Saturday, December 29, 2007

All things Balkan

We went to this fabulous performance in Boston on Thursday, perhaps you have heard of it, the Christmas Revels. I used to go every year when I was a child. A celebration of the winter solstice, the original revels had a pretty consistent repetoire of songs, dances, and drama all revolving around this time of year-- much of it old English. Now, however, each year the Revels focuses on a theme, and this year it was the Balkans.
Now perhaps you don't know this, but Balkan music is unreal. It is haunting and absolutely enchanting. It is characterized by lines of extremely close harmony which cross over one another in surprising moments of unison. I love singing Balkan music, and in the two choruses I am part of we have always done Balkan pieces. It is hard to sing but unbelievably satisfying. Many of the harmony lines of pieces I know have become very successful lullabies for my babies.
Anyhow. I had to see the Balkan revels. So I bought some tickets, uncharacteristically, the most expensive in the house (all that was left) and Greg and I left our kids with my parents in New Hampshire and drove the hour and a half down to Boston to spend the evening surrounded by Balkan good cheer. Just as it was starting, I said to Greg, next year Liam will be ready for this. And just as the singing filled the hall, the glorious, full, strong voices of about 80 men and women, it hit me. Why had it not been obvious before?
That means this year would have been Charlotte's first year. So I cried a little.
Then, later in the program, I read something that said that it is traditional at Christmastime to set an extra place at the table to stand for those who are with us only in spirit. So there. It is a real tradition, and one I shall begin at the next event I host.
I loved the Revels. The music was just amazing and the whole scene inspiring.
Music is such a spiritual experience for me (my only spirituality?) and I want my children to be part of it. The kids come to one of my choruses with me and (among a wealth of other songs)they have picked up this really great Macedonian song which they sing together. It is called "Sto mi e milo" and it's fabulous. It is so cute. My kids are 3 and 1 and they can actually sing at pitch which amazes me and makes me so proud. I think soon Liam might be ready to even carry a melody line while I sing some kind of harmony without getting confused. OOh it makes me so pleased. I love singing.
The song they sing can be found on UTube if you enter Sto Mi E Milo and the Pennywhistlers.This is a funny recording of it from the 1960's. I would put the link here, but as I have said before, I have dial up. It might take me over an hour to actually get it to load far enough to figure out the address. Maybe if we're lucky Erin will figure it out for me and post it in the comments. But otherwise I figure if there is anyone out there (anyone? anyone?) who wants to hear a sampling of a pretty kickass Balkan song and think about how cute it is that my two adorable kids can sing it, they can figure this out.
Whoop de doo.
It is sunny here. I have just gotten my two children to sleep, this is so nice for them, they are exhausted. Liam tucked into the top bunk and Aoife in her crib with her "princess", a cheesy, sparkly dolly that was a gift from our neighbor, chosen from a wealth of soft, organic, waldorfy, beautiful dollys to be her favorite doll. Go figure. You can only do so much. The weather looks lovely and I am going to go for a nice long run. Greg is cleaning our basement-- 5 foot ceilings and a dirt floor. Old New England Farmhouse. Go Greg.
Wishing you peace and good cheer.
So long.

1 comment:

Ivan said...

if you like balkan music, be sure to check out stefanovski and tadić - treta majka. greetings from croatia. Ivan