30 June 2012

Serbia and Romani music

Map of Serbia

I am very partial to the music of Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo, and Albania. Some of the music I perform and teach are Romani (Gypsy) in origin. It is my fondest desire that the Romani immersion during Amala School, Valjevo, Serbia, will give me deeper insight to these melodies. 16 Days until I'm there.

From Wikipedia:
Serbia is landlocked country located in the Balkans(a historical and geographical region of southeastern Europe) and in the PannonianPlain (a region of central Europe). It shares borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria,Croatia, Hungary, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Romania. Serbiaclaims a border with Albania as well through its disputed territory of Kosovo.It is landlocked, although access to the Adriatic is available through Montenegro,and the Danube River provides shipping access to inland Europe and the BlackSea.

From Wikipedia:
Romani music plays an important role in Central and EasternEuropean countries such as Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro,Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Hungary, Slovenia and Romania,and the style and performance practices of Romani musicians have influencedEuropean classical composers such as Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms.

Gifts of Quilting - an old post gone missing

Quilted by Dee Langley
Note: I was amazed to find this in my blog draft folder. It's a description of the host presents taken to Serbia July of 2012. Figured better late than never so here it is.

June of 2012

Time to start thinking about the little details of the trip, like gifts for our hosts and teachers at Amala School, Valjevo, Serbia. We (OBI) decided to bring books about Minnesota and these quilted ornaments. I made 12 of them in bright colors of pink, green and orange.

Quilting in America has an interesting history. From Wikipedia:

Leading up to the American Civil War, quilts were made to raise funds to support the abolitionist movement then during the war, quilts were made to raise funds for the war effort and to give warmth and comfort to soldiers. Even before 1830 abolitionists were working hard to end slavery. One way they did this was to hold grand fairs to raise both awareness and money for the abolitionist cause. Quilts were one of many craft pieces sold at these fairs.

Quilted by Dee Langley
Amish quilts are appreciated for their bold graphic designs, distinctive color combinations, and exceptional stitching. Quilts are created for everyday use or to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, raising funds for the church or community cause. Their quilts have become collectors’ items all over the world.

Today American quilters are still giving through their craft, Quilts For Kids is one such organization. People from all over American donate their time and fabric to make quilts for children in the hospital, to make their stay more homelike.

I will be very proud to leave these 'love and good luck' quilted ornaments in Serbia as a token of appreciation and heartfelt thanks for making us feel at home.

28 June 2012

Kolubarski Region in Serbia

It looks so small...
Day 19 before Amala School.  Wait...what happened to yesterday? This educational and cultural excursion was decided upon over a year ago shortly after Orkestar Bez Ime (know here as 'we') won the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians. We would have attended last year but not all six of us had the time in July free. So we waited, and waited, and waited and it seemed this dream was so far off in the future. Not any more! My suitcase has come out of the attic today and I'm starting the process of deciding exactly how much stuff I want to carry around with me all the time.

In addition to wrestling my suitcase I spent time looking at the regions of Serbia. The city of Valjevo is the seat of the Kolubarski Region which has around 200,000 people that call it home.

Wikipedia has these Ethnic group population totals posted from the census of 2002, a decade ago. This is a map of only Sumadija and Western Serbia. Kolubarski is the pink area.


2002 Census
Kolubarski Region, only

Serbs 186,177

Roma 2,577

Others 11,806

TOTAL 200,560

26 June 2012

Language, a barrier?

Sometime you take a moment whenever you can, like sitting in the car waiting. For a few minutes I can focus on learning the Serbian language. Two excellent tools are Livemocha.com and Byki.com. Byki has an app for my phone so I can study wherever I am. Good thing because my teachers, I understand, do not speak English and it is up to me to learn how to ask the questions In Serbian.

24 June 2012

Everyone Can Relax

Day 23 and counting backwards to Serbia. This was a Sunday made for taking a break. Mid-summer fire out in the back yard, lucky me! And I guess even when trying to relax I really am preparing for the trip, this post is from an app on my phone, the first one I've tried. I have got a lot to learn before Valjevo!