This time the first chord of the festival’s magic of sounds will be struck by the virtuoso of percussion Gintas Gascevičius. During his nearly 40-year-long musical career Gintas has mostly been known as the member of the Bix band. Today he is a participant of many musical projects and author of plays and soundtracks creating without standards and constantly taking his audiences by surprise with unexpected conceptualisations of percussion, vocals and visuals.
With their second album of songs released this year the fairies of Sen Svaja are back to grace the stage of Mėnuo Juodaragis. Three emerald-green enchantresses have lured a fiery witcher into their performance and will entice the listeners to the marshes to show them the hidden dowry of fairies – the spellbinding music combining elements of different nations and genuine hearty shamanistic folklore.
The solo project of the rock and electronic music composer Saulius Labanauskas (Fashion Games, Saprophytes) has drawn the attention of Juodargis last year with the wonderful release “Vai tu girala”, where the authentic voice of the late master of songs Petras Zalanskas was revived with circles of dark electronic music.
The military folklore songs emotionally and sincerely performed by the masculine company of Ugniavijas have conquered the hearts of many Lithuanian listeners. The project that began 10 years ago at the Mėnuo Juodaragis festival has become a powerful phenomenon in the folklore stage. This year the Great Stage will be shaken by an exclusive performance. On the occasion of their Anniversary, Ugniavijas will present their new third album.
The old-timers of the festival will surely remember the striking and cheerful Australian band that has become good friends with the festival. As it happens, nine years later Dandelion Wine is back in Europe just in time for the compact version of Mėnuo Juodaragis! We are glad to welcome them again to reveal the enchanting psychedelic electro-folk-wave medieval world. Ingula from the band Spanxti has also promised to appear on the stage. Moreover, Dandelion Wine will present their new CD “Le Coeur” freshly baked by Dangus Records and will probably accompany us at the afterparty on Monday.
Ūkanos – mist – is the place where the spirits of our forefathers dwell and the source of inspiration for the folk-metal band born in 2012. They have clad traditional lyrical songs of Lithuanian folklore with jolly melodies of an accordion and iron guitar riffs.
Baltic epic metal from… Israel? Yes! The Devil of Romowe born in Kaunas in 1981 to Latvian and Lithuanian parents is composing music in Israel, but has preserved his Lithuanian passport and citizenship! The creative path of Romuvos band reminds of the Viking metal classics Bathory – born as a solo project, today Romuvos is spreading the spirit of epic pagan metal across
Europe. The band is recording its third album about the greatest Baltic battles, so the glory of the Molavėnai castle mounds and the echoes of Pilėnai will surely inspire both the musicians and the audience.
Idea vincit omnia! Non-repetition is also repetition, but Vilkduja has never shunned paradox. It is a marginal moment, a pause between light and dark in the indescribable twilight. The programme prepared for the magic Juodaragis is different from the ones that we have heard in the past. Although it is still shrouded in mystery, evening strings will definitely glitter and the trip-hoppy velvet will wave with sound flags. Idea vincit omnia!
To tell the truth, these group intros have been written by a fellow who is not really capable to penetrate the mystery of RAGUVOS jam. RAGUVA is a hollow or hags’ bath, it’s a music band established by Ingula, the vocal leader of Spanxti, and each fan of experimental music should taste the vibrations of their witch crafting. The sharpness of scarce electronics with ethnic shimmering and eternal femina magic awaits, while a début album echoing in the mist of rumours.
Almost a decade ago, OBSRR initiated neofolk-neopolka, a new genre in the field of Lithuanian underground music, but then fell into a snoozy mood for a while; which must have been the calm before the storm as during this compact MJR edition OBSRR, who are rare guests on a stage and still have not issued a single album, have something really astonishing for their brothers in arms: a noisy and disharmonious composition of atmospheric industrial-techno sweetened by passages of a synthesizer.
A project of Julius Mite, started in Czech Republic to play dark, obscure and extremely atmospheric ambient. This year, the stage of Black-Horned Moon embraces a special event – presentation of a new album KÚRIR!, which has been in process for several years. By this name, Danish Vikings called the brave Curonians who will be honoured during the performance. The music chants will take us to the harsh Baltic landscapes were Curonians dwelt and bring us back to the present soaked in serenity of VELIU NAMAI. Let’s go home – through mist and darkness down the paths of spirits!
