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Festival of nations and cultures

KOŠICE, Slovakia's second largest city and its easternmost metropolis, is home to several nationalities, with German, Hungarian and Roma minorities living alongside ethnic Slovaks.

Each September, the local civic association Feman holds a festival that presents the cultural traditions of these nationalities as well as those of other European nations.

This year's second annual will start on September 12 and close three days later. While musicians from Belgium, Hungary, Russia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will concentrate their shows on the pedestrian zone in downtown Košice, the bands will also perform in the village of Malčice, on the border between Hungary and Slovakia.

"This time we decided to bring Europe to a village as well," says Eduard Buraš, Feman's director and the festival's main organiser.

The Hungarian musicians will showcase their country's most famous instrument, the zither, while the Russians will perform a modern dance from Siberia, the Czechs will play Moravian dulcimer music and the Belgian band The Fisherman's Friends will play their rock-folk-jazz fusion.

The open-air shows in downtown Košice begin at 15:00 on Thursday and at 17:00 on Friday. On Saturday the show starts at 19:00 in Košice House of Art (dom umenia).

Two Slovak bands from the Košice region, a folk band and group of Roma female singers, will join the international bands on Sunday at 14:00 as they all move to Malčice village.

Founded in 2000, the Feman association advocates tolerance among the minorities living in Slovakia and other European regions. It helps to promote the languages, songs, dances, rituals and traditions of the national groups that create and enrich Europe's cultural heritage.

- Zuzana Habšudová,
Saša Petrášová

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