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CULTURAL RHYTHMS 2024 festival dedicated to World Refugee Day: line-up is here

CULTURAL RHYTHMS 2024 festival dedicated to World Refugee Day: line-up is here

“Cultural Rhythms” is an idea, each culture has its own unique rhythm, reflecting their traditions, experiences and self-expression. With this slogan, we invite you to celebrate the World Refugee Day on June 20 for the second year in a row at the free music festival in Bernardin kiemas, Vilnius.

Organized by the Ministry of Social Security and Labor of the Republic of Lithuania and the arts agency Artscape, the festival aims to celebrate the contribution, creativity and perseverance of refugees and asylum seekers and to promote public awareness. Thursday at 6 p.m.  organizers invite you to the festival, in which musicians from 8 different countries will perform.

From Zimbabwe to Uighur culture

Yusuf Suleiman is a musician and singer specialising in traditional Uyghur music. As a musician, he experiments with both traditional and modern musical instruments and as a singer, he is well-versed in Uyghur folk and pop music. At the beginning of his career, Suleiman build his music path in China. In 2016, Suleiman moved to Turkey where he created the band Dolan with the purpose of preserving and developing ethnic Uyghur music. Being Uyghur and a well-known musician, Yusuf Suleiman faced threats, harassment, and the potential of illegal deportation from Turkey back to China. As a result, Yusuf arrived in the Swedish city of Piteå in June 2023 where he took up the ICORN residency for the period 2023-2025. He continues working as a musician, promoting Uyghur culture and music.

Cris Gera is a Zimbabwean born musician based in Sweden, Cris has been in the music industry from early childhood. To date Cris Gera has three albums to his credit and four singles. His specialty is AfroPop, Jazz and Soul but he has also done part traditional Zimbabwean genres and even gospel productions.
His goal has always been doing music for the people and use music to educate, preserve and present music as a communal and spiritual expression of life and its diversity in the world. Cris is also an avid activist for human rights and social justice through music and the arts and hence part of his music shares the African and Zimbabwean story of struggle for emancipation.

Ukrainian voices

Maryna Pylypenko Quartet (Ukraine, Lithuania) will present an ethno-jazz program featuring Ukrainian songs in jazz arrangements. The synthesis of these genres represents a completely new and not yet widespread musical phenomenon in Lithuania. Professional arrangements for the quartet by jazz pianist, arranger, and composer Andrei Polevikov showcase a creative interpretation of folkloric works in a jazz style. The compositions blend interesting harmonies and new tones, while maintaining a modern sound and a connection to the national cultures of Ukraine and Lithuania.

Maryna Pylypenko is not just a vocalist. She is a cultural advocate for Ukrainian traditions in Lithuania. This is the voice of a modern Ukrainian woman. Originally from Dnipro, Maryna was actively involved in the musical life of her homeland, worked as a vocal teacher in Odessa, and performed in concerts. In Lithuania, she continues her artistic pursuits.

JazzLingual Rhythms (Ukraine, USA, Lithuania) is a band featuring a talented lineup of musicians: Andrii Gumeniuk, the ensemble leader, vocalist, and music producer; Crystal Pupa (Gabija Vaičekonis), a singer, pianist, and composer; Andrijus Kudaba, a guitarist, bassist, and composer; and Ignas Skirkevičius, a drummer and composer.
The band’s repertoire spans diverse music styles such as modern jazz, funk, soul, contemporary, and Bossa Nova/Latin. Their music is enriched with a colorful blend of languages from various countries, including Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and English, presented alongside original lyrics and compositions.

Names familiar to Lithuanians

Uphill7 (Lithuania, Belarus, Afghanistan) is a five-member group that began its journey in a multicultural setting, starting at the Caritas Day Center in Pabradė. Today, they bring a strong energy and a broad musical perspective, spreading messages of equality, freedom, and cultural friendship.
They perform both original songs and popular covers, delivering energetic dance rhythms and actively engaging with the audience. Their music spans styles like dance pop, pop rock, afrobeat, Latin, and funk. Vocalist Abdullah’s vibrant performance keeps the audience captivated, while the charismatic Diana (synth/vocals) enchants with her deep voice and dynamic stage presence.
Guitar – Leonard
Drums – Edgardas
Bass Guitar – Artur

AISTÈ (Lithuania) debuted on the Lithuanian stage a year ago. She has presented a debut album, “The Theory of Everything,” filled with gospel, psychedelic, and soul music, as well. Energetic, possessing a wonderful voice, the artist and creator AISTÈ says she is greatly inspired by the music of the 70s. Music icons such as Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles have had a significant influence on her music. The singer also produces her own music and creates choreography. During her concert, AISTÈ will present intimate and emotional versions of songs from her debut album, encouraging belief in a better tomorrow.

Zay’Zemi is a Venezuelan artist, currently living in Lithuania. She’s been playing over 8 years, and she describes her Dj set as a music travel charging of tribal and afro vibes. All of this open a chromatic portal of transcendental expression of earthly elements towards frequent astral frequencies.
In the heat of this eidetic multiverse, her mixes are loaded with percussive rhythms, mapping sounds from the South American and African zone. Dj set are executed in a bipolarity (map and route) which manage to relate the fusion between: House, Disco and Tech house. Adorned with energy demonstrating how versatile, emotional and tripping Dj sets can be.

At the festival, there will also be creative workshops, art installations, a community area, food and drink zones, and other activities. The event starts at 6 PM
Funded by the European Union.
Organized by the 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 Culture Council. Media partner: LRT.

June 17, 2024