AM X VV
For years, Andrius Mamontovas, most famous pop-rock musician in Lithuania, has been recording different sounds on his trips and experimenting with electronic toys besides his usual work on stage. And for quite a while, the BlackHorned Moon has been hunting a possibility to invite this “secret” project for a live performance. The compact edition seems to be the right time and Andrius is making a debut in a completely different genre together with Vilija Vitkute, a famous camouflage body painter, who has not been to Lithuania, her motherland, for ten years! In the twilights of shivers, sights of nature, dancing forests and music will merge into meditation, which remains the biggest secret even for the organizers of the festival.
It is a project of two creators well known in the world of alternative music – Somekilos (2kilos&More) and Phil Von (Von Magnet). Its name alone illustrates the main parts of their performances – trans-rituals (META) and body (MEAT). During the rite, the dancing bodies of
the musicians turn into distinct unique instruments fighting against mechanics of electronic music with support of abundant percussion line. This uncompromising duel between the human body and machine will lead all brothers and sisters here into passionate tribal trance.
This name is frequently spelt under the skies of ethno-underground land in our neighbouring country Belarus. For quite a while starting since 1996, this project has been evolving as a one-man solo of ritual ethnic ambient reflecting spiritual culture of Baltic Kryuja. PRAGNAVIT music comprises laws of Nature and strength of Tradition, embraces archetypes of Indo-European ritualistics in the context of preserved Baltic Sacrum. With time, the author of the project has gone deeper into Nordic traditions of magic starting live performances of ecstatic shamanic runs.
SKELDOS is the name of a dead village in Zarasai region. Therefore, the music of this electro-acoustic project embodies nostalgia and melancholy for those that disappeared or never appeared. With SKELDOS on the stage, feeling blue is a common state as imaginary memories become so close… Inspired by works of Antanas Skema, SKELDOS released an album ILGES this
summer. The audience of compact MJR will hear a completely new sound of the group guided by distinct instruments they made themselves. The full moon has risen, the time has come…
Rooted in northern Samogitia but living in Vilnius, the initiators of this electro-dub-techno-ambient project found their inspiration in Lithuanian nature and history. From the perspective of global music trends, such a merger of electro sounds and its thematic folk sources may appear quite unusual. Three years ago, they released a favourably received album RATU overpowered with magic of Lithuanian multipart songs. And these newly revealed ancient sounds will lead you to another journey of rhythm through darkness towards the dawn under the Black-Horned Moon…
A growing folklore band, which cherishes and preserves the Baltic heritage in its own way. Girjaukis means the unity of deep forests and coziness, it is a unique polyphonic harmony, woven around a thread of folk melodies, decorated with light melodic curves, and adorned with the sounds of zither, bagpipe, hornpipe, flute, or jewharp, and the rumples of drums.
Two families now residing in Siauliai hold the fundament of the group preserving traditions of our ancestors. Each member of the group is a leader and every performance on the stage is a ritual. VADAUJA find their own way to sing traditional folk songs by playing modern instruments or trying unexpected vocal harmonies. This transfers them to past experiences as well as their own.
Daiva Šeškauskaitė SKALSA
Dr. Daiva Seskauskaite resides in Raseiniai region and is a well known figure here: she is an ethnographer, musician and lecturer. She is a true wizard of great power and conducts different ceremonies such as initiations for girls and boys, engagements, weddings, funerals and others. Here on the folk stage, we will see her singing and playing the songs she conducted herself as well as traditional Lithuanian folk songs.
Four young beautiful girls singing traditional Lithuanian folk songs may appear quite common and innocent… But this impression may turn to be misleading when you hear them singing about their boyfriend who might escape (unfortunately!) as soldiers had not bound him properly. The members of the seven-year-old group search for the origins of Lithuanian tradition and sing songs which they hear on ethnographic expeditions they go to.
The ritual folk group KULGRINDA was founded in 1990 by Jonas Trinkunas and Inija Trinkuniene who were Krivans at ROMUVA, Ancient Baltic Faith Community and has always been friends with MJR. They sing archaic chants and polyphonic songs, play tradition music and dance wearing impressive costumes of ancient Balts. As KULGRINDA’s chants gain strength and magic sound when performed at the altar fire, we invite you to gather at the temple of Mėnuo Juodaragis.
TRADICINIŲ ŠOKIŲ KLUBAS
The most famous and numerous folk dance club in Lithuania encouraging movement of traditional dance music. Their gatherings get crazy and long because the magical tradition of dancing awakens so much power that is hard to believe! So, as soon as the dusk falls, we invite you to have fun at Crafts Yard…!
This joyful group consists of folks who love folklore, musicians and ethnologists both enjoying traditional music from their childhood and those who have fallen for this genre only recently. The repertoire of AIDI ATAIDI includes dances from all four regions of Lithuania, accompanied by melodies and movements from other cultures. The fun starts on Saturday night and might last until the morning. Are you with us?
