Ahead of the European elections, Ancienne Belgique celebrates diversity of European music scenes
On May 7th, Liveurope and Ancienne Belgique hosted the fifth annual Europe Day event to celebrate emerging European artists.
Mere weeks away before millions of citizens across the continent vote in the European parliamentary elections, Liveurope and Ancienne Belgique set out to "crack the code" of the European narrative by bringing forward "New Stories for Europe".
Each year, this Brussels event is held to highlight the cultural sectors' roles in European affairs and to encourage to view Europe beyond its bureaucreatic face. For this occasion, we invited the audience onto the main stage of Ancienne Belgique along with our speakers, to look at methods that have been applied by musicians, authors, journalists and other creative professionals to make European affairs more relatable to a wider audience.
"At a time when Europe is still for many a remote and abstract entity, we want to show the Europe we see built every day through emerging artists and its thriving music scenes," declared Elise Phamgia, project coordinator of Liveurope.
Culture: The foundation of a positive narrative for Europe
Belgian emerging hip-hop artist Blu Samu was one of the first speakers to take the stage and share her experience as an artist touring abroad: "It's very gratifying to share your culture with different crowds. We get to see how music is universal and how it touches people."
Geert van Itallie, managing director of Melkweg Amsterdam, stressed the importance of building strong networks by adding that "to support international artists, venues need the opportunity to expand their networks with each other. We need simple initiatives that directly help those institutions that play a role in building musicians' careers."
In her welcoming speech, Susanne Hollmann, Deputy Head of Unit, Cultural Policy at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture accentuated the EU's influence in the mechanisms of cross-border initiatives in the creative sector, specifically reminding us that these platforms in the music sector "would not work the same way without the EU as a facilitator". The strong aspirations of these platforms are what encouraged the European Commission to launch the "Music Moves Europe" preparatory action which aims to build a foundation for a dedicated policy for the music sector on a European level.
Turkish Folk & Psychedelica: A reflection of current & future trends in European music
As an introduction to our night, we focused on introducing the revival of Turkish Psychedelica, this year's highlighted genre. Our participants, Orhan Özgür (Hudna), Kornelia Binicewicz (Ladies on Records of the 60s, 70s and 80s), and Karolien Polenus (DJ NiXiE) gave us constructive insight into the cultural nuances that are often apparent when juxtaposing outernationally created music, like the artists featured on the Saz Power compilation in which audiences are inclined to reflect on not only heritage of this music, but also on its political significance when created out of its original geographic context.
"Politics can be influenced by music, but this begins with people. Venues like you also have responsibility. You show musicians like us, who insist on diversity in our sound, and encourage your audiences to understand this music. This understanding travels to people and then from people, this goes to the politicians, who can have great influence on artists' opportunities." - Orhan Özgür (Hudna)
For some, talking about Europe means projecting to others what is most familiar to us. Maxime Calligaro, an author and journalist, shared his inspiration for his writing about European affairs, drawing parallels between popular American content like "The West Wing" and "House of Cards" as what makes politics more palatable to those to whom political topics are not as readily available.
Identifying with Europe is a concept that is most certainly tangible. By highlighting that which is most relatable to a wider audience, we can ensure that a European identity is not only obtained, but nourished as well.
Our Europe Day concluded with a triple bill featuring Elektro Hafiz (DE) and Hudna (DK) featured on the Saz Power compilation released by Ironhand Records, and Kornelia Binicewicz's DJ set of (Turkish) Ladies on Records, held in a full venue of ABclub at Ancienne Belgique.
Photography by: © Damon de Backer 2019
Full Footage of the Panels:
Practical information and panel description:
1. Venues as hubs for new talent
Liveurope was born out of a challenge: boosting the international careers of emerging European artists. Four years after its launch, we see that the support brought be the EU encouraged our venues to book four times more new European artists. What if this success could benefit to hundreds of venues in Europe, and ultimately showcase dozens of thousands of emerging artists in all corners of the continent?
- Blu Samu (Artist, BE)
- Julien Fournier (WBM, BE)
- Olivier de Schutter (Ecolo, BE)
- Geert van Itallie (Melkweg, NL)
- Audrey Guerre (Live DMA, FR) - Moderator
2. Turkish Psych: An Outernational Movement
The past few years have seen a renewed interest in the Turkish psych scene of the 60s. A new generation that dubs itself as “outernational” coming from all over Europe has been digging records from that period, thus mixing old Turkish music gems with modern grooves. What does this trend tell us about the future of the European music scene?
- Kornelia Binicewicz (Ladies on Records, PL/TR)
- Orhan Özgür (Hudna, DK/TR)
- Karolien Polenus (DJ NiXiE, BE)
- Kurt Overbergh (Ancienne Belgique, BE), Moderator
3. "If I had to do it all over again, I would begin with culture"
The upcoming European elections beg the burning question: how can we speak about Europe in a refreshing way? How to interest the general citizens into EU issues, by going beyond its bureaucratic dimension, and by investing more in its culture?
- Maxime Calligaro (Author & Journalist, FR)
- Ludovic Lamant (Journalist, Mediapart, FR)
- Bobbie Johnson (Rapper, UK)
- Edwin Korver (sp.a, BE)
- Katy Lee (The Europeans Podcast, UK/FR), Moderator
Concert: Turkish Psychedelica featuring Elektro Hafiz (DE), Hudna (DK), and Ladies on Records (PL)
The artists on the compilation titled Saz Power is directly reflective of the diversity that their music presents. Their individual unique stories and contribution to the revival of Turish Psychedelic brings a feeling of nostalgia for both the past as well as the future.
These organizations supported our event: