On 13 May Gazprom’s Fakel Festival held a Friendship Night - a concert that reflected the diversity and vividness of national arts and crafts and united 9 delegations from partner countries of the Russian gas concern.
Fakel has long extended its boundaries stepping far from the Motherland to reach the international level: this time the festival gathered honored guests, friends and colleagues from the Republic of Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, the Peoples Republic of China as well as from France, Germany, Bolivia and Vietnam.
Gazprom EP International, the operator of Gazprom's foreign projects, continues its operations in Vietnam, Uzbekistan and Bolivia and aims to promote international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between countries.
Participation of foreign guests in the festival is a rare opportunity for spectators to learn about a new exotic culture and set on a journey full of discoveries. One does not need interpreters and dictionaries to understand the performers: all we have to do is open our hearts and let the music in. Last night’s concert had a real patchwork of performance groups. The partners from Vietnam brought an authentic ensemble called the “Vietnamese Lotus”. For over ten years, it has taken part in local and international competitions. The musicians find their inspiration in folk traditions and customs. During their show spectators could hear the sound of a Dan Bau, a unique single-string plucking instrument, in the musical composition called “Lemna Floats and Clouds Run” played by Dang Van Toan. “Our music group unites oil and gas industry workers”, said Nghiem Thuy Lan, Chairperson of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Trade Union. “It is an honor for us to be here. The shows we present strengthen friendship between our corporations and promote business partnership. We do hope the spectators will like what we do.”
This year Uzbekneftegaz joined the tight-knit family of the festival. Its folk dance ensemble called “Samira” is a first-time participant of the Fakel Festival. “All of us work at the Fergana oil refinery. We are all amateurs. We are here to show traditional national dances”, says Rimma Nigmatulina, choreographer of the Samira folk dance ensemble. “We are just blown away by Fakel. We have made friends with guys from Belarus, exchanged Instagram accounts with girls from Vietnam and even had a chance to dance with the Bolivians on the mountain top of the Rosa Khutor ski resort. For us friendship, in the first place, means teaming up and hospitality – when we are all together despite our nationalities and some other external factors. Fakel unites us all. Thank you very much for having us!”
The Bolivian delegation has been participating in the Fakel final round since 2017. This time the K'ACHAS folk band has flown over to Sochi. This Latin-American band was a sensation – the audience was taken aback and fell in love with the charismatic performers. By the by, these guys have travelled half the world winning the hearts of both professionals and amateurs. The secret of their success is devotion to the traditional rhythms and tunes. “It’s our first time in Russia, but we feel at home here,” said band leaders Mirko and Yerko Fuentes, “Sochi looks just like our home town. It has the same picturesque mountainscapes. We are very pleased to be here, incredibly lucky”.
The evening closed with, probably, the most well-known “Kalinka-malinka” song sung by all. It became obvious that friendship indeed has no boundaries.
Gazprom EP International is a Gazprom operator in the areas of prospecting, exploration and productions of hydrocarbons outside the Russian Federation. Today Gazprom EP International is operating in twenty countries and three continents. It is involved in about 40 projects of different scales.
The Fakel Festival is held once every two years in three stages. During the first stage, the Gazprom’s subsidiaries determine their best performers to participate in the regional rounds. During the second stage, the regional rounds are held (in the southern and northern zones). Then the winners perform in the third and final round.
The first corporate Fakel Festival was held in 2004–2005. The host cities of the regional rounds were Astrakhan, Belgorod, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Orenburg (twice), Surgut, Tomsk, Khanty-Mansiysk and Yugorsk. The final rounds of the Festival were held in Gelendzhik (2006–2012), Vitebsk (Belarus, 2013) and Sochi (2015 and 2017).
In 2019, Gazprom Transgaz Krasnodar hosts the final round of the Fakel Festival.
Full coverage of the Festival is available at www.gazpromfakel.ru (official website