Prishtina, 30 March 2018 - After a tournament with joint presentations in several cities of Kosovo, the group of poets "Bern ist überall", also with the contribution of artists from Kosovo, is conducting a similar tour in several cities of Switzerland.
The Wortlaut Literature Festival of St. Gallen has been the first stop over of this tournament. The jubilee edition, the tenth edition of the Wortlaut Literature Festival in St. Gallen in Switzerland started with the presentation of the program "Kosovo është kudo'' (Kosovo is everywhere). This motto is a reference to the "Bern ist überall" slogan, which is the name of a group of Bernese poets who promote poetry stage performances in front of the public, the so called presentation "Spoken Word". What could be seen at St.Gallen was a mixed performance with spoken word poetry and accompanied by music, prepared and performed by three Kosovar poets and three Swiss musicians and with the "soundtrack" performed live on stage, by a Swiss accordion-player and a Kosovar drummer. Laurence Boissier, Guy Krneta, Gerhard Meister, Sibel Halimi, Jeton Neziraj and Shpëtim Selmani were the poets while Adi Blum and Drin Tashi, the instrumentalists. Professor of Literature at the University of St. Gallen, Ulrike Landfester made an introduction of the festival program by putting an emphasis on its name "Wortlaut", which in free translation into Albanian means an audio formulation of content. In the present case it is about communicating literature between readers, listeners, directly and not just through reading the book. What was seen and heard in the following was a confirmation of the different effects that the "live" reading has is in front of the public, as opposed to reading a book at home.
By presenting the works their way, the six poets electrified the atmosphere in the hall, where the meetings of the Municipal Assembly of St.Gallen are usually held. A bundle of loudly-recited strings turned nearly into songs accompanied by the rhythm imposed by the music. They conveyed irony to the reciprocal prejudices and perceptions: of Swiss people for Kosovars/Albanians and others. Mostly there was self-irony, including the references to current developments related to Kosovo and Switzerland or the phenomena associated in the heads of ordinary Swiss people in relation to Kosovars and Albanians. Among others, this list of prejudices and stereotypes includes the big Albanian weddings, blood feuds, "organ trade", etc. It is not an easy thing, for such unusual performance to function. This is especially true of the fact that during the performance it is spoken (and sung) in at least three languages: German, Albanian and English and sometimes Italian and French. Therefore, it requires mastery, talent, understanding and above all passion for poetry to co-ordinate and make meaningful speeches in several languages. As Guy Krneta, the manager of "Bern ist überall" says for albinfo.ch, the group from Berne, of various composition, stayed in Kosovo for about six months last year. There are a number of such mixed compositions, with Albanian and other literary creators of Kosovo. In his opinion, a job like this is a big challenge but worth it. The artistic concern of the "Bern ist überall" group is the exploration of the possibilities offered by the spoken language, to create on it poetic values. Moreover the group, in order to deepen its adventure with language, has chosen the Albanian language, namely Kosovo as a first language, apart for the languages of Switzerland, says Krneta. According to him, this was decided since between Switzerland and Kosovo close relations exist for decades, given the existence of a large Albanian community in Switzerland. "We are thrilled by the reception that has been made to us by the audience, and from the readiness for cooperation of the group around the "Multimedia" center of Pristina, Krneta told albinfo.ch. Regarding the compilation of the program with so many texts and in several languages, he says that just before the last show, the texts to be recited were translated into the respective languages. This, as seen in the St.Gallen scene, has worked in such a way that the texts recited in Albanian projected in German by titling, in a screen on stage. According to Krneta, the most widely-known Swiss genre of poetry directly recited on stage before the public is less famous in Kosovo. But as he agrees, from what was seen on the scene, one can notice elements of this poem in poets from Kosovo. Such a tendency was, hereby, shown in particular by Shpëtim Selmani, who, besides being a poet, is also known as a professional actor. Selmani says for albinfo.ch that he has gone through various experiences in terms of poetic and literary currents, and this makes it more natural for him to adapt within the framework of the "Spoken Word" that the group from Bern cultivates. Otherwise, his poetry, recited this evening, is characterized by the rebellious spirit that comes as a result of the disappointment with the reality in Kosovo, the opposition to conformism and the dogmas that "regulate" life there.
Similarly, other artists from Kosovo, Sibel Halimi and Jeton Neziraj, appear against the solid norms and the learning spirit. The entire "Kosovar" project of "Bern ist überall" relies on the culture award that the group received in 2015 from the city of Bern. The price of 100 thousand francs was predicted to be spent by affirming the Bernese culture outside the city and the canton. While, a part of the value of this price, "Bern ist überall" has decided to spend abroad, namely in Kosovo. After the tour with joint presentations in several cities of Kosovo, the group, complemented by the abovementioned artists from Kosovo, is conducting a similar tour in several Swiss cities. And the Wortlaut Literature Festival of St. Gallen has been the first stop of this tournament.