Shake it Guca – Matija Beckovic
It is not habitual for the host to speak, except if hosting the Trumpeters Festival in Guca, where every guest becomes the host from the moment when he enters the world capital of trumpet. As the host among hosts, I asked how long should I speak. They answered like true hosts do – tell us how long you would like to speak. Well, then, with permission – listen and hear!
The trumpet has been in use by people and angels since ever, and never and nowhere without good reason. Here, in Guca, the trumpeters are among the first ones to take into their hands the trumpets, and they do so with one reason more. They say that the first trumpet descended to Guca looking for a place from where it could be heard the farthest. All her sisters followed her in flocks and jointly thundered into the chest of Serbia.
The call of the trumpet made all that sounds and tunes in, all the quivers and joining quivers on that loud side with which all the sides are linked, all the languages, the skies and the earth, to start roaring, storming and weeping.
The people and those musicians without scores and those with musical notations in their soles swarm to follow the sound. And the sound which makes you tremble, is the sound of the mother whose son you are – so says the poet. So it happened that since the Festival in Zica we perhaps did not have a more joyful festival than the Festival in Guca! Life seeks an exit, and the sound seeks its rights.
The walls destroyed by the trumpets of Jericho, are destroyed also by the trumpets of Dragacevo, and this has been going on for forty two years now. In some places they call it Woodstock, in others Mariachi, or Band-aid, or Exit, but everybody knows that Guca is the exit and that the original sounds better.
What many intellectuals do not know, Serbian peasants did not forget. It is better to blow a trumpet, than to sniff glue! Therefore, we hardly do have something more urban and more superior than the Trumpeters Festival in Guca. Obviously, the world Festival in Guca is Serbian contribution to globalization. Namely, if we would join the European Community without our tunes and colors, without our name and memories, how would they know who came to them and what they brought with them?
From the old to the new era, from the goose-feather pen to the computers, from calls across across the hills to the mobile phone and e-mail – everything that was ever created has still been in the process of transformation and creation. And this is not a Festival, but rather a volcano of health and beauty, which was activated from the heart of Serbia. And new, young volcanoes always become active where the old ones were active, too.
There is nothing we did not use to make music with: the leaf, the comb, the glass, the hair, the nails, the fingers, the horns, the belt, the stones, the eye-lashes, the mustache. There is no tree from which we did not try to make a trumpet. And there are no two leaves that did not differ, nor two stones which did not make echoes in a different way. And everything that we see on the Earth, are instruments of the big and glorious people’s philharmonic orchestra. And to those trumpets which are today in Guca responding to the sun, this is what we must say: I know you, trumpet, when you used to be a willow tree!
The self-willed voices, the stubbornness of accents, the individuality of tunes – they will never cease to live and move human hearts. The biggest achievements of mind and hand which belong to the general spiritual property of mankind, all the immortal things which Earth gave to the skies, it related to the people and multiplied with the people!
Poets compared our embroideries with the wistfulness of Bach’s and Schuman’s solo violins. We know that embroidery, national costumes, folk dance, rituals, habit are also symbols with many meanings. But hundreds of thousands of participants in the Festival in Guca come to enjoy, dance and sing, and do not listen to interpretations!
Modern man has reached far, but it seems as if he noticed before reaching the aim that he did not take his heart and his soul with him.
And now, without these two, he does not care about the entire world. And this is where the deeper substance of the Festival in Guča is hidden. Not only by returning to oneself, but returning to joy and to the sense of living.
The State is what its music is – said Confucius 500 years B.C. If we only could say this for Serbia – how well off we would be! It is unbelievable that the State can be second-hand, and music original and authentic. Throwing garbage to the wells is one of the biggest disasters of our spiritual ecology. Famous is the case of the shepherdess which happened right here, sixty years ago. She allegedly started suddenly to call somebody from the Ovcar and Kablar mountains whose name nobody has ever heard before and to ask him nothing else but when he will be coming to Uzice, without asking why he should be in Uzice and whom he has there. This is how one of the most irrational creations emerged, which was sung for decades with most disastrous consequences. And nobody was wondering about those who forged this song, they were rather persecuting those who memorized the original.
Thanks God, everything ended well and at the 42nd Trumpeters Festival in Guca we heard the original version as if such wonder had never existed! Hence: Serbian Principle, accept us among the Serb people! Welcome and come with luck – and leave with even more luck!
Shake it, maple!
Matija BECKOVIC, poet and novelist Letter of the host at the opening of 42nd FESTIVAL 2002nd