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The LocarnoFolk Association, based in Locarno, was founded in 2014 with the aim of spreading and promoting popular or folk-inspired music in the Canton of Ticino.

It all began in 2012 thanks to Barbara Knopf and Pietro Bianchi, who founded the LocarnoFOLK Festival, a summer event hosted in various locations in Locarno, including Piazza S. Antonio and for three years the Teatro Paravento.

In 2016 the festival moved to the evocative setting of Orselina Park, having in the meantime enriched itself with screenings, music and dance workshops.

Since 2015 the association has also proposed a season of concerts between winter and spring, dedicated to popular music in its various forms, even in a more modern guise: the LocarnoFOLK Events.

In 2017, the musical offer of this season as well as of the festival widened again when the association married popular dances and started to propose dance concerts as well.

The last edition of the festival took place in 2018. For mainly financial reasons, the future of the open-air summer event remains uncertain.

On the other hand, the association continues with the organisation of the LocarnoFOLK Events, now divided into two seasons (spring and autumn) of 3-5 concerts each. Dance or music workshops and didactic concerts can complete the musical proposals.

Today, ten years after the birth of the LocarnoFOLK Festival, the association wishes to increase the support of members and donors, united in a common passion and in the aim of consolidating and expanding the activities to promote folk music and dance in Ticino. Only with new forces, new ideas and new resources will it be possible to continue along the path taken a decade ago.

The LocarnoFolk Association Committee is currently composed as follows: Barbara Knopf, president; Mireille Ben, vice-president; Paola Bonetti, secretary; Ana Camponovo, cashier; Paola Bonetti, secretary.

Barbara Knopf, president and artistic director

Raised in a French-speaking environment, she graduated in musicology, French literature, and media science at the University of Zürich, where she also attended ethnomusicology seminars. At the same time, she studied transverse flute and the piano at the Zurich Conservatory.

Her interest in traditional music led her to work as an editor, producer and chief editor of popular music programs at the swiss german radio station SF DRS, and to regularly write articles on the subject for the Winterthur newspaper "Landbote".

She then trained as a journalist and worked for the Swiss telegraph agency (ATS) and the romando newspaper "Les Temps" and put her experience in communication to fruit, working as an advertiser and PR manager for the Bach Collegium Zürich.

She has been living in Ticino since 2009 and in 2012, together with Pietro Bianchi founded the LocarnoFolk Festival. For many years they also played together the popular music of Ticino and Insubria (flute, bagpipes, voice), together also with Carlo Bava and Diego Orelli.

Adults trainer and interpreter, she teaches German and French and has been a collaborator of the swiss intercultural interpreters association, INTERPRET.

She plays the musette (bagpipe from central France) in La Piccola Banda di Cornamuse led by Gabriele Coltri. In 2016 she also approached French Balfolk.

Mireille Ben, vice-president

She begins her activity as an a cappella singer in the Parisian folk clubs. In 1972 she is guest of the Breton trio "Glazar Skeduz" with whom she travels in France and Belgium. In 1973 the formation is increased by 4 elements and so was born the famous group "Lyonesse" with whom she carries out an important concert activity for 15 years.

She carries out research in the field of traditional music and singing in France, Québec and Ticino (Switzerland). In 1978, she is artistic director of the 1st International Festival of Popular Music "Canté J'euv" in Bra (Piedmont). After 10 years of systematic research into Ticino folk songs, she works at the Swiss National Sound Archives as head of the folk music sector. In 1985 she collaborates in the photographic exhibition "Il Violino del Povero".

In 1986 she shoots the video film "I Canti del Fondo del Sacco". In 1989 she is a founding member of the Folk Music School of the Popular Cultural Association (ACP), where she teaches traditional French dances, and of the animation group Bandalpina. In 1992/93 she is a guest of the group "Magam" in the show "Songs and Christmas music of the Alpine Arc". She participates in the shows "MusicAlpina" 1995/96 (directed by Pierre Beccu) and "Là-haut sur la montagne" 2000 (directed by Robert Amyot).

Since 1999 she has presented a formation of 4 elements, the "Mireille Ben Ensemble", an encounter between musicians of different cultures and styles.

In 2006 she receives the Italian "Canté Bergera" award for her musical career.

2005/06 she appears in the films "Quale amore" (directed by Maurizio Scarpa) and "Tewanna Ray" (directed by Alessandro Taccagni). She sings with the Renaissance group "Les Farfouilleurs" and in the show “A Monmartre ce soir” (directed by Gil Pidoux) with Michel Poletti and Natalya Chesnova.

Since 2013 she has been organized the festival "Slow Music" which takes place in Bellinzona, the capital of Ticino.


Ana Camponovo, treasurer

She is a very curious person of nature, everything that is the discovery of the different or the unknown fascinates her. Precisely for this reason, thanks to her dynamic and energetic personality, she has many dreams and makes sure not to leave them in the drawer ... challenging herself!

She is a 100% mother, but in her free time she dedicates herself to one of her greatest passions: theatre. She is currently the director of a theatre company of adults and is also committed to bringing children and young people closer to this discipline.

Paola Bonetti, secretary

She discovers international folk dances at the age of 16 and falls in love with them. She proposes them from the very beginning to children and youths of the summer colonies and then for 8 years to her primary school scholars. For family commitments she leaves them but doesn't forget them.

It is later that she manages to get closer again to the folk dances, learning and dancing them regularly with passion. She has the opportunity to propose them in schools for school events or in interested classes.

In 2000 she decides to propose them to groups of adults and follows then the basic dance training of Pro Senectute Switzerland with Susanne Bolliger, the "esa" training (Sport for adults Switzerland) in Magglingen, the "Allez Hop" training in dance for young and old people and the training to the"Dutch method" with the founders Jan Knoppers & Richard V.D.Kooij (2017).

Since 2003 she has been leading dance groups for young people and for Pro Senectute Ticino and Moesano in Biasca and Bellinzona.

For her continuous training she regularly attends seminars of ethnic dances, conducted by internationally renowned masters and choreographers, proposed both in Switzerland and abroad, getting to know more and more new dances, new teachers, new choreographers and new companions of "travel" in the circle of dances, so that in 2016 she approaches the Balfolk brought back to Ticino, after a long time of absence, by LocarnoFolk.
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  • IBAN: CH34 8080 8001 7376 3324 2 Associazione LocarnoFOLK 6600 Locarno