In 2006 the organisation Fiëbre (now Murga) decided to take some action. Antwerp, the second most diverse city in the world, was suffering from a lack of intercultural dialogue and from growing frustration and negativity (majority votes for the ultra right party, racist crimes, etc.). Fiëbre used the concept of street murgas in Argentina to shift focus from the countries of origin of the Antwerp citizens towards the environment or area they live in. People living in the same neighbourhood can start a murga that can voice the identity of that neighbourhood.
Read more about the tradition and history of murga under ROOTS.
What is a murga?
A murga is a contemporary street band that is linked with a certain street, area or environment and that uses four basic disciplines: music, dance, word and costume. Murga represents the identity of the group and employs the individual talents of all its participants. Within a murga anything goes; all styles are permitted and literally everyone can join in.
A murga year
Each murga year starts with an event to kick off the new year, conveniently called Murga Kick-Off. During winter and spring the murgas rehearse and get their shows ready for the grand finale on the last Saturday of June, the big Murga Parade, where all active murgas join in to show their best work to the public in the streets. A number of other events are organized throughout the year, like the annual Soup Attack, a wintry happening where murgas make soups with only four ingredients (cfr. the four disciplines) and the best one wins the Golden Ladle. There is also a yearly event marked by the topic of the year. Every year a specific topic is chosen to elaborate on (e.g. costume, word, dance, …); the topic-event centres around that year’s topic. Take a look in our calendar for this year’s events.
Throughout the year murgas will shake their feathers at various festivals, parties and community events. The murgas are in charge of their own concerts, so whoever wants to book a murga is advised to contact them directly.
Not only the history of murga is one of crossing borders, its future also shines with international colours!
The international murga impulses originate from the international contacts of the murgas and their participants. Murga vzw maps all these movements, offers exchange of information and expertise and monitors the correct use of the murga name. But the actual projects are executed by individuals or organisations, with whom Murga builds partnerships.
In the fall of 2009 a First International Murga Forum was held in the cities of Antwerp and Leuven (Belgium), with speakers from Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, Spain and Italy. This forum was a First step towards the development of an international murga network. Murga vzw wil make efforts to expand this network. During the fall of 2010 a second International Murga Forum will take place in Antwerp.
An overview of the current international murga movements monitored by Murga vzw: