Selams årskrönika 2022!

299213920_10159071706113230_7239338609049604147_n fredag 30 december 2022 / / Tags:

2022 has been the longest year in Selam’s history so far. 365 days as usual, but the days have escaped much more than ever before. Not only have the days contained more, to a greater degree than at any time before in our history, the year has been the fruit we have reaped of labor and toil in previous years. And that is only fitting; in the year Selam has celebrated 25 years, we have grown into something more and bigger than we were before.

It sounds like a success story, and we have certainly celebrated successes. But much of what we’ve managed to do has been the solution to intractable problems, postponed projects, the restart of canceled concerts and festival plans that were crushed by the Corona pandemic. Clearly, this year was also affected by the pandemic, not least because there are still restrictions affecting so many of our employees in other countries. And other countries – Selam’s work has always been cross-border, but this year we took new steps on the African continent. Partly through the launch of the new network PANAF (Pan-African Network for Artistic Freedom) in Zanzibar; partly the five-year project Connect for Culture Africa. In both cases, it has been the fruit of many years of work, not least through the Connect for Culture training that Selam carried out in 2020, but by extension the long work to establish networks in Africa that Selam has been involved with since the organization took the first steps out of the cradle at Fasching for 25 years ago. During 2022, Selam’s office in Ethiopia has also continued its important work to support the cultural sector in nine different regions.

25 years ago! Not everything that happened this anniversary year has been sunshine stories, for the first time ever we had to cancel a concert at short notice when an artist – Gal Costa – fell ill before Selam Festival Stockholm, only to die two days before the originally announced date. One of our employees suffered a serious illness and had to be on sick leave for some time. It is impossible to sum up this year without mentioning it. It is easy to want to emphasize success and tailwind, but sometimes we do it to the mild degree that it can appear that our work is a bed of roses when it is rather a constant toil against overwhelming odds and some projects just barely go smoothly in lock. Behind every world artist and internationally hyped ensemble we have had the honor of presenting – such as on Orchestra Baobab’s 50th anniversary tour, or Youssou N’Dour and Eva Ayllón’s acclaimed performances at Konserthuset Stockholm – lie months and sometimes years of work arranging visas and getting tour plans to be locked in.

We have had time for some premieres and some dear reunions. We have entered into new collaborations with Fasching and Uppsala Konsert och Kongress from which we see great things coming in the future. We have welcomed Mogadishu’s disco legends Dur-Dur Band back to Sweden – to a bigger audience than ever – at Gustav Adolfs torg during the Stockholm Culture Festival. In the same place, we also held our biggest concert of all time in front of 20,000 spectators with the queen of Afrobeats, Yemi Alade. It feels like we got all the musical nutrients you could want this year, from the Senegalese-Swedish phenomenon, the group and exchange Wau-Wau Collectif, the godfather of Ethio-jazz Mulatu Astatke, Afro-Cuban jazz & soul star Dayme Arocena to local heroes like Club Killers and Los Luchitos and Blacknuss’ unforgettable 30th anniversary. We have developed and deepened the work with Selam Academy and received new mentor students in cultural production, and again collaborated with Parkteatern, with acclaimed concerts with Eme Alfonso Puagme 13 and Balkew Alemu.

There are so many seeds that were planted years ago that have blossomed in the past year. Selam Sessions, the series of quality recordings we produced during the Corona restrictions meant that a number of the local artists we love the most have reached a global audience. The Ethiopia-based music venture Musikawi has led to us seriously starting to work with supporting musicians in Ethiopia to take command of their publishing themselves and have the rights to their music. We look forward to what all this will bring in the coming years. Those who from the outside have been a year of festival frenzy and joy have built on several years of blood, sweat and tears behind. But now we move forward to years of giddiness and joy!

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