Last year's Nostalgia was special in many ways. For the first time, the festival’s guiding motif heralded a change in the approach to its programme. The shift towards a ‘common song’ turned the audience into artists and involved them in singing together in the spirit of the French café-chantant tradition. This year, the festival programme will feature even more opportunities to establish a community, if for a moment, by contemplating music in the Jesuit Fathers’ church and during discussions and shared meals from dawn until late at night. In this new understanding of the musical experience as being and feeling together, there must also be another edition of the Café-chantant, which the Malta Foundation is organising for the third time.
The idea of singing together emerged in the 18 th century in Paris and was quickly adopted across Europe. Popular songs resounded first from stages in gardens, and then in cafés. The audience was eager to join in the singing of sentimental ballads, patriotic songs, songs of passion and crime or even comic ones, and with time, steered the repertoire to forms reflecting national identity. Thus, in the Italian city of Naples Neapolitan songs would be heard during caffé-concerti and flamenco in the Spanish café-cantante. Kafeşantan became popular in Turkey, whilst in Poland people would meet at places called szantany.
The Malta Foundation organised the first Café-chantant in 2017 during the 10 th anniversary edition of Nostalgia Festival Poznań, featuring Paweł Mykietyn and Mariusz Wilczyński who sang various songs, including Czesław Niemen's Jednego serca. The second Café-chantant took place during the Malta Festival in June at Wolności Square. The selection of Polish popular music masterpieces prepared by Radosław Mateja and Krzysztof Suszek offered an opportunity for everyone to sing along with artists like Anna Jurksztowicz, Krzesimir Dębski and Andrzej Chyra.
During the 11 th edition of Nostalgia, the Malta Foundation will open the Café-chantant for the third time at its premises in the heart of Poznań. After the last festival concert, candles will be lit, wine glasses will appear on tables and people will fill the foundation’s space as the piano produces the first sounds of songs. Nostalgically reminiscent of the café song, whose glory days disappeared with the outbreak of World War II, the revival of the café-chantant in Poznań has shown that there is something quite powerful and natural in singing together. ‘Singing together gives us a better understanding of other people who have something just as important and personal to say as we do. We realise that each of us is a vast inner world with the right to have their say, and this also teaches us tolerance,’ says soloist Anna Gadt.