northern periphery are endowed with a unique and fragile acoustic environment. Our sonic environment is irrevocably linked to the creation, perception and national characteristics of music and dance. As such our sonic environment should be valued, researched, catalogued and preserved to the same extent as is our air, water and soil. Thus, Soundscape research is closely tied to the objectives and character of the North Folk Project. To that end, ideologies, methods and practices of Soundscape research will be taught and cultivated at the Academy.|
IV. North Folk Festival and Symposium
The partnership will establish a common North Folk Festival which celebrates traditional music and dance of the whole region in all its diversity. This close encounter with different traditions will strengthen the definition of each unique cultural heritage, and also provide for exchange of information and artistic representation.
||Folk Music Concerts and Dance shows: Folk Musicians and dancers from the partner nations and others will perform, give workshops and introduce their music and dance.|
||Premiers of New Compositions and Dance Shows: Composers and choreographers of the Academy will have their creations performed by students and teachers of the Academy as culmination of their studies.|
||North Folk Symposium: Student researchers as well as premier scholars in the field of traditional music and dance, will meet, discuss and introduce their latest research.|
What the North Folk Project aims to achieve is to make accessible to locals and to the world the wealth of traditional music and dance that resides within the North-Atlantic nations. Furthermore, preserving, researching, recording and educating are core element of the project, to strengthen important features of peoples’ culture. By establishing local cooperation between tourist industries, cultural organizations, businesses and educational institutions, traditional music and dance will be celebrated as a sustainable cultural heritage in its national surroundings. The transnationality of the project will strengthen the practice and research of folk music and dance, and support the creation of folk music and dance centres, academies and festivals where there are none at this time. Furthermore, by uniting their cultural heritage of traditional music and dance, the North-Atlantic nations will enter the scene of world music with a strong and vibrant voice.