Corsican victory in the Liet-Lavlut, Europe’s minority languages song contest

Traditional singer Jacques Culioli wins both the audience and jury awards at the fifth Liet-Lavlut, held in Lapland and featuring artists from Asturias, Galicia, Brittany, Wales, Friuli, Frisia, Corsica and elsewhere · Organizers do not want the contest to be a folk festival and encourage original compositions and contemporary styles including rock and hip hop · This year’s event coincides with the tenth anniversary of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The fifth Liet-Lavlut, Europe's most famous minority languages song contest, took place on October 18 in Luleå, Swedish Lapland. Eleven acts, which had either been successful in other competitions or had been selected by a jury, competed for the coveted title of best artist. Jacques Culioli was the outright winner of the contest, and was awarded both the jury and audience awards. Culioli sang a traditional song which he wrote "as a prayer for the future of a united and Corsican Corsica after the dark period when Corsican nationalists fought against each other."

The first groups to qualify for the contest were Mordens and Surunmaa, the two winners of the Nordic-Baltic Laulun-Laulut semi-final last year. Mordens sing in Mordvinian, a Finno-Ugric language spoken in eastern Russia, while Surunmaa perform in Mëankieli, a dialect of Finnish spoken in northern Sweden.

Two bands took part in the Liet-Lavlut after their success in the Celtic festival Nos Ur, namely Breton folk-rock band Gwennyn and Welsh indie band Yr Annioddefol. Elin Kaven meanwhile sang in Sami after winning the Sami Grand Prix in Kautokeino at the Easter Festival. Jelte Posthumus and his band Pilatus Pas, who sing in Frisian, qualified for the competition after winning the Liet, the Frisian version of the Liet-Lavlut. Finally, Boy Elliott and the Plastic Bags represented Galicia and the Galician language, having won the Galician festival A Polo Ghit.

The remaining four acts were selected by a jury who took into account "the musical quality, popularity, language, age and gender" of a large number of groups and individuals. The acts that made it to the contest were Dixebra, an established rock band from the Asturias, Carnicats from Friuli, the Corsican singer Jacques Culioli, and Spasulati, a band from the Albanian-speaking Arbëreshe community in Calabria, southern Italy.

Conference marks tenth anniversary of minority languages charter
A number of other events were held alongside the song contest, most notably a conference marking the tenth anniversary of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, organized by the Council of Europe. The aim of the conference was to examine the current status of minority languages in Europe and the extent to which they are supported by local and regional authorities. The relationship between specialist NGOs and European institutions was also discussed.

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