Association Nationale Cultures et Traditions (ANCT), based in Gannat, France, has been working for 40 years in the field of safeguarding and promotion of traditional and popular cultures of the world. We are working on the following objectives;
The ANCT owns since 1984 the “House of Cultures and Traditions” in Gannat, which is composed by a Youth Hostel of 52 persons, 1 performance room (150 persons), 1 exhibition room, 1 workshops room, 1 restaurant (100 persons), Administration offices. In our cultural centre “House of Cultures and Traditions” we develop activities for all kind of population and audience with the idea to offer opportunity to local people to open their mind to other cultures. Our price policy allows people coming from lower class to take part to the proposed activities. For instance, “Artistic Residencies” become common works between artists from different cultures and with different musical backgrounds that give birth to new and original artistic creations. Not only that, Workshops which have been held by “L'Ecole des Savoirs et des Arts Populaires“(School of Knowledges and traditional arts) settled as a place for oral transmission between generation. Moreover, “Rencontres Internationales de Jeunes“(RIJ) proposes to young European people to discover our territory, its heritage and its traditions in partnership with French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After more than 40 years of these experiences in the field of traditional cultures, the “House of Cultures and traditions” becomes now a place fro creation and diffusion as well as a place for teaching and transmitting.
Main event of our annual activity, the festival is a place for diffusion of traditional cultures, for promotion of Intercultural Dialogue, for promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage and for promotion of a Culture of Peace and non-violent, as defined by UNESCO. It is now a cultural event well-known and recognized with about 450 artists from the 5 continents, 500 volunteers and 55.000 visitors. For the 35th edition (2008), the festival obtained the official support of UNESCO.
The festival is an open door to the world, where, during 10 days, about 15 groups are invited to present their country through arts and traditions that are part of their culture: dance, music, song, handicraft, games, cooking, rituals, and different faces of the World traditions. What makes the sense of this unique event is the mixture of cultures and generations that allow everyone to discover various forms of art expression such as performances, workshops, balls, concerts, typical meals, conferences, cinema, parade etc. This mixture favour a genuine dialogue between cultures, generations, religions, and arts allows us to develop a public awareness about a Culture of Peace. That’s exactly on that point that we obtained the official support of UNESCO on our festival in 2008.
Since several years now, the festival wants to become a place for small or indigenous communities to express their culture and their daily problems to the French population. The festival is for most invited Indigenous communities the first opportunity to travel, to discover other culture and to have possibility to express and defend their identity. An important number of Indigenous communities have been honoured in the last editions of the festival. The French audience is now more aware about the fragility of these cultures and about the urgent need to protect them. Followings are those communities participated in the previous festival: Aka Pygmies (Center Africa), Communities Tsou and Rukai (Taiwan), Unhabitants of Taquile Island (Peru), Voladores de Papentla (Mexico) etc.
In particular, 6 years ago, the festival started a thematic work about Amazonian endangered communities and invited successively. The participation of indigenous communities is always the opportunity for us to propose to visitors thematic thoughts about their way to live, the political and environmental problems they are dealing with, their religions and beliefs.
The ANCT, with the “Scene Trad” project, started to accompany young local musicians in their creation process. We support local groups by giving CD production as well as administrative support for them. In addition, we hold several music workshops, round tables and seminars animated by professional musicians on related issues. Through this project, young musicians could involve in the association and start to create their own repertoire by editing their own CD and playing concerts all over the France.
As the “House of Folklore” is now totally equipped with professional audio systems and able to host artists (youth hostel and restaurant) the ANCT starts to welcome “artists in residence”, concerts (approx. 1 event par month) all over the year for different periods of musical creation. The idea of those artistic residencies is to allow local artists to work on a creation process with international artists or amateur artists to work with professional artists. This new generation of artists is today developing new forms of “traditional music”, a music based on the dialogue between tradition and modernity, and on the cross-fertilization between local and international.