ISFiT review #3: The Syrian Monologues

Word and photos by Jeanette Mauricio

Syrian monologues

A woman sitting in a bed where an old man is covered with white sheets. This is how the Syrian monologues start, a play that tells seven stories that can be the stories of thousands of people escaping a war.IMG_7713 It is a story of a daughter whose father suffers from cancer. He feels guilty because his sickness forced the family to stay. She sees her father dying in the hospital during a surgery but not because of cancer but of the lack of medical equipment and oxygen.

The daughter left Syria against her will. All the stories have the same feeling: they do not want to leave their country. All of them want to go back to Syria, back to their routine that used to make them happy.

Some of them ended up in Jordan. The place where this play has its origins. In 2014 ASHTAR was invited to initiate a project with Syrian refugees in Amman. They worked with 120 refugees from different ages but only a few decided to write their own stories. The stories were presented on the World Refugee Day the following year. This is, however, not the first time ASHTAR theater gathered testimonies. They started in 2010 when young people from Gaza wrote about their experiences of the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the siege. The project not only aimed to make others aware of the topic, but also became a tool for young people to cope with traumas from the aggressions.

According to the Amnesty International, more than four million of refugees from Syria are in the neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt.

The project is an international solidarity call for artists living in countries where Syrian refugees are fleeing to. It aims at raising the voices of Syrian refugees, at sharing their stories of agony and displacement, at sharing their dreams for safety and for a return to their homes and at helping them to fulfill them.
These experiences have driven ASHTAR Theatre to launch an artistic call in the hope that theater makers from different host communities of Syrian refugees will join us in this project.IMG_7730

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ISFiT review #2: The Flying Seagull Project, Latrice Royale and A talk between Peace Prize Laureates

Words by Zane Datava, Jelena Sitar and Sukhanwar Gulabuddin
Photos by foto.samfundet.no

It is Saturday afternoon in Trondheim, both adults and children sit in the circular entrance room at Samfundet eagerly waiting for the beginning of the show. The Flying Seagull Project creates new worlds out of the given surroundings. Dressed like the pirates and treasure hunters, actors play simple sketches. They use everything what is available around, and only a few things except music instruments. The Flying Seagull project creator’ s richest and never ending material is the audience, both adults and children get involved in cheerful, funny episodes of events, and all laugh together, dance, and play. digfr0535.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_pl A new ‘world’ performers create is a little more exciting, more livable, a lot more free, and funnier than the everyday life reality. That is what is needed in many places and their mode of playing doesn’t require using any language or special settings. Their goal and philosophy is to bring smiles for those who need it, as they recognize it as a basic human right. Since 2007 they have been around the world, spreading smiles in refugee camps, hospitals, orphanages, and slums, among other places.

ISFIT has brought them to Trondheim, and they received a warm welcome.digfr0534.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_pl (1)digfr0529.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_pl

Now it’s Saturday night. People run up the stairs charging to the door to get a seat as close to Latrice as possible. The hall is getting filled with tension and excitement in awaiting Latrice Royale to come to the stage.

Here she comes, with an emotional and uplifting theme focusing on her life story. The songs treat about her life and having a positive outlook, loving yourself and believing in yourself, as well as not regretting mistakes but learning from them and being grateful for all the experiences you had. They made you who you are. She also sings a related song, which is a Broadway classic “I am what I am.”digfs1073.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_plIn the end, the audience is given a proper cathartic moment, as Latrice goes off the stage and walks and dances among the people gathered. It gets even more emotional when Latrice’s fiancé, the pianist, asks the audience to sing her a birthday song in Norwegian. After singing the classic “Happy Birthday” in Norwegian, the crowd starts singing the special Norwegian birthday song which brings Latrice to tears. Love is in the air, and standing ovation seems not to have any end. We are not going to forget that night.digfs1071.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_pl

Then, finally, it’s Sunday early afteroon and a talk between Peace Prize Laureates. Dr. Shirin Ebadi and Ayat Al-Qurmeziwere are invited to share their views and concerns on the course of peace in ISFiT 2017.

Dr. Ebadi, the first speaker of the session, focuses on the role of young people in the fight against discrimination and making the world less discriminated and safer place for everyone.
“In many parts of the world, politicians are talking about building up walls to divide people- but sooner or later the walls will be demolished by people, as we witnessed the case of the Berlin wall. But I am more concerned about the walls that they want to build between our hearts, and you as young generation make sure to erase such boundaries and gaps which separate our hearts and build bridges to unite the world,” says Shirin Ebadi. According to her, ISFiT is a good model of diversity, where young people have a platform for dialogue and getting to know different cultures and civilizations. This is crucial in shaping a future based on trust, tolerance and mutual respect.

