PRESS RELEASE 3
The 25th OKARINA ETHNO FESTIVAL that took place in Bled between 17 July and 9 August 2015 closed with a concert by the Portugal singer Gisela João. In 14 evening events the organizer, Bled Culture Institute, enveloped more than 20,000 visitors in a colourful and vibrant musical experience with acclaimed musicians from across the globe. The concerts were held on Bled Castle, in the Bled Festival Hall, and on the new stage on the Bled Promenade.
Opening the 25th OKARINA ETHNO FESTIVAL on 17 July were Neca Falk, Smaal Tokk and Kontrabant took on the Promenade. A week later, on 24 July, the members of the Mercadonegro Orquesta (Cuba, Peru, Brazil), currently the hottest salsa ensemble in the world, brought the audience to their feet and drew to Bled dancers for near and far for the first Bled Salsa Night.
The main part of the festival took place between 29 July and 9 August 2015. The energetic performance by the South African band Abavuki was followed by the awesome Vołosi ensemble from Poland, a group of traditional music singers from Sardegna,Tenores di Bitti, Frankie Lane and Paul Kelly Duo from Ireland, Lotus Duo from Vietnam, and bluesman Big Daddy Wilson from the States. Then the festival stages were dominated by the magical voices of Josipa Lisac from Croatia, traditional music singer Cara Dillon from Ireland, Carmen Paris from Spain, and the Simangavole female band from Reunion Island. The colourful and vibrant performance of the Catalan sound by Calima confirms the great reputation and standing which this band, as well as all other Okarina Festival 2015 performers, enjoy with the critics. Apart from foreign musicians, the Okarina Festival also hosted the local Gorje Brass Band, who enthralled the audience by their carefully selected programme that paid tribute to Slavko Avsenik and Lojze Slak, the legends of Slovenian folk music. The Festival ended with concerts by Ester Rado, an Israeli singer of Etyopian origin, and Gisela João from Portugal, whose performance will close the festival.
Matjaž Završnik, Director of Bled Culture Institute, stressed the superior quality of the concert programme and the leap forward in the level of festival organisation. “I believe that this year's festival has set the bar pretty high, also for the future. We have invested more work and more funds in the organisation of this year's 25th festival but the positive feedback we have been receiving from the audiences has been tremendous and shows that we have made the right decision, and we intend to pursue this path in the years to come.”
Leo Ličof says: “During the 25 years of its existence, the Festival has faced many changes but its life line of ethnic music being at the root of all music has remained unchanged. Ethnic music will continue to be the main element of the festival but we would like it to evolve along the contemporary trends presented at this year's Okarina. Just like top performers go back to earlier musical traditions of their nations and then reinterpret them in modern musical rhythms, the people behind Okarina would love to take the festival down the same road, in particular towards jazz.”