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(By Fernando P. Arderius)

Party is over. The 13th edition of the Sofia IN THE PALACE International Film Festival arrived this last sunday to its end, and we already know the names of the winners at the different cattegories of this year. Luckily, the last day of the international and national competition didn't mean that the audience had to came back to their home to rest. In fact, just the opposite. Arrived from one of the main and more multicultural cities of the Mediterranen Sea, we were pleased to be accompanied in the very last day at the NDK of IN THE PALACE by Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra (BGKO), that from now they will be Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra, (due to the incorporation of Joaquin Sánchez Gil, spanish clarinettist, and the research of the band to find new sounds, inspired by the rich balkanic music).

Around 400 people from (at least) 15 countries shared dances, laughs and joy in the heart of Sofia, people who arrived yesterdat to the National Palace of Culture after a week of debates, conferences and a very high level film contests, to watch the concert of BGKO. An international acoustic ensemble based in Barcelona with a particular style that comes from klezmer, Jazz and Romani music.

Filmmakers, people from the industry, fans of movies and Sofia's music lovers citizens that were, most of them, sitting on the chair of the NDK's Hall 3 at the beginning of the recital. It was around half past ten, and the band asked to the crowd to be more close, literally. "We need you here, to enjoy the music with us" they said, and the audience answered rapidly. Dozens of persons stand up from their spots. After every single song, from their debut album ('Imbarca', 2012), and they demo from 2014 with three new tracks 'La Dama d' Arago', 'Cigani Ljubjlat Pesjni' and 'Hasta Siempre', Comandante, the people were feeling more comfortable and the claps were in crescendo.

The dances never stopped, and if in one song the stage looked like there's was a balkanic band playing, in the next one it felt like you were listening to to arabic music with a cup of herbal tea, or for example shaking your legs in latin music club in a southerm american country. Every instrument of the BGKO suit perfectly with each other in their live concerts, and you can feel the different influences of this multicultural group. The clarinettist Joaquin Sánchez Gil joined the band from Málaga (Spain), Mattia Schirosa brought the accordion from Italy, the french Julien Chanal plays the guitar, Ivan Kovačević (Serbia) is at the double bass, the greek Stelios Togias is with the darbuka, and Sandra Sangiao from Barcelona is the voice of the group, and also dances during the concerts.

Gipsy sounds, walska, flamenco... tons of music influences that converges in an unique sound on the stage, creating a familiar atmosphere where you feel comfortable dancing between friends. At least that was we lived yesterday at the recital that closed, finally, the 13th editon of the Sofia IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival that took place at the National Palace of Culture, NDK, (December 8th-13th

O Trance do Mimo 2

(By Fernando P. Arderius | Photos: Enrico Tasselli)

 

On their facebook profile, they define theirselves as the most ugliest people of the first quadrant of the Milky Way, but the truth is that in person they look better, just like their music. O Trance Do Mimo, a street folk formation from Portugal was the band selected yesterday night to open the 13th edition of the In the Palace International Short Film Festival, that will take place in NDK (National Palace of Culture) until December 13th.

It was half past ten. Around 200 people were chilling in the hall of  the seventh floor of the NDK. Chatting, having some drinks, smoking cigarettes in one of the most beatiful views of Sofia... Suddenly, a clarinet and a saxophone make everyone silent. They are Charlotte Joerges and Tiago Bengalote, inviting everyone to come inside. As in the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the crowd start to follow them into the Hall 3, were the rest of the band is awaiting and willing to iniziate to play their songs.

Songs -as they define them- between gipsy reggae, rumba, tango and balcanic swing,with oriental and arabic influences, born after a year and a half of music coexistence in the streets of Lisbon. But they are not portuguese. At least not all of them. France, Spain, Germany, and of course, the land of the Fado. Different nationalities and diverse influences that converge in a single project with an original sound, with a single attitude in their concerts, make everyone dance.

And so it was yesterday evening at the NDK. Almost two hours of live music with an internacional and devoted audience that never stopped jumping and shaking their legs with tracks like O Elefante Amarelo, Caravan, Ska D'Alma, Tempos Reggaes or Lufosom, with a very rich sound that can go from the waltz to the ska. A really good start for five days of film, music and art meeting In The Palace.

 

O Trance do Mimo 1

O Trance do Mimo 3

O Trance do Mimo 4

O Trance do Mimo 5

One Soul. Photo: Maria Ballester

(By Fernando P. Arderius | Photos: Maria Ballester)

The Blues Brothers, James Brown, Audrey Hepburn, Louis Armstrong... None of these artists were invited to the reggae concert and jam session that took place last Wednesday night at Maze club in the very heart of Sofia, but they were staring at the crowd from every corner. Red lights, vinil records, disco balls and for sure, dozens of posters of American artists and landscapes hanging on the walls were waiting for the night guests.

There were around 200 people from 15 countries about to enjoy a good night in a unique atmosphere, organized by Out of The Palace music and art festival, part of the 13th edition of In The Palace International Film Festival Sofia (8th­13th December, NDK, National Palace of Culture).

After the great success of the first jam session in Hambara bar on November 26th, it was time for One Soul, a reggae band from Sofia, to keep up with the beats­or the love as they would say­, accompanied by a bunch of Bulgarian and international musicians in a later open jam session that gathered five nationalities on the stage.

 

Foto: Maria Ballester

 

It was quiet at the beginning, and it looked like the people were afraid to dance, but the warm attitude of the band and its lead singer Nikola Upliftah, quickly managed to make all legs shake endlessly. Lively reggae and dancehall tracks like Rize, Soul True, Short by Love, Nah Sell my Soul and other covers from Bob Marley or Dennis Brown made all of them forget about the cold Sofia nights.

Beyond an intense one hour and a half of live music where collectivity, fun, togetherness, love, and soul were key, it was time to set music free in the second open jam session organized by Out the Palace. From midnight on an extremely devoted audience danced to a night of African sounds, funky, neo soul, dance hall, dub, and also classical rock covers which coexisted on the stage of Maze until late in the night.

Apart from One Soul, also from Bulgaria, we had the enormous pleasure to count with the singers Michelle Mandela and Stoyan Staikov, Yordan Geshkov at the bass; guitar Ivan Stilianov, Dimitar Totev, Mario Mihailov and the group formed by Alx, Michaela and Martin. From Croatia we enjoyed Nikica Caras and Spanish Juan Luis Gomez, both at the percusion, Yasas Navaratne from Italy played the melodica and Havas Eszter and Piroska Meszaros from Hungary were in the vocals.

Finally, the second Out of the Palace festival's event was yet another successful night which lasted six hours of live and very diverse music in a very warm and familiar atmosphere in the middle of Sofia, in a crowded bar full of people that, as Nikola said many times, became one soul for one night.

 

One Soul. Photo: Maria Ballester

 

One Soul. Photo: Maria Ballester

 

One Soul. Photo: Maria Ballester

 

One Soul. Photo: Maria Ballester