Lithuanian Days In Scotland aims to 'make the future connections between our communities more tangible'
- Stewart Smith
- 18 October 2019
Series of events explores the many ties between Scotland and Lithuania that have manifested themselves across the centuries
'The artistic traditions of Lithuania and Scotland are rooted in the landscape,' says Justė Kostikovaitė, Lithuanian Cultural Attache in the UK. 'Its myths and stories, its forces of rejuvenation and awe, the solace it offers.' Lithuanian Days In Scotland emerged from a desire to share, connect and exchange. 'By bringing together Lithuanian musicians, intellectuals, storytellers, performers, cineastes and sharing our story, we make the future connections between our communities more tangible,' adds Renatas Norkus, Lithuanian Ambassador in the UK. 'We want to cultivate new partnerships and exchange ideas on the pressing issues that face us, to ask what role our past can play in making better solutions for the future.'
The festival opens with a concert from two virtuoso musicians, classical pianist Petras Geniušas and free jazz saxophonist Liudas Mockūnas, at St Cecilia's Hall in Edinburgh on Tue 22 Oct. Their project, 'The Sea in the Forest', takes us on a journey into the visionary world of one of the most celebrated and singular of Lithuanian artists, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911). Improvising on his piano compositions, the duo 'transform it into our music and aesthetics, so it becomes very personal for us.'
A teacher at the Lithuanian Music Academy and co-founder of the leading avant-jazz label No Business, Mockūnas plays in solo, chamber and orchestral situations. He has collaborated with the likes of Evan Parker, Mats Gustafsson, William Hooker, Barry Guy and Otomo Yoshihide. He is renowned for his innovative use of water-prepared wind instruments, as documented on his Hydro albums. Mockūnas has worked with Geniušas, who teaches at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, since 2011, and despite their different backgrounds and aesthetics, he finds they can still speak the same musical language. 'No matter what we play it's a lot of fun,' he says.
Other events include 'Garden of Tales: Stories of Lithuania', with storyteller Daiva Ivanauskaitė, on Wed 23 Oct, and screenings in Edinburgh and Glasgow of poetic and experimental documentary cinema from the Lithuanian film archive, Meno Avilys. Also on Wed 23 Oct, the University of Edinburgh will host 'Past to the future: Scotland, Lithuania, Europe', a roundtable discussion between leading literature and history academics. The programme concludes on Fri 25 Oct with a talk at Glasgow's Collective Gallery by curator Adomas Narkevičius from the Rupert Centre for Art and Education.
Lithuanian Days In Scotland, various venues, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Tue 22–Fri 25 Oct.