Ayat Al-Qurmezi, a young human rights activist and the Students’ Peace Prize winner, also delivers a touching speech highlighting her personal journey and fight for justice and freedom. On 2011, Ayat was arrested and sentenced to one year in prison after she joined a protest and read her revolutionary/critical poem against the corrupt regime in Bahrain. Sher was released after spending three months in a cell on a condition to stay quiet and not further oppose the government policy and system. She says “I made my first press interview, as I just steeped out of the jail because I had a strong commitment to fight for the rights and freedom of my people.”

Ayat believes that there is always a double standard in some countries, and one gets support based on nationality or passport identification, not as equal human beings. “You might know that, how much people suffer every day, even they get killed, but none of you even add our national flag on your Facebook profiles to show solidarity, because we are not from Paris,” she adds.

ISFiT review #1: an opening night with King Skurk One & 612

DevDhunsi_ks1-4038.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_plIt’s the opening night of the International Student Festival in Trondheim, and the mix of two very fresh names from the Oslo rap scene, King Skurk One and the 612 crew, together with one of Trondheim’s probably most prominent visual artist Pekka Stokke (Ljos) delivering a show at Dokkhuset, usually reserved for jazz and contemporary music, raised the bar for my expectations.DevDhunsi_ks1-4043.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_plAlready before getting inside, I’m met with a very different vibe than what I’m used to at this particular venue. Kamelen’s «Si Ingenting», a sort of Norwegian underground rap anthem from 2016, is playing through the outdoors speakers. A couple of kids turn up, start swaying to the song immediately, complain about being super broke but super hyped to see tonight’s show.

Inside, it did sort of feel like a student takeover — a young crowd through and through, student prices for beers at the bar, they even brought security staff I recognized from Studentersamfundet. But all in a good way, a nice change from the more formal setting of Dokkhuset.

The stage is glowing with a huge video projected backdrop and tastefully arranged stage lights. I arrive around 11pm, and the artists’ tour DJ has dropped his first tracks. A crowd has already started dancing in front of the stage. The show was planned to start late, which is a shame for grown-ups with stuff to do in the morning — but more fun for the kids.DevDhunsi_ks1-4019.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_plI went in to purposely discover what King Skurk One and 612 were about by seeing them live with little prior knowledge of their actual musical output. Turns out I was the minority… as soon as 612 enter the stage, the front crowd is shouting along, knowing all the words, melodies and drops. Their sound is hard, bringing together club and trap inspired beats with huge synth slabs and bass lines. There’s four of them on stage in addition to the DJ, trading lines effortlessly between them. I can’t even make out how young they are — one seems to be no older than 15, 16. All pure unadulterated energy.DevDhunsi_ks1-4017.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_plTheir set is short, and the transition to King Skurk One is seamless. He is a more focused on style, bringing only his producer / co-rapper Don Mogger with him on stage. The beats are just as thumping as 612’s, though with a slightly lighter G-funk vibe to them. Lyrically, it’s all about classic rap themes like self-boasting, getting paid, getting into trouble with cops and getting with your lady, but his delivery is smart. Every syllable is on point, and the crowd is having a blast. Though he’s far from an established name, his underground hype is well-deserved.

Both 612 and King Skurk One’s set times combined are just around the 50 minutes mark — the latter even performs a song for the second time to close his set. Not an uncommon thing among fresh artists that just have a few EP’s and SoundCloud tracks to their name but also not really a problem in this context — the crowd got what they paid for.DevDhunsi_ks1-4059.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_plDevDhunsi_ks1-4016.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_plDevDhunsi_ks1-3979.jak-zmniejszyc-fotke_pl

Photos by Aksel-Dev Dhunsi
Words by Andrew Christopher Anfinnsen

Tråante 2017

The festival is slowly getting to its end, so is this week. We are approaching weekend after a week full of a huge dose of interesting performances devoted to Sami culture, traditional food, art exhibitions, film showings, art performances, fashion show, and many many more. Wil_Lee-Wright_foto_Rein_Traante2017_93A058Tråante 2017 will be held for two more days, so you better hurry to catch up!Wil_Lee-Wright_foto_Rein_Traante2017_93A0671copy
It is just amazing to observe how colorful Trondheim became this week. Or shall we say Tråante2017 week?Wil_Lee-Wright_foto_Rein_Traante2017_93A0699copy
Despite freezing blasts of wind for the first days the festival, Torget remained crowded for the entire time of Rein 2017. No one wonders why, it was a proper celebration of food, reindeer herding tradition, and reindeer meat.Wil_Lee-Wright_foto_Rein_2017_93A1619copy

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Before we call it a day, we would like to take you on a trip into images from last days with Tråante.Wil_Lee-Wright_foto_Rein_Traante2017_93A0590

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Photos by Wil Lee-Wright/Rein 2017
Words by Kasia Gasiorek

Trondheim Calling – The List answers!

