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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
Festival lessons for folk singer
Nadia Utking
Nadia hopes to benefit from her stay in Llangollen
A famous Eastern European folk singer has arrived in Llangollen for the world renowned International Musical Eisteddfod.

However, Nadia Utking has not come to the north Wales town to perform - instead she has come to learn about staging such an enormous event.

Llangollen Pavillion
More than 6,000 people compete in the festival

The 35-year-old celebrity works for a Philharmonic Society in Izhersk in the Udmurt Republic.

She was offered the opportunity to study in Wales through the Russia, UK and Netherlands Arts Management Programme.

Those involved in the scheme receive a small allowance for food and accommodation as well as 100 for books and theatre and museum trips.

Established in 1947, the musical Eisteddfod is one of the highlights of the Welsh cultural calendar and attracts more than 6,500 competitors from 47 countries each year.

Celtic culture

Nadia, who has a 13-year-old son, could have visited any one of 60 organisations throughout the UK and Holland.

But she chose to visit Llangollen: "The eisteddfod is a very good event to study and I hope the knowledge I gain will be very good.

"It was my dream to come to a country where the English language is spoken and I have an interest in Celtic culture."

Nadia has already picked up on many similarities between Wales and her home country.


I know nothing about marketing, we have no marketing department, this will be my first thing to do

Nadia Utking

Udmurt is a small republic with a population of 1.6m, around 370,000 people speak the native language but the majority speak Russian.

Eisteddfod spokesman Nigel Davies said she is keen to learn: "She wants to get involved in all aspects of British and Welsh life.

She will be taught all about marketing and administration and says she is keen to take back what she learns.

"I know nothing about marketing, we have no marketing department, this will be my first thing to do."

Eisteddfod spokesman Nigel Davies
Nigel Davies says Nadia has fitted in well

Mr Davies added: "It takes a lot of nerve for someone to come all this way and we all admire her for that."

He added: "She loves it here and her arts background has helped as she's a singer and a composer in her own right."

The Russian celebrity says she will definitely keep in touch with Llangollen and the residents.

"I hope to make some joint project to keep in touch in the future - I don't want to lose all this."

This year's International Festival will run from the 9 - 14 July and will see performances from Lesley Garrett, Zulu choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Catrin Finch - the official Harpist to the Prince of Wales.


More news from north east Wales
See also:

13 May 02 | Wales
20 May 02 | Wales
02 Jul 01 | Wales
13 Jun 01 | Wales
03 Jul 00 | Wales
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