Balkan Fascination: Creating an Alternative Music Culture in America - American Musicspheres (Paperback)
  • Balkan Fascination: Creating an Alternative Music Culture in America - American Musicspheres (Paperback)
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Balkan Fascination: Creating an Alternative Music Culture in America - American Musicspheres (Paperback)

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Paperback 312 Pages / Published: 26/11/2015
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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.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190269425
Number of pages: 312
Weight: 464 g
Dimensions: 236 x 162 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Mirjana Lausevic's lively account of Balkan music's transplantation to the United States and its development as a quirky musical subculture deftly links the Balkan music scene to broader currents in American social history. Lausevic's insightful analysis comprises a first-rate contribution to current scholarship on the role of transnational culture and affinity communities in America today. * Theodore Levin, Dartmouth College *
This thorough examination of the facets of Balkan music in America gives it a very human side, and although it's hard to reach truly definitive conclusions about anything in this area, Lausevi marshals her facts and ideas well, and presents them cogently and readably. The result is a fascinating window opened on an American subculture that looks beyond its own borders. * Sing Out! *
After decades of American researchers studying the music practices of 'other' cultures, it's about time someone studied us. This book deals with many important and relevant questions, interpreted by an unusually observant and insightful investigator: Why do we fall in love with particular kinds of music and dance, to the extent that a first hearing/seeing changes the course of our lives? And even more crucial: How are many of our personal life decisions (that we believe are totally self-motivated and independent) influenced by historical forces beyond our awareness? Finally, and most broadly: What motivates us to do anything? This monograph may be focused on a particular topic, but the ideas and methods presented here are applicable to numerous aspects of sharing and learning in our globalized music world. * Mark Levy, University of Oregon *
Lively examination, a solid jumping off point for further research by either scholar or layperson."-Dirty Linen
The way Lausevic interpreted her results reveals a very perceptive and knowledgeable researcher. * The World of Music *
This insightful, thorough, and easily accessible book remains a testament to [Lausevic's] scholarship and teaching. It will serve well in Balkan music and dance circles, in undergraduate and graduate courses, and in the libraries of scholars and institutions of higher learning and research. * Yearbook for Traditional Music *

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