Donatas Bielkauskas, a musician and composer, is that soul whose absence is inconceivable under the Black-Horned Moon. This year our brother in arms is holding the flag of ESATIS, a postfolk group from Lithuanian seaside. The impulse for this group to become a duet was four years ago in another compact edition of MJR dedicated to dreams when Donatas and percussionist Viktoras Rubezas found each other during ethno improvisations on the stage. Let’s turn the sound of the evening on with a new ESATIS dream.
KELLAN is a new post folk group from Konigsberg in Prussia. They call it “post” because many authors state that most folk groups nowadays may only call themselves reconstructors as modern “folk” consists of songs heard in the streets but KELLAN are not willing to play these… On the stage of MJR, you will hear songs composed by themselves and accompanied with various acoustic instruments. This is to reveal how ancient Prussian would sound in modern music.
VIRGINIJA is an exclusive vocalist and in former Menuo Juodaragis festivals she participated as a member of PIEVOS /Meadows, a group of poetic folkrock. Despite the fact that the last musical hey in her former band’s meadows was cut several years ago, the smell of fresh grass can still be felt in her solo performances. Accompanied with an acoustic guitar and looping, VIRGINIJA reveals depths and poetry of lyrics in ancient folk songs.
SANGRE DE MUERDAGO
Three years ago, this widely recognised neofolk group of a new generation brought some good memories from MJR. Their performance was so strong and penetrating that their magic could not resist retuning to the land of their tribe. And they have brought their new album NOITE with them. Hardened by harsh Atlantic storms, this Galician music sounds calm and melancholic comprising ancient wisdom, magic tales, love for nature and mysticism. Some claim that the members of the group live in the forest, grow leaves on their heads instead of hair and talk with wolves. Come and see what is true and what is not.
An artist and a performer who has played electronic music in Lithuania for many years. For the magic event this year, DAINA has prepared a special programme castlotsbefordown. This time a music band will join DAINA despite her being used to performing alone, and combining noise with silence, dreams with reality together they will wave a band of electronic drone music and human voice.
Undan is a cooperation of three talented musicians and creators who literary dwell in constant interpretation of Lithuanian folk heritage. Undan broadcast traditional music with modern means unusual for Lithuanian folk such as digital sound or mbira, an African musical instrument. They open the door for Lithuanian songs to be heard globally and sound in a modern way yet preserving their uniqueness, depth and relevance. Their debut album VIDURY MARELIU released by Dangus for this festival clearly expose their intentions.
Laurynas Jukonis is one of the most significant figures on the stage of Lithuanian industrial music (GIRNU GIESMES, SVAIXT, ORO! ORO!, BUDRUS). This artist has been decorating our festival with his highlights of en-natured ambient sounds and distinct codes of aesthetics since its very beginning. Each performance of the coarse grinder is different, unique and diverse. It is pure magic! This time, we will encounter his attack of more rhythmical groove, which the new project NULIS:S:S:S is all about.
This name is relatively new in the fields of Lithuanian audio space. The duet from Vilnius used to broadcast bumpy electronics in the beginning, but with a new third spaceman on the ship different destination was taken heading combination of electro acoustics and ethnic music. The crew of the project are still searching for the planet to land and are inviting the MJR tribe to explore the sound galaxies they have already been to on their journey.
The wheel of the Sun or AURINKOPYÖRÄ is a magic creation of Tim Juhani from northern Finland but half Lithuanian already. Within music he searches for the fundamental bond between the man and nature or supreme forces and subtle meditative ur-folk landscapes revealing primal power of pre-Christian European forests or ritual rhythm echo in his creation. Tim calls MJR his home. Will Samagitian forests appreciate Finn magic?
The guys from Varėna started out as a fierce pagan black metal band. Some of the original members have been lost in the twists of time and new combinations have been tested, but Andaja haven’t lost their primal energy and today their music still emanates the pagan glory of folkrock. Although the band released their latest record Atvaras not long ago it will perform at the festival with a new programme and a visiting guitarist Linas from the act Ūkanose. The play of Baltic depths will float along rivers of milk across forests of honey, lure into quagmires of love and emit miry chants from the water…
Although Mėnuo Juodaragis has been casting its spells on the Baltic realms for quite some time, prominent regional neo-folklore bands can be counted on fingers. The most primal sound of this genre has been fostered by Ēnu Kaleidoskops – The Kaleidoscope of Shadows – from Latvia. The act is coming back to the mysterious compact MJR where they presented their first album almost a decade ago. The die is cast!
