The Future of Culture

The family and I took a lovely trip to Grahamstown yesterday. This time of the year features the National Arts Festival, an annual event I’ve visited only twice now.

Grahamstown is a cultural hub and offers breathtaking architecture and the all the trimmings of a small university-town. The ArtsFest offers a great many stalls offering handiwork for sale and a colossal variety of performances to view. These include musical, ballet, dance, arts, drama – the works.

Think of the stalls as a fleamarket offering artsy and handcrafted goods. My favourite finds:

Two lovely woven scarves. Perfect addition to any outfit.

Handcrafted handbag – flaunt it!
My pièce de résistance – earrings made from coca-cola bottletops!

We watched a performance by the Luca Ciarla Quartet. This Italian quartet, lead by acclaimed violinist Luca Ciarla, combines music in a way that is nearly tangible. Instruments include the accordion, bass guitar, double bass and percussion. Their genre has been described as Mediterranean Jazz although I would wager that it should hardly be labelled.

I know a little about music, but this is the first time I have truly seen people “make love to their instruments”, so to speak. Perhaps the better term would be to converse with their instruments. It is as though they talk to them and the response is beautifully blended art. They were rewarded with a standing ovation for this show and well-deserved indeed.

© Luciano di Lello

Close to the end of the show (the final one for the festival), Carlia shared that the quartet thoroughly enjoyed the Arts Festival, particularly for the variety on offer. According to him, while cultural festivals are not scarce in Europe they are largely defined to set genres.

Says Ciarla, “This is the future.”

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