Divi Zheni identifies itself as Bulgarian women's chorus and band, but 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 family 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 melting pot.
Buy Balkan Fascination book by Mirjana Lausevic from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
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Oxford University Press Inc
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Author Biography - Mirjana Lausevic
Mirjana Lausevic 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. Specializing in the region's traditional and popular music, her work on music, politics, and media has been published in academic and popular journals in the United States and former Yugoslavia, and has been the topic of interviews by Jim Lehrer and NPR's "The World." She is currently a professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.