Fribourg will this week be dancing to the tunes of traditional groups from all over the world, which are taking part in the International Folklore Festival.
Now in its 26th year, the festival will this week be presenting dance groups from countries as diverse as Peru, Kazakhstan, South Africa and the United States. The event will culminate in a performance involving all eight groups on Saturday.
Among them are Serankure Marimba, a South African troupe of 12 men and three women which aims to preserve the popular traditions of the Setswana. In Fribourg, they will be presenting Setswana dances and songs, as well as games.
From the United States come the Apple Chill Cloggers, who have tried to preserve traditions brought over by immigrants from their countries of origin. Over time, these traditions have partly merged, creating a new folklore typical of the region of North Carolina which they come from, on the eastern slopes of the Appalachians.
The Apple Chill Cloggers derive their name from the type of dance they perform in clogs on a wooden floor.
Closer to home but from a world of its own, come Città di Tempio, a troupe which celebrates the traditions of a remote north-westerly area of the island of Sardinia. According to the organisers of the Fribourg festival, this is one of the best-known groups present and a regular at most of the big international folklore events.
The range of cultures and traditions represented at the festival extends to "Akku" from Kazakhstan, "Sarreyat Ramallah" from the Palestinian territories, "Pacha Peru" from Peru, the Philippine group "Cultural Centre", and "Cossacks of Podolla" from Ukraine.
The International Folklore Festival aims to offer a platform for authentic groups representing traditions that are still alive. It is the only annual festival of this kind in Switzerland, although Neuchatel, Zurich and Martigny (every two years) also host festivals of folklore.
by Malcolm Shearmur
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