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The music of Nostalgia derives out of longing, which has always been accompanied by autumnal reflection. I strongly believe that this year will not be different in that respect, although for the first time we have an idea - “common song” - not a composer to arrest us in musical contemplation during this jubilee edition of Nostalgia Festival Poznań. Ever since the first edition of the festival its special ambience has been the result of our collaboration with ECM record label and its founder Manfred Eicher. The unique stylistics of ECM’s musical productions inspires the program of our festival.

Nostalgic ambiguity, ephemerality and mystery are in my opinion very strongly reflected in the filmography of Andrei Tarkovsky, who is responsible for the cinematic second pillar of the Festival, which, not coincidentally, takes its name after one of the most beautiful of his works, the 1983 film Nostalgia.

The riveting, vibrating sounds of Amores Pasados, which is an album of Renaissance songs in modern-day arrangements, as well as completely new compositions which maintain the 15th and 16th century aesthetics composed by John Potter, John Paul Jones, the base player from Led Zeppelin, Tony Banks, the keyboard player from Genesis and Sting, have stirred in me the need to discover songs and Nostalgia Festival anew. “Common song” derives from the desire to find the essence of singing - the genuine energy that is generated when people meet and unite in music. These communally enjoyed songs have a universal authenticity that goes straight from the heart, the soul and the moment.

Singing gives rise to other emotions than speech, we become more beautiful thanks to the sounds and the effort, which allows us to get to know others. During Nostalgia, I would like to bring out the essence of  singing and genuine relationships. Therefore, we return to the Renaissance sound with Alternative History, only to be later transported to a completely new project – Bardo, which is a duo by Barbara Kinga Majewska and Bartłomiej Wąsik. The experience of a pianist and an opera singer in combination with contemporary music inspirations results in a fresh quality, which will be premiered by the artists at Nostalgia Festival. A similar juxtaposition can be observed with the presentation of Paweł Mykietyn’s Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Counting Rhyme. The creation of these compositions is divided by 17 years and everything that happened in Mykietyn’s music during that time, which unleashes a cosmos of meanings. And that is what we want to sing out at the Festival together with the invited guests.

Nowadays as a society we sing rarely or never. And didn’t we all use to sing at school, in coaches, at concerts? Why do we feel abashed and stop short when there is an opportunity to join communal singing?

We particularly need common song in these times of deep divisions. We may disagree with each other, we may have disputes and fervent discussions, but let’s not turn from one another. Let’s allow ourselves be together and transcend divisions with song, which does not know time, differences in outlook or mutual aversions. Let’s sing together! Not only at stadiums, marches, churches, rock festivals, feasts and harvest festivals. But simply at home, with friends, at a cafe, on a walk.

I deeply believe that by presenting various facets of songs Nostalgia will not only return us to traditions and roots, but also lead the way to contemporary singing, to a community, which we will be able to join, develop and cherish.

I wish to dedicate his edition, as well as all future editions, to a great patron and lover of art, my friend Jan Kulczyk. I know that if  he were alive, he would be singing together with us, radiating an aura of joy and kindness. And then he would raise the first toast of the evening, which has always been the same, and which we raise today in his memory: For love, Jan! For love and common song!

Michał Merczyński
Director of Nostalgia Festival Poznań