Wednesday, 2 September 2015

13th August: Hajde Hajde, Bashalen Romalen !

Since leaving London for the Balkans this time, I have not once been soooo full of amazing food - traditional Macedonian cuisine, with veggies and potatoes from the own garden - I had been invited to Bojana’s parents for lunch. Bojana’s mum indulged us in proper Balkan hospitality fashion, full of love, amazing tastes and calories.

... and not one picture I took :-( 

After that we went back to Shutka for a musical venture. We met Asan on the main street. A long walk through the labyrinths of the residential Shutka followed. Everything is very narrow, very interleaved and close together, very very cozy. One can find a big mixture of attributes and qualities; little houses painted in bright purple and green next to slum-like dwellings, messy alleyways followed by clean-swiped passages. People seem very open, going about their chores in the middle of everyone, sharing their lives very much with the community around them. We were a rather exotic bunch walking along through those alleyways, me with my violin case and my colours sticking out even in those surroundings - once more a ‘resident’s attraction’ (as opposed to ‘tourist attraction’).

Once arrived at Asan’s courtyard, we settled down in the open-air sofa next to the pigeon’s shed - my Serbian wasn’t enough to ask if they were letter-pigeons. Accompanied by their purring, we started getting the instruments out, and some more musicians joined.

...only a couple of pix here, from before the real thing started...

Our music making session turned out to be a huge exchange of notes, music and ornaments. In our search for common repertoire, I ended up teaching some of my Roma repertoire to my new musical colleagues (hahaha, didn’t I come here to actually learn, and not teach :-)?). 

Anyway, bit by bit we gelled and found lots of pieces and songs to jam through, from common classics, to unknown stuff, even some klezmer, Sephardic and Israeli repertoire - I received huge compliments for my interpretation, how well I picked up their music and phrases by ear, and for my trills (how chaffed did it make me to be praised by the masters !!!!). 

A little vid of the first few minutes, - when we were in the thick of it I was too busy to record anything... 

Going there with the aim to take some music lessons, we ended up learning lots of new tunes, and we formed a new band, which will go touring through Europe (!!?!!)… currently a fata morgana and still, I’m really excited about it - lets see what happens :-)

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