Balkan Fascination: Creating an Alternative Music Culture in by Mirjana Lausevic

By Mirjana Lausevic

In Balkan Fascination, ethnomusicologist Mirjana Lausevic, a local of the Balkans, investigates why such a lot of american citizens actively perform particular Balkan cultural practices to which they've got no relations or ethnic connection. Going past conventional interpretations, she demanding situations the inspiration that participation in Balkan tradition in North the US is simply a really expert offshoot of the Sixties American folks track scene. as an alternative, her exploration of the connection among the stark sounds and energetic dances of the Balkan sector and the americans who love them unearths that Balkan dance and tune has a lot deeper roots in America's principles approximately itself, its position on this planet, and where of the world's cultures within the melting pot.

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Only 11 percent of the sample started as instrumentalists, and only 10 percent as singers. This is not surprising, considering that the whole scene sprang from dance. Almost everybody at camp takes part in dancing activities even if not partaking in class instructions per se. Dancing as a recreational and amateur group activity does not require the serious time commitment and individual effort that attempting to master a musical style demands. The Balkan music scene remains, to the present day, somewhat subordinate to the dance scene and is of a more recent date.

This feeling appears to be very common for white, middle-class Americans. While looking at the replies people gave for the US Census on their ethnic background, Mary Waters (1990) observed that people not only change the ethnic group with which they identify from one census to another, but that they pick, not the most dominant, but the most interesting/ unusual of the possible choices. In her book “Ethnic Options,” Waters points out that “having an ethnic identity is something that makes you both special and simultaneously part of a community.

I am not ethnic. I have no particular ethnic background. I am a pure lily-white American. I am just an American. I am basically a WASP. The “Balkanites” 21 These remarks were sometimes accompanied by anecdotes from school days about envying fellow students who could brag about their exotic and colorful ethnic backgrounds. ”6 While some people were apologetic, others laughed at the “purity” or “plainness” of their ethnic background and were often amused that they were involved in music and dance of a region they were not connected to through heritage.

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