A fantastical musical spectacle, the concert of the globally famous and popular Harlem Gospel Choir, will officially open this years Street Musicians Festival, on Thursday, 4th September at 8:30 p.m., on the Freedom Square (Trg Slobode). World famous and charismatic, this musical ensemble from the heart of New York will prepare for the citizens of Novi Sad and their guests an unforgettable atmosphere in the spirit of modern gospel, with elements of blues and jazz. This event was announced on the media conference, held in the City Hall in Novi Sad.
The member of the City Council for Culture, Vanja Vučenović, revealed his delight during this occasion at the fact that the Street Musicians Festival, as a cultural event of great importance to Novi Sad, but beyond as well, is going to be held for the 14th time under the patronage of the city’s governing body.
- This festival is, among other things, also important because of the affirmation it provides to young artists from our surroundings and the region, as there truly are a lot of them, and it is a good thing that they have an opportunity to participate in a cultural exchange such as this. The development of this event is also of great importance for the city’s budget and the affirmation of the city in its continued effort to receive the title of the Cultural Capital of Europe for 2021 – stressed Vučenović and invited our fellow citizens to come in great numbers to the grand opening, as well as the entire program of the Street Musicians Festival, which will be held in Novi Sad from the 4th to 6th September.
Harlem Gospel Choir is stationed in their namesake part of New York, where it was founded in January 1986, on the date as the birthday of Martin Luther King, the greatest fighter for rights of African-Americans in the 20th century. The first performance of the choir was in the legendary “Cotton Club”, and today has over 60 members from the ages of 17 to 70. Their every performance represents a true spectacle of excellent, live music, with instrumental support, dance and vocal brilliance that can rarely be heard anywhere else. The Harlem Gospel Choir has also performed for two of America’s presidents, Carter and Obama, two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and they have also recorded and performed with true pop greats as are Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Elton John, Bono Vox, Diana Ross and others. The choir’s repertoire is made up of modern interpretations of classic gospel songs, as sung to this very day in churches in Harlem and all over America.
The arrival of the Harlem Gospel Choir to Novi Sad is realized with the help of the embassy of the United States of America (USA) in Belgrade. The counselor to the ambassador of USA for media and culture, Ryan Rowlands, emphasized on the conference his great pleasure in the cooperation between the embassy and the Street Musicians Festival.
- Our mission in Serbia is, among others, to share with the citizens a part of our culture and tradition as well, and this choir is a real representative of art, and spiritual heritage of the American people. It is my belief that the visitors of the Festival will truly enjoy this spectacular music, which makes it impossible for you to stand still and not dance – said Rowlands.
Gospel music is spiritual in nature, and has been deeply rooted in the history of the African-American community from the beginning of the 18th century to this day. Created as an expression of African slaves on the American soil, it combines folklore and musical tradition of their ancient homeland with their new found faith – Christianity. This original artistic expression has in time greatly impacted the development of the contemporary directions in music, and is considered today as the source of popular music of the 20th and 21st century – blues, soul and rock’n’roll.
The variety of the program from all of the world meridians enables intercultural dialogues through exchange between foreign and local artists, which is one of the main priorities of the Street Musicians Festival, and in that way the Festival strives to enrich the artistic offer of Novi Sad and make it open to all influences, stressed on today’s conference the Festival’s director, Borislav Beljanski. At the same time, he pointed to the fact that this time in Novi Sad an impressive number of over 200 participants will perform on the Festival from these parts, Europe and other parts of the world.
The international program of the Festival will this year be completed with performances from top artists of the Italian street scene: Claudio Montuori – Birdman is the one-man-band who nurtures African rhythms and Italian melodies, while Daniele Mutino and Alessandro Federico are virtuosos on the harmonica and clarinet. Mexican, Rulas Quetzal is a master of percussions and fire dancing, in the tradition of the ancient Aztec people. The Irish Night program, in the Catholic courtyard on Friday, 5th September, will be completed by a performance from the singer-songwriter Ray Scully from Dublin, along with the “local Irishmen”, Irish Stew from Belgrade and Belfast Food from Croatia.
The Street Musicians Festival is organized by the Art Association “Inbox” from Novi Sad, with the support of the City of Novi Sad, Tourist Organization of Novi Sad, Provincial Secretariat for Culture an Public Information, the embassy of the United States of America in Belgrade and the Serbian Petroleum Industry.