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Kaunas 2022, Around the Music and Culture in 80 days

Kaunas 2022, Open Ceremony Kaunas 2022, Open Ceremony Photo by Martynas Plepys

On 12-13 May, Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 will open a new Summer Stage, the essential cultural gift of the warm season for the city. Every Thursday to Sunday until mid-September, Kaunas Town Hall Square will host concerts, performances and other creative activities by Lithuanian artists and international guests.

The location of the new cultural space – Town Hall Square – fits perfectly with Kaunas 2022’s primary motto, “From Temporary to Contemporary”. It is one of the most traditional places in the city, where the sounds of today’s music will symbolically resound throughout the season, and later, the square will undergo reconstruction.

During the eighty days of stage activities, Kaunas aims to host performers not only from Lithuania and Europe but also from Asia and South America. The most interesting Lithuanian bands and Kaunas 2022 ambassadors will perform here. Audiences will also enjoy stage performances by Oskaras Koršunovas Theatre, Kaunas National Drama Theatre and other events.

Guests from Latvia and Germany for the Opening Weekend

On the occasion of the opening of the Summer Stage, unique gifts from Lithuanian and foreign artists are being carefully packed. The stage will feature four performances and as many different styles of music.

On Thursday, 12 May, Latvian indie-rockers Carnival Youth, one of the most successful bands of the new generation in the Baltics, will return to Kaunas after a two-year break. Back in 2016, the trio received the European Border Breakers Award. The band will present their latest work exclusively for Kaunas.

The Summer Stage will present an exclusive duo – a tandem of Algirdas Kaušpėdas (Antis) and Victor Diawara (Skamp). The songs of Antis, which sparked a true musical revolution during the independence movement in the 80s, remain relevant to this day. A special duo will present a new intriguing programme.

The opening weekend’s highlight will be the eccentric electronic music duo Beissoul & Einius, who rarely appear in Lithuania these days. On Friday night, the performers will surprise not only with their endless energy and exceptional sound but also their looks.

On Friday, for the first time, Germany’s TOYTOY, a jazz band whose music has already captured the hearts of many music fans, will take to the Lithuanian stage. The quartet’s music is inspired by hip-hop rhythms, contemporary classical notes and art-pop sounds.

14 concerts for the Birthday of Kaunas

Coincidence or not, the second act of the contemporary Kaunas myth trilogy, “Santaka”, will also celebrate the city’s birthday. Performers from all over the world – Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Taiwan and Lithuania – will greet Kaunas and its guests on the Summer Stage. As many as 14 performances will offer an alternative soundtrack for the city’s birthday.

The three-day music programme on the Summer Stage will start on a lighter note, with guitar music merging with jazz rhythms before building up to an electronic music fiesta. And for those who love the sounds of world music, there will be a bouquet of exciting performances in the world music programme, with four guests from Asia and Europe.

The local alternative noise-rock band Sraigės efektas will amaze the participants of the Santaka weekend with the sounds of a guitar. They will be joined by a female rock band Shishi, often described as the most vital trio in today’s Lithuanian music, breaking standards about women in alternative music. Both bands have been nominated for the M.A.M.A. (2021) Awards in the Alternative Band of the Year category.

Later will come jazz rhythms by the quartet Juzt. Although the group was formed only a few years ago, it has already conquered the Lithuanian jazz scene – the performers can boast first prizes in a handful of competitions. Kristijonas Ribaitis, an indie and electronica artist whose post-punk sound motifs can be heard in his work, will bring sharper sounds to the stage and invite everyone to dance.

On Saturday, the second day of the Santaka weekend, the Swedish string orchestra Musica Vitae will tell the legends of Sweden through the sounds of historical genres. JISR, a band from Munich, Germany, will combine Western and Eastern cultures. On the same day, pop/indie sounds from Taiwan will also take the stage, with LÜCY, an artist with hundreds of thousands of internet streams. She will later be appearing at major European festivals this summer.

The Czech DJ duo Bratři, frequent performers in the most exciting European locations, has also added Kaunas’ birthday to their itinerary. So did the Lithuanian rock band Colours of Bubbles, twice awarded M.A.M.A. Rock Band of the Year. After dark, after the big Santaka mystery, Baltic Balkan, famous for their around-the-world folk music raves, will bring the buzz back to the Town Hall Square.

As the Santaka programme will draw to a close on Sunday, the band Kedrostuburas, which enchants with rock, hip-hop, soul and jazz music, will light up the Town Hall Square with upbeat sounds. The reggae/dub band Ministry of Echology, who have released three albums in their career and are preparing a fourth, will also be in Kaunas to present new music on the Summer Stage. Another welcome guest of the Santaka weekend is the art-rock band Arklio Galia, who will perform on saxophones, guitars, plates and drums, while the band members will play librettos on the most intriguing topics.

Last Weekend of May Packed With New Albums, Hip-hop Legends and African and Chilean Rhythms

African rhythms will bring spring to a noisy close in Kaunas. On 25 May, the African Drum Festival comes to the Summer Stage. The cultural event “African Days” has been presenting African culture for a decade and spreads the word about this continent every spring – stoked to have them in Kaunas!

On 27 May, Subhira from Chile will join in the music therapy. One of the country’s most innovative ensembles in the world music genre, their compositions blend the rhythms and languages of South American nations, progressive and contemporary world music, jazz and folklore. They are brought to Kaunas by the World Sounds Festival, which will offer more exotic surprises this summer.

Lithuania’s most loved rock band Garbanotas has prepared a long-awaited gift for Kaunas – on 26 May, they will present their new album on the Summer Stage.

And then there’s a surprise for urban culture lovers – the legendary hip-hop festival “Live from Kaunas Streets” will return to the city for one day, on 28 May, taking the audience back to 2005-2014. The festival, which is of great importance for the development of Kaunas underground culture, has contributed to the entry of artists such as Lilas and Innomine, MC Mesijus, Tie Geresni, Micro One and others into the music scene. Hip-hop fans will be able to see legendary artists such as Vaiper, Erke, MC Messiah and others again.

Another international, but in fact very local, highlight on the Summer Stage is planned for 29 May. The Kaunas 2022 programme “Memory Office” is organising a klezmer music concert “Songs from Testimonies”.

All Kaunas 2022 Summer Stage events are free of charge. For a full schedule of concerts and other activities, visit kaunas2022.eu, the Kaunas 2022 app or the calendar at kultura.kaunas.lt.

 

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