Trondheims very own wintertime music festival is entering its third and final day, and this far it has been a blast.
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Festivals are a special thing. The bands, the people and the vibe. Ask anyone who has been to Trondheim Calling and they will tell you it has got it all. The concept of a wintertime festival might seem strange to some, as most people would associate festivals with summer. It is a different experience to walk from one concert to another in freezing temperatures for sure, but it is a good excuse to get your dance on!

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Trondheim Calling has since the beginning utilized the great selection of venues in the city. Sometimes even the unlikeliest of spaces are turned around to host fantastic music. This year, for the first time ever, Trondheim Calling has built a ‘festival village’ inside Olavskvartalet’s empty shopping center. The Olavshallen ‘Lille Sal’ is naturally a great venue for enjoying great music at this location, but a space previously occupied by a high end fashion shop might not seem so obvious a choice for setting up a night club. At Trondheim Calling it is!

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The ‘HYSJ!’ and ‘Freek.I.Natt’ night clubs play a variety of music, setting the stage for all night dancing sessions. If you need a breather or a quick refill of drinks you find the festival bar in the next room, and burgers are being served down the hall at ‘Lillebror’.

Trondheim Calling caters to your every need and The List has sampled it all. We have been checking out the ‘festival village’, had burgers at ‘Lillebror’, coffee based drinks at ‘Jacobsen og Blank’ and seen a variety of concerts all over town. We have seen some big bands, some small bands, up and coming artists and danced to the DJ sets at ‘HYSJ!’ and ‘Freek.I.Natt’. We have seen Ivan Ave jazz out at Rockheim, Fight the Fight rock our socks of at Olavshallen, Hanne Hukkelberg serenade us at Dokkhuset and Oppkast ala Kart & Hella Rev mezmerize with rap at Diskoteket. Every single concert has exceeded our expectations.

Tickets for tonight are still available if you are quick! It will be an experience you will never forget.

Photos by Wil Lee-Wright
Words by Matias Bretteville-Jensen

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February is packed!

We are slowly shaking off the after-Christmas laziness, facing first failures in meeting our new year’s resolutions and getting ready to be back to our normal lives, aren’t we? 🙂 Whew, finally!

Some might have an impression that wintertime in Trondheim is all about darkness, skis, and snow. Well, you must be surprised this year. No snow hence no skiing. Luckily, there are plenty of festivals to keep you, lovely people, busy and compensate you for lack of winter! Here is an overview of big cultural events you can expect this month.161217_586_trdcalling20172-4 February
Trondheim Calling is Norway’s biggest national music conference and showcase festival. It celebrates the new Norwegian music, showcasing artists who are heading for a breakthrough and raise the level of competence in Norwegian music industry. Find detailed listings in The List 14, page 66.5000x2500_jielemen_aavoe_FotoJarleHagen6-9 February
Tråante 2017 is both a national celebration in Norway and a jubilee for Sami people from Sweden, Finland, and Russia. It’s going to be focused on democracy, justice, and diversity. A great chance to learn about Sami culture and history. For those who want to get ready for the festival, learn a few useful phrases in Sami and read what the festival is all about, we recommend you grab a copy of The List and open it at the page 40.image1_by Lars Grønnestad9-19 February
ISFiT is the world’s largest thematic student festival. It has been organized every other year since 1990, gathering students from all over the world for ten days of dialogue, cultural arrangements, and workshops. This year’s edition is focusing on discrimination. Want to learn more? You won’t be surprised… it’s in there, page 13. In The List 14, we are taking you on a journey into the history and festival’s highlights.

To mention a few more: Barrokkfest (1-5 February), Åre Gastronomy in Sweden ((2-11 February), Rørosmartnan (21-25 February), Studentlekene and lots of smaller events that you will all find listed in The List 14. Get ready for an intensive month and indulge yourself in festival life 🙂

Wait! There is also one to plan ahead for. Kosmorama is an annual international film festival taking place 6-12 March. It embraces a wide variety of cinematic experiences through an extensive film program. A unique opportunity to watch international films in English or with English subtitles.Kosmorama_inbetween_05
Photos by Jarle Hagen,Lars Grønnestad, Trondheim Calling,and Kosmorama
Words by Kasia Gasiorek