Songs in Europe – Slovakia Actionlogo idea

Slovakia Action

Stropkov, Slovakia

We were met at the airport by Miro who took us on a tour of Kosice as we were the first to arrive. After a hot afternoon walking round the city, we were taken to our accommodation in Svidnik.
The next morning, we met everyone else who had arrived during the night. After breakfast, we were taken to the town of Stropkov where we would do our presentations and meet some of the other organisations that Krajina works with. We all gave a presentation to the group and then the afternoon was spent learning dances and taking part in them. Towards the end of the day, we were given song sheets and told about the song that we were to learn and perform at the end of the week.

On the second day of the action, we had a bit of a cultural experience in the Svidnik museum, where we met up with Ivan, a participant we had met in Turkey. Later on we were taken to a music school, where we were treated to many performances by some of the students, who it turned out, attended this school after their normal school. They sang danced and played instruments for us. The headmistress than took us around the school and showed us the classrooms. Having never been to a music school, it was interesting to see the set up, most are getting renovated so it is one to one lessons. our translator during the tour was Ivan’s granddaughter, who had been learning English from a young age. We also met a young group who are made up of the local teenagers between 14 – 18years old who learn the traditional dances and songs. They usually give up the group once they move away for university or work, which is why there are very few people in the group over the age of 18.

On the Saturday, we had another cultural day and saw Bardejov, a UNESCO heritage town. we had free time to walk around the centre, seeing the Medieval walls and buildings, before having a tour in the idol museum. We were then taken to an open air museum where they conserved and preserved traditional wooden buildings, including churches, traditional homes, barns, storage buildings etc all made of local wood by traditional methods. This museum was also on the site of a spa where people travel form all over to drink the water, which runs from several springs, each tasting distinctly different (definitely not to everyone’s taste!). We then prepared for an evening of music at the sacred concert in St Cyril Methodist church, where we saw the local groups perform, including the young group who we met earlier in the week. this was done after evening mass. We also held out project evaluation meeting. The Spanish group wore their traditional costumes for this performance and sang Ave Maria with the rest of the Slovak group.

Sunday was Mother’s Day and to celebrate this day, we were taken to the village of Nizna Olsava where we were introduced to the mayor of the village over some lunch. We were then introduced to the village during the festival, which included performances by primary school children and the local folk groups. the young group we met earlier in the week performed songs and traditional dances. They also performed the Turkish dance we learnt at the Turkish action for the village. The Spanish group performed one of their traditional dances in their costumes and Germany showed everyone their costumes. The celebration ended with us receiving our certificates and then singing the song we had been expertly taught during the week “Tancuj Tancuj” with the rest of the other performers.

We then finished the week by going to watch a popular folk group who were touring the area – The Kandracs in the village of Brusnica, who played traditional folk songs with a modern twist. it was an enjoyable evening to all.

We departed Slovakia with more of an understanding of how important traditional folk music and dances are to each region, something that is not seen that much in the UK. It was a great week and it was sad to leave everyone, but we will meet most again plus new people during the UK action.

A video summary of the Slovakian action can be seen here


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

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