SUNS Europe 2023

by | Oct 25, 2023 | ARTICLES

Who would have ever thought to listen to a music coming from the Faroe Islands or a Basque rapper all together in the same festival? This, and more, happens every year in Udine for the SUNS Europe.

SUNS Europe is the festival of performing arts in all the European minority languages, organized by Radio Onde Furlane, an historic radio of Friuli where the inhabitants speak almost exclusively the Friulian language.
Our band, KroaTarantata, also played in this festival nine years ago, presenting the song Duša našoga grada.

This year, for the MAK Festival we met again the artistic director of the SUNS Festival, Leo Virgili, who came to play in Montemitro, our village in Molise, with the group Cûr di Veri and who, then, invited me to go to Udine, a few months later, for the SUNS Europe 2023. And so it was!

I left from Termoli on a Thursday morning and arrived in Udine in the evening, just in time to listen to the first concert of the festival in a nearby town: Codroipo. Dania O. Tausen played with his group from the Faroe Islands and so did Mishima, a Catalan group.
The first night was mainly to get to know each other; almost all the staff was not there when we went to play in Udine a few years before, so not everyone knew us. However, someone who knew our reality and the history of our language was there, so much to wonder why for years Wikipedia wrote that we were two thousand nanašo speakers: “Can it be that in your village no one dies and no one is born?”

I replied that no one is born there, this is almost true, so as it’s true that many people are no longer there because they died or just because they left… but these last ones are still very close to their villages, so that we can say that there are more than two thousand na-našo speakers in the world.

The day after, they put me to work early in the morning and the first task was to go and get the prizes in a small craft shop that stood in the streets of the center: I still wonder what was on their heads when they gave me such a delicate task without barely knowing me. The prizes, however, arrived at the destination where, on Saturday, the final concert would be held: the Teatro Nuovo “Giovanni da Udine”, a beautiful and very large theater, so large that to get where to go inside of it, I got lost at least three or four times.
Before eating we introduced ourselves, both the musical groups and the guests, who were: Patxi Zubizarreta, one of the greatest writers in the Basque language and Paolo Carboni, the artistic director of the Babel Film Festival, a film festival of minority languages films organized in Sardinia: we immediately got on so well that we thought of a future collaboration in the upcoming years.
This is the great thing about events like the SUNS festival, getting to know many people in the world with whom you share the same interests and with whom you can collaborate to carry out initiatives together.
Everyone was very interested in our history and in our countries, and this made me very happy. In the evening there was another concert: Ødei, a Basque rapper who stole your heart and Chroma, a phenomenal Welsh rock band.

The organization was that perfect in the previous days that on Saturday we only did the tasks that could not be done in the previous days. Maybe we should learn to do this ourselves and avoiding running last time to finish preparing everything. But maybe it’s nice like this, everyone does what they can do. It would take another article to talk about all those who worked for the festival – what beautiful people – and for all the things that are done for the Friulian language: a very lively language.

It’s time for the concert: more than six hundred people came in to listen to the music competition and all, as they entered, were already happy to hear different musics and words: we all had a smile printed on our face, difficult to describe. You could feel it in the air that it would have been a magical evening!

I was in the merchandising unit, for both the festival and the groups. Yes, if I had to tell this, no one would believe me, because in my village, during our festivals, this has never happened. And people also came to me, and they spoke Friulian! After two days, I had started to train my ear with this language and since I wanted to feel integrated to the maximum, I answered to these people, but in Italian, without saying that I hadn’t understood them. I know that someone would also have thought: “These young people nowdays who answer in Italian and no longer speak our language!”

The following artists played for the competition: Dania O.Tausen (Føroyskt – Faroese), Ødei (Euskara – Basque), Lisa Harms (Nedersaksisch – Low Saxon), Devi Strussiat (Furlan – Friulian), Chroma (Cymraeg – Welsh), Mishima (Català – Catalan) and there were the FLK as guests, a historical group from Friuli.

Dania O. Tausen won both prizes (audience and jury). And Paolo Carboni was awarded too with the prize Altre Europe for his great work with the Babel Film Festival for minority languages.

And then the party started: we all found ourselves in a club nearby to be together, to talk and, of course, to drink. I won’t say until what time we celebrated because the article is supposed to talk about something else, but I can tell that after a short time I had to take the train back home, but not before visiting the remains of Saint Lucia in Venice, because I was passing by anyway, and I couldn’t help but visiting her. Even though, then… I missed the train!

To sum up, I can state that in these days I found people that it is really very difficult to put into words (but you know, as someone says, people from Friuli and people from Molise are quite similar), I listened to stories of people who really fought to assert their rights and their language, people so tied to their cultural identity which is very often in danger because of someone else.

I think that for us a long journey has begun, starting from our villages, arriving in Friuli and expanding throughout Europe. I can’t wait to find a chance to meet these people again and be together…

…because, in the end: “No vin mighe di lassâsi come cjans?”