dansefest9Yes, that’s right.  In the middle of winter, above the Arctic Circle, we Tromsø væringer shake off the snow and put our glad rags on for an all out Latin American celebration.  Over 14 days of concerts, exhibitions, dancing, films, food, seminars and colourful fun sure makes the winter blues melt away.  As one of the festival producers, I have good inside knowledge on all the events, and I tell you what, this year the No Siesta, Fiesta! is going to be a blast!

What’s It All About

No Siesta is a celebration of Latin American culture and showcases dance, music, film and other art expressions.  The festival has a strong commitment to the art and culture of Latin America and to the Latin American communities of the Arctic North, Scandinavia and Europe.

The festival is held in the first week of March with a two week film and exhibition program.  (However the Latin dance concerts have started already! – we couldn’t help ourselves.)  2009 will be the third year of the festival.  Even though No Siesta is young, it has become the biggest Latin American festival in Norway and the second biggest festival in Tromsø.

The  Concept – Kiss of Latin America

A kiss is a warm hello – a welcomed greeting from a dear friend. The swift current of the Gulf Stream travels from Latin America to the Arctic North and warms the soul of Norway.  This stream gives us life – fish, flora and fauna – and brings a wonderful life to the people.  And so, the Gulf Stream is our kiss from Latin America – a warm hello, a welcomed greeting from a dear friend.  We are linked in the grand circle of life and we are honoured to pay tribute to Latin America for their gift to us.  And so we give a big, wet, juicy, blow kiss back.

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History

In 2007, Ola Asdahl Rokkones, inspired by his love of Latin music (he is a saxophonist), took the initiative to create a Latin American festival in Tromsø.  He quickly gathered a team of dedicated locals to produce the first Latin American Festival in Northern Norway.  The festival was small and modest, and showcased the talent of local Latin artists and performers.   Over a weekend Tromsø became a hive of Latin activity which sparked a craving for Latin American art and culture in the community.  With such positive feedback, Rokkones was determined to outdo himself for 2008 and with his production team produced the biggest Latin American festival in Norway.  No Siesta, Fiesta! 2009 will be even bigger and better which will shine an international spotlight on Tromsø while bringing the best of Latin America to Norway.

The festival is driven by the collaboration of artists, community groups and partners.  Hard work is the backbone of the festival with volunteers working to produce an energetic and colourful event.  Many of the contributing groups offer their services for free in support of the realised Latin American festival above the Arctic Circle.

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What’s New

This year, for the first time, the festival is introducing a Short Film program.  The program is showcasing short films straight from Brazil.  There is also film workshops and a ‘Meet the Director’ screening and discussion with a professional Brazilian filmmaker, as well as a film feature for a special art exhibition.

Also this year, the festival has teamed up with the Tromsø International Salsa Congress.  With over 40 workshops by professionals from Norway and around the world, you can learn anything from Afro-Rumba, Cuban Salsa and Raga Hip Hop.

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It’s All About Community

Art Activity
We have some fantastic events for the whole community.  Firstly, we have the community art activity.  Telephone Colorido, a young political group in Recife, Brazil presents a young artist by the name Grilowsky.  He is part of a new movement that explores aesthetic stimulation to free art. These explorers are called “public stimulas-artists”, as they embrace the unusual and expand the boundaries of our senses to create a more dynamic, interactive and diverse expression.

We are so lucky to have the opportunity to be part of this artist’s development through an open arts and exhibition activity. During the festival there will be a public place where everyone can come and listen to Grilowsky’s urban background sounds and electric jazz. This place is going to be a centre for artistic expression; using material provided the public are invited to scribble, draw, doodle, graffiti, anything that comes to mind while listening to the sounds. Young and old, children and teenagers, mothers and fathers – all are encouraged to join in the fun of creating a public artwork that will be displayed at the exhibition in Random Gallery.

Samba Parade
The worlds most northern Samba Parade is right here in Tromsø.  In fact, this year is the 25th anniversary since the first ever Samba Parade in Northern Norway.  Everyone is invited to join in on the Samba workshops to learn about Samba rhythms and dancing.  Also, thanks to the local recycling plant, there will be a instrument making workshop expecially for the parade to make drums, shakers and plucking instruments and as much noise as possible.

Then on the Saturday the community will march down the main street in a parade of fun and music.  Waving Latin flags, playing instruments and dancing in colours and costumes through the snowy white winter is quite a sight!

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Concerts Galor – dance, dance, dance!

I must say, Norwegians love music and concerts – and they love to dance!  Of course, No Siesta, Fiesta! never lets them down.  This year we have a fantastic line up of concerts – and dancing is encouraged!  We have Samba concerts and Salsa, Tango – both Finish and New Tango, Bossa Nova, Reggae, Electronica and also choral and orchestral.  You learn new dances and steps during the day at the many dance classes and then dance the night away at the many concerts.  Win/Win.

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Special Guests

To help us celebrate we invite people from around the world to come and join us.  We are happy to (boast about) the attendance of the Brazilian Ambassador of Norway, Mr. Sérgio Eduardo Moreira Lima, at No Siesta, Fiesta!  He will be attending several events and celebrating Brazilian and Latin American art and culture, along with other dignitaries from Latin America with the people of Northern Norway.

We have two Brazilian filmmakers, Ari Cândido Fernandes and Gabriel Tupinambá joining us.  And of course, we can’t have them come all the way here from Brazil and not share their talents with us – so they will be giving us discussions and workshops.  We also have great Latin artists such as Le Grand Tango and Groupo Zanza to fill us with the rhythms of Latin America.

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Invitation

Yes, this year is going to surpass all expectations.  So, if you are in Tromsø any time from 2nd to 13th March (2009) make sure you check out No Siesta, Fiesta!  I’ll be there with bells on – the only one speaking Aussie (you can’t miss me!)  Make sure you come up and say hi at the concerts and I’ll make sure you get a dance.  (Or you can come to my Mambo class at the Salsa Congress.)

Hope to see you there!

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