News, World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day is being celebrated with the “Cultural Rhythms” festival in Vilnius

World Refugee Day is being celebrated with the “Cultural Rhythms” festival in Vilnius

On Thursday, June 20, in commemoration of World Refugee Day, the “Cultural Rhythms” festival returns to Vilnius. The event is organized by the Ministry of Social Security and Labor (SADM) and the arts agency Artscape.

On Thursday evening from 6 PM in Bernardine Courtyard, residents of Vilnius, refugees and asylum seekers living in Lithuania, and visitors to the city will gather to enjoy music from various countries and cultures, participate in creative workshops, and get acquainted with organizations working in the field of migration in the community space.

“Cultural Rhythms” embodies the idea that different cultures have their unique rhythms, reflecting their traditions, experiences, and expressions. This motto invites everyone to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20 with a free music festival for the second consecutive year.

Photo: Marija Frolova / Artscape

According to the organizers, the festival aims to celebrate the contributions, creativity, and resilience of refugees and asylum seekers, as well as to promote public awareness.

The festival stage will feature seven performances by 17 musicians from eight countries. See the program here.

The Courage to Create Music

Some of the artists were forced to leave their homes due to creative protests, ethnic persecution, or ongoing war, while others take the stage to support the courage of all people in need of asylum and to highlight their contributions to our society.

Musician and singer Yusuf Suleiman, a representative and promoter of Uyghur culture, faced threats, harassment, and the possibility of illegal deportation from Turkey back to China. He currently lives in Sweden.

Cris Gera, born in Zimbabwe and now also living in Sweden, has been involved in the music world since childhood. His music mainly reflects Afro-pop, jazz, and soul rhythms, but also incorporates traditional sounds of Zimbabwe and gospel elements. Cris is an active advocate for human rights and social justice through music and art.

The Maryna Pylypenko Quartet (Ukraine, Lithuania) will present an ethno-jazz program where Ukrainian songs are performed in jazz arrangements. The group JazzLingual Rhythms (Ukraine, USA, Lithuania) offers a repertoire that includes various styles, from modern jazz, funk, and soul to contemporary bossa nova and Latin music, enriched with languages from different countries.

The rising band Uphill7 (Lithuania, Belarus, Afghanistan) is a five-member group that began its journey in a multicultural environment—the “Caritas” day center in Pabradė. The musicians perform both their own songs and cover well-known hits, bringing a strong dance rhythm to their concerts.

The stage will also feature the well-known Lithuanian performer AISTÈ. She promises to deliver intimate and emotional versions of songs from her debut album, encouraging belief in a better tomorrow. The evening will conclude with the charismatic DJ Zay’Zemi (Venezuela), a DJ with more than eight years of experience, whose music pulses with tribal and Afro-American rhythms.

Officially, Lithuania became a country accepting asylum seekers in 1997, after ratifying the Geneva Convention.

From June 13-20, Lithuania is celebrating Refugee Week, during which various organizations invite everyone to celebrate the contributions, creativity, and resilience of refugees and asylum seekers through various events.

The festival is funded by the European Union.

Organizers: Ministry of Social Security and Labor of the Republic of Lithuania and the arts agency Artscape. Major partner: United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Partners: Vilnius City Municipality, Lithuanian Council for Culture.

June 20, 2024