9780190269425

Balkan Fascination Creating an Alternative Music Culture in America

  • ISBN 13:

    9780190269425

  • ISBN 10:

    0190269421

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 10/01/2015
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

Note: Not guaranteed to come with supplemental materials (access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.)

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Summary

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.

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