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      On late Thursday, the VII international folk-contest festival “The Flower of the Sun” ended after six days full of festive mood and activities in the city of Šiauliai. At the end of the final gala concert, the winner ensemble was awarded the Grand Prix title and prize of EUR 1500. This year the Grand Prix was awarded to the ensemble “Grupo Etnográfico de Areosa” from Portugal.

 

       

      However, this is not the first award that the Portuguese ensemble received in the contest-festival “The Flower of the Sun”. The performers from Portugal were invited to ascend the stage for the third time. In the contest programme demonstrated on 3–4 July the ensemble was acknowledged as the best group of instrumental music and the best traditional folk dance group.

     “Grupo Etnográfico de Areosa” is an ensemble performing traditional Portuguese dances, music and songs, preserving and disseminating traditions, rituals and customs of Viana region. Throughout entire festival, this ensemble excited the audience with cheerful traditional dances, music, energy, positive attitude and colourful nineteenth-century style national costumes made by performers themselves. Perhaps these were the charms that influenced the jury.

    “We think, the ensemble from Portugal was one of the most active and friendly ensembles of the festival. We became very good friends with them, stayed together like one family. During the contest we tried not to miss any of their performances. At the end of their each performance the loudest applause and joyful emotions always were expressed by us,” their delegation’s guides-volunteers Rolandas Erniulis and Gintarė Varanavičiūtė rejoice about the victory of the Portuguese ensemble.

      During the final gala concert, special prizes were given as well. A special prize of the Chairperson of the International Jury, Zita Kelmickaitė, acknowledging the promotion of stylised folklore was awarded to the ensemble “Cherkaschanka” from the Ukraine. The folk dance ensemble “Venzelya” from Russia, received the Audience Prize. The ensemble “Golden Bridge” from Turkey was awarded the Prize for Preservation of Traditions.
In total, the festival welcomed folk ensembles from 12 countries: Brazil, the USA, Poland, Finland, Latvia, Portugal, the Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, India, Slovakia and Lithuania. For the first time, “The Flower of the Sun” displayed ethnographic heritage shared by folk performers from three new countries taking part in the festival – the USA, Brazil and Portugal.

Adas Viliušis

Photos: Zaneta Bytautiene ir Rolandas Parafinavicius

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