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Colourful Prague 9 – An Open Mind Learning Festival Free of Prejudice
The festival called Barevná devítka (Colourful Prague 9) which took place on 26 August in the picturesque Podviní park in Libeň was organised for the thirteenth time this year. As usual, the visitors could take part in the festival game Around the World in an Hour, win interesting prizes and, at the same time, taste diverse ethnic food from twenty-two countries. The festival offered delicacies from all around the world, lessons of Cuban salsa and the Brazilian forró, music workshops and more. The energetic drumming workshop was led by the Bijou Camara and Guinee Toumboui group, whose dynamic dancers also performed on the main stage. Those who wanted to calm their minds could join Falun Gong, the ancient spiritual discipline, and enjoy meditation in the park.
The festival also offered a children’s art corner, stands with products made in Uganda, souvenirs from Vietnam and oriental henna painting. People could learn about the activities of different NGOs – one of them called Bwindi Orphans even offered Ugandan coffee.
There was a unique opportunity to visit the travelling exhibition called Vanished World which presented the public with the life of indigenous nomad Roma and Sinti in pre-WWII Czechoslovakia.
The music programme on the main stage included many different artists. The UCHO group introduced stories about Africa from the Hakuna Matata book. These stories were set to music and they were based on a project of the same name, which focuses on interconnection, deep understanding, and effective aid. All proceeds from the sale will go to Kibera children.
Roma music was presented by Mário Bihári whose performances, accompanied by piano and accordion are always unique. Together with his own songs, he also sang traditional Romani music, including the Romani anthem Gelem Gelem. Some more Romani music was played by Terne Čhave, one of the most famous Romani bands in the CR and in Europe. Feng Jun Song, a Chinese singer, accompanied by Vesna Careces, a composer, singer and accordionist of Czech-Slovenian origin, enchanted the audience with her heavenly voice. The programme also included Balkan rhythms performed by Avlija, a group of musicians and dancers. Two groups introduced Latin American rhythms: Encuentro captivated people by their selection of songs from Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, while La Desgarda Salsa Orchestra made everyone dance with their vivacious music.
The event was organised within Colourful Prague 9 2017 integration project of the Prague 9 City District which is co-founded by the Ministry of the Interior of the CR and the Prague City Hall.
An article originally written for the Slovo bulletin issued by the Slovo 21 organisation. Text and photos by Simona Badžová.