Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Annual festival showcases multicultural Queensland

Many people had a day of immersion into different cultures at the Queensland Multicultural Festival at the Roma Street Parklands in Brisbane’s CBD on Sunday, October 17.

Dance stage and food stalls, Roma Parklands Photo: Jin Kok

Dance stage and food stalls: Roma St Parklands on October 17. Photo: Jin Kok

Set over six performance areas, there were performances by ethnic dance groups, ensembles, traditional instruments groups and well known cultural performers like The View from Madeleine’s Couch.

Multicultural Affairs Minister Annastacia Palazczuk said in an earlier press release the event would show Queensland had a strong multicultural identity.

She said people would experience many of the state’s 200 cultures at the festival.

Russian ensemble

Among the acts on the “Unplugged Stage” was the Russian folkloric ensemble Samotsevty, who performed at similar events such as the Mariner’s Cove Fraser Coast Cultural Festival in south-east Queensland and the National Folk Festival in Canberra in the ACT.

Domra player Vladis Kosse said the Russian ensemble was established in 2000.

“The members come from the five republics of the former USSR – Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan,” he said.

Traditional Russian Costumes that Ensemble makes themselves Photo: Jin Kok

Traditional Russian costumes, which the ensemble make themselves. Photo: Jin Kok

Mr Kosse’s wife, Alla Ekzarkho, is the founder and artistic director of the ensemble.

Mr Kosse says his wife is the only “professional” in the group and with her background as a piano teacher, she organises musical arrangements and leads rehearsals.

“One of the main objectives of the group is to collect Russian folklore, preserve it and perform it,” Mr Kosse said.

“Usually some of the songs we find in recorded music, books with songs that are brought in from Russia … it is difficult to find the text of songs with musical notes so she [his wife] has to write in the notes.

“It is also necessary to divide it to different voices like sopranos, altos, tenors and bass.”

Mr Kosse says the ensemble has performed at the festival at least four times.

“It is really important and people [ensemble members] are proud that they represent the Russian culture and Russian folklore,” he said.

Another performer, Obertas Polish dancer Matthew Swiderek, said he was very nervous before taking the stage.

“It is my first time doing it at this time – I’ve only started dancing this year,” he said.

‘Excellent crowd’

Meanwhile, Tribal of Jubal managed to get the crowd on their feet and dancing to its fusion of Papua New Guinea traditional music and western tunes.

dressing room after the show Photo: Jin Kok

Tribal of Jubal performers in dressing room after the show. Photo: Jin Kok

Ben Hakalitz, founder of Tribal of Jubal said the crowd was excellent.

“I love the Brisbane crowd and it’s a real multicultural setting, so people come here to expect something different every time,” he said.

He says Tribal of Jubal was formed in 2007 and fuses contemporary Melanesia rhythms with Western music by combing traditional and Western instruments.

Mr Hakalitz said the Brisbane Ethnic Multicultural Arts Council (BEMAC) a sponsor of the festival, first approached them to come and perform.

“It’s great, it’s fantastic, it’s the first time we have done the show with this line-up,” he said.

“We usually have one section and a keyboard player but we could not bring them all in so we had to do a different set.

“Hopefully if they like this, we will come with a full band next time – three horns – trumpet, trombone and saxophone and a keyboard.”