The band from Klaipėda is best described by its name. Each performance of Driezhas – Lizard – is slippery, unique and elusive. The musical body of Driezhas is made of shifting patterns and colours encompassing both mythological connections and modern electronic consonances. Driezhas rarely leaves the dunes of the Baltic Sea, but it is the veteran of MJR and will celebrate its 20th anniversary in this company! The chameleon band will perform with a new programme and a bigger formation employing live instruments.
The traditional Tuvan throat singing has become the calling card of this region of the Russian Federation, so there are a lot of opportunities to see touring Tuvan bands, but Alash is a different story because of the subtle combination of modern and traditional art. Their works feature Western instruments, intricate harmonies and modern song formulations, but the hearts of the trio remain strong and definitely Tuvan. The air of magic evoked by deep tradition is evident. The spells of MJR would be hard to imagine without this atmosphere, so Alash have arrived straight from their New York tour.
Good morning! As MJR is exploring new places and introducing our tribe to incredible places around Lithuania, we also want you to know people cherishing cultural traditions there. MERGICOS+ is a group of young girls from Ariogala gymnasium in Raseiniai district lead by a famous folklorist Dobilas Juska. This folk club celebrates its tenth anniversary already and has released their debut album MERGICU DAINIKES recently. They perform distinct arrangement of folk songs in national song festivals, summer camps and other events but they still may need your support on the main stage this morning.
A mug of warm fresh made tea is what you need in the late-summer morning of the last festival day. ARBATA means “tea” and you will get your mug of arbata this Sunday morning from a band that has never played in MJR during their 17 years of existence. ARBATA’s music has been called sung poetry, folk or indie rock but depicting genre is not that easy in their case. The group has released the sixth album already and their performance on MJR stage should be really matured and interesting.
These five guys started their career in a bedroom of a nameless flat more than ten years ago and are often regarded as ugly ducklings of Lithuanian rock. Their music comprises different genres and lyrics are full of absurd jokes, so a random listener may quickly get allergy for such a punk rock mixture. But if you give ARKLIO GALIA a chance, we guarantee that their music story about swimming with carps in an aquarium of a shopping centre will make you smile and your feet will be caught in the swing of their guitars and sax.
Founded in 1994 and lead by Arturas Sinkevicius, the folk club of hikers from Kaunas unites young people willing to cherish Lithuanian authenticity. Recently, their sound has been enriched with an acoustic guitar and keyboard but despite a distinct post folk colour they gained their music still has a smell of hikers’ fire. CRAFT FOLK may seem like one of many CDs released by GILE, but this one is special as it is all dedicated to beer! Once on the stage, these guys radiate some light which always gives hopes for Lithuanian future. Let’s enjoy it!
The band uniting members from Germany, Denmark and Norway is probably the most resonant recent discovery of the Nordic scene. Heilung draws inspiration from the Iron Age history, Vikings and magic traditions. The performers call their music enhanced history. Heilung invokes their primal stories through traditional acoustic instruments as well as electronic sounds. Each performance is a powerful ritual with a rich set. Although it is still a young band, their two releases have been widely acclaimed, the biggest festivals welcome their performances, while the Metal Hammer magazine has nominated Heilung the best underground band of 2018. Thus, the history of Mėnuo Juodaragis is in a piercing moment, a spell of the present. Heilung means “heal”.
Some say that we sound like Foje, but there is no other way, because we are the same people and so the music stays the same” says Algis Kriščiūnas. “Our music is no façade or luxury salon. It is other rooms – kiti kambariai – where the real life happens.” Three former members of the famous Lithuanian band Foje – Arnoldas Lukošiaus (keyboards), Algimantas Kriščiūnas (rums), Darius Burokas (bass) – have reunited
ELNIO RAGO MIŠKAS
The name of the group means “Deer Horn Forest“ and it was the name that provoked to call the group. It‘s a new face but the deer has been the symbol of the festival for two decades already. The musicians explain that Deer represents subtle lyrics, Horn embodies loud but delicate sound of guitars and Forest comprises psychedelics and mysticism. Their music contains different genres so this ray of poetic rock sounds like the best choice to finish this unpredictably mystical festival.
DJ Zond Laužytų ritmų Vilkas
The wolf of broken beats is preparing a late urban industry musical supper. The weirdest vinyls will turn till the morning for those who can’t shake the smell of the city on this outdoor trip.
DJ Iduba Selecta
The landing party of the old Northern Lithuanian DJ school fosters love for music, analogue sound and the crackle of vinyls. Although they mostly play dub, reggae and dancehall, they have prepared sets ranging from ethnic music to psychedelic space, and from dub to industrial for the nocturnal programme of MJR XXI.