The desire for freedom lies deep in our souls. Is this one of the reasons why we have repeatedly embarked on journeys that involve abandoning the familiar and traversing borders? The idea of freedom still prompts people to pack their bags today. However, freedom requires courage. Freedom is not handed to us. We have to take it for ourselves and recognise that life is more fulfilling when we make our own decisions. Therein lies a piece of responsibility. Perhaps this is why the narrative of freedom is a story full of contradictions and duality. A story that oscillates between new beginnings and endings, departures and arrivals, war and peace, suffering and joy. A story that tells of integrity and solidarity and the dream of simply being.
"Sei a Mensch" is a Yiddish expression. It is based on neither religion nor politics. It simply means doing good. It transcends cultures and is as universal as the sounds of music. With "Mensch – Of Courageous Freedom and Freed Courage", we are taking you on a vast and interconnected global journey. At this year's festival, we will share stories great and short about people, courage and freedom. On a musical and literary journey, we will travel to Central Europe, accompany people who had to leave their homeland, touch upon human rights, flee to the USA, take part in diversity, embark on a world tour, walk alongside minorities, pass through Bonn, marry woes and passions, deepen love and a desire to have children, discover great legacies, set off for the Basque Country, find beauty behind bars and reconcile ourselves with the past. We do this with great artists from all over the world. Great artists from the worlds of music and literature. Because we know that as long as we play, we are free. We warmly welcome you! Courageously free and… as a Mensch.
Gwendolyn Masin, Artistic Director
And the GAIA Music Festival team