Balkan Fascination: Creating an Alternative Music Culture in America

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Jan 4, 2007 - Music - 310 pages
0 Reviews
Divi Zheni identifies itself as a Bulgarian women's chorus and band, but it is located in Boston and none of its members come from Bulgaria. Zlatne Uste is one of the most popular purveyors of Balkan music in America, yet the name of the band is grammatically incorrect. The members of Sviraci hail from western Massachusetts, upstate New York, and southern Vermont, but play tamburica music on traditional instruments. Curiously, thousands of Americans not only participate in traditional music and dance from the Balkans, but in fact structure their social practices around it without having any other ties to the region. In Balkan Fascination, ethnomusicologist Mirjana Lausevic, a native of the Balkans, investigates this remarkable phenomenon to explore why so many Americans actively participate in specific Balkan cultural practices to which they have no familial or ethnic connection. Going beyond traditional interpretations, she challenges the notion that participation in Balkan culture in North America is merely a specialized offshoot of the 1960s American folk music scene. Instead, her exploration of the relationship between the stark sounds and lively dances of the Balkan region and the Americans who love them reveals that Balkan dance and music has much deeper roots in America's ideas about itself, its place in the world, and the place of the world's cultures in the American melting pot. Examining sources that span more than a century and come from both sides of the Atlantic, Lausevic shows that an affinity group's debt to historical movements and ideas, though largely unknown to its members, is vital in understanding how and why people make particular music and dance choices that substantially change their lives.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
3
Part I Ethnography of the Balkan Music and Dance Scene
15
Part II Folk Dancing and TurnoftheCentury America
69
Part III International Folk Dancing from the 1930s to the 1950s
131
Part IV The 1950s and Beyond
181
Sample Questionnaire
243
Notes
245
Bibliography
265
Index
277
Key to Selections on DVD
297
Key to Selections on CD
299
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Mirjana Lausevic (1966-2007) was Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She came to the United States from her native Sarajevo in 1991, where she was a musician, ethnomusicologist, and music commentator on Bosnian radio and television.

Bibliographic information