EJN Staff Exchange Programme

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Previous participant: Gregor Karpov

From: Cankarjev dom (Slovenia)
To: Skopje Jazz Festival (Macedonia)
14 - 21 October 2018

My work as a participant of EJN exchange staff for SFJ started on 14th of October till 21st of October 2018.

Director of Festival Mr. Oliver Belopeta and his assistant Mr. Kostadin Šurbanovski  gave me instructions on the first day meeting in their office, what do they expect from me. I was aware of importance and previous history festivals of SFJ, but I got more clear picture about their idea of festival and it's energy.

I was working as a stage manager assistant with home crew and their head of team Mr. Vančo Bogoevski (as a pruducent manager, stage it is not strange to me). We had two places for concerts, first was in the hall of Macedonian Opera and Ballet (MOB) and second place was MKC (Youth Club Centre) for late evening concert.

Officialyy SJF started on 18th of October till 21st of October2018 considering concerts, but there were two supporting events, on 16th of October there was an occasion of representing an award for best young Macedonian jazz musician Filip Dimiskovski and representing of new strong sponsor – Qatar Airways and others. On 17th of October there was an art exibition of African Arts in National Macedonian Art Gallery and later, African music night in place called Manada in old part of Skopje (Čaršija) where I met plenty people I've been working together in Cankarjev dom jazz concerts or Jazz Festival Ljubljana. Nice to meet people from different bands and a crew of Jazz Festival Cerkno for whom I was working several years.

We started with festival concerts on 18th of October in MOB with solo piano concert of Alexander Hawkings and David Murray Quartet with excellent drummer Nasheet Waits. It is warming your heart when such musicians remebering you from the past concerts in Ljubljana. Late concert in MKC was two of my heroes, Arto Lindsay and Paal Nielsen-Love.

On 19th of October Wadada Leo Smith solo concert and Harriet Tubman  who's trio was joint in a certain moment in one song with Wadada. Great! In the evening in MKC was solo concert of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) which is our hero from youth times. 

20th of October was technically most complex day. Three bands and a lot of work on the stage, especially for Trondheim voices which have very complex technical needs and their performance is unique. Mette Rasmusen was joined at the point with Harriet Tubman, Trondheim Voices had their northern saga vocal music with video performance and at the end it is good to meet all friends I've been working with them several times  Santos Silva, Drake and Baars. Late night in MKC great concert with Mopo from Finland which change a lot since I was working with them. Absolutely positive!

21st of October was last day of SFJ with focus on their home musician, a Berkley Music student, guitarist Toni Kitanovski, 30 years in music with two different set ups (bands), Panda 5 (newest) and his band with all friends musicians he had previously working with them. Amazing! This night there were no late concert in MKC and I was packing and leaving for the airport.

Even day schedule was tight from 12:00 till 3:00, it was a great expirience meeting all these people I know or not knowing them so far, but I met so many great individuals and learned a great deal of expirience, especially seeing some approaches towards work on stage, that we don't practice in our place. 

I'd really like to say one big thank you to: EJN,  Francesca Cerretani, Oliver Belopeta, Kostadin Šurbanovski, Goran Argiroski, Simona Jovčeva, Vančo Bogoev and his stage crew (SFJ) and Bogdan Benigar (Jazz Festival Ljubljana) for letting me to be a part of this great festival. Skopje is great town and Macedonia is very nice country with beatiful people and I felt very welcomed and happy among them. I am also very happy to learn, that they like my work and presence.

Thank you all.