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Walking in the land of giants.

The sounds of Ireland and Scotland will mingle in the air in the centre of old Nicosia this coming Thursday when the Faneromeni 18 festival will bring us musical narrations with popular storyteller Marina Katsari and musicians Loic Blejean and David Faure Brac from France.

The storytelling performance, which will take place in the grounds of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the Embassy of Ireland in Cyprus, will combine Celtic stories from Ireland and Scotland accompanied by the sound of traditional Celtic jigs and reels played on uilleann pipes, Irish flutes and a guitar.

Storytelling is something that Katsari was brought up with. Her parents were both refugees and moved to Oman, United Arab Emirates where she spent her first two years, and she remembers always being influenced by the stories her parents used to tell her about their lost homeland. She credits 90 per cent of her storytelling abilities to this, the other ten comes from her education. She studied early childhood education at the University of Cyprus before heading to the University of Warwick where she got her masters in drama and theatre in education.

The music will not only create the soundtrack to the evening but also a "natural, sound scenography," as Katsari puts it.

Words and music will unite to create a unique performance which will guide the audience to a distant but also universal -- thus familiar -- culture. After all, folk cultures are not that different from each other. Lately Katsari found the equivalent to Odysseus from Greek mythology in an Irish fairytale. Thus, stories from different cultures may not seem so foreign as "fairytales show us that we can count on co-existence, it's the only way for humans to get listeners to listen to their stories."

Talking about this collaboration between narration and music, Katsari said "some storytellers never narrate with music. Some others overuse it. Some musicians tend to describe or imitate step by step the images or sounds included in the narration. Other musicians create a parallel story. The musicians that I cooperate with and my narrations are somewhere in the middle. The stories we tell and the music we invest in interact, they comment on each other, they agree but they also don't hesitate to disagree. It's a difficult challenge but when it is successful, it offers a real artistic ecstasy."

Katsari and some of the musicians she works with were introduced to the Celtic Culture by David Faure Brac, who will accompany her at her performance for Faneromeni 18. Brac did not only introduce them to the Celtic fairy-tales but also to the immense mythology of the era.

The three stories to be told on the night will be The Giant's Causeway, which is about the legendary natural of phenomenon in Northern Ireland, The Hunchback of Knockgrafton -- a story about the contradiction between external ugliness and inner virtue -- and The Adventures of a Storyteller. The most interesting part about this trilogy, according to Katsari is that "all of them are incorporated into a fascinating scenario, full of surprises, which I won't reveal right now."

In the Lands of the Giants

Musical narrations with Marina Katsari, Vangleis Yettos, David Faure Brac and Loic Blejean as part of the third Faneromeni 18 Festival. June 28. Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, Nicosia. 9pm. Free. Tel: 22-128157

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 23, 2018
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