Ktown Choir an open Letter to my Mom

Mom, I joined the choir.

You know that all the years I was in school and beyond I was in the choir. I really love to sing. I remember singing along to the radio as early as 3 or 4. And of course I was dancing too. I just couldn’t help myself. Really, I am not kidding.

I began singing in church and doing solos when I was really young, now I think about it. I was probably seven or eight when I sang “Away in a Manger” my first solo at church.

Joining the choir here in Ktown was initially an attempt to improve my Serbian. But, I found I am just filled with joy that I can sing again. The people are so helpful, and I am thrilled to meet new people. The whole choir thing has made me feel so much more normal. I do fear my stupidity with the Serbian language will get old and they will soon tire of helping me. Crossing my fingers I am not overly needy.

Here in Serbia, often I feel like only half of me. Slowly, all of me is beginning to show up.

Nerves strike me often, and I make stupid mistakes while I am singing. I think I will feel at home soon. I practice at home with you tube videos when possible. Some of the songs move so fast that it is a bit of a challenge to read the text in Cyrillic and sing along. All this, while reading the music. But it is good for me. It stretches my brain.

Below is one of my favorite songs in Cyrillic… Just so you can see what I am working with. Here is the photo credit: http://vaspitaci.blogspot.com/2014/01/blog-post_8605.html

 

When I first walked into the choir room, they were already singing a song. I must tell you, I was stunned, it was in English. Immediately, I was a bit bummed! I came to the class for Serbian!! But it was only the first page and then it was onto Latin.¬† ūüôā¬†¬† Soon enough we were off to a another song and it was in Serbian.

I am really enjoying the singing as well as learning traditional songs that speak to the soul with their beauty and culture. I can’t help but smile when I hear the music for the first time. It is just gorgeous! Again, I feel like a tourist in an exotic land with so much beauty, and I get to take part in the action!! Freaking cool!!

Me with mascara running! Photo credit: http://bajo-el-mar.tumblr.com/post/17137369879/about-to-spam-you-all-big-time-with-dogs-available

Foreigner Follie Choir edition….I am pretty sure last week, I went to class with mascara all over my eye. The Munchkin (who is almost three now, is obsessed with snow and the idea of snow ball fights!) had thrown some snow at me when we were walking home from helping out at an English class. I though nothing of it and dropped her . Then, I went to choir. No one said anything. So maybe I am wrong…? But when I got home after choir practice and looked in the mirror, I looked like I had a black eye. LOL Munchkin- 1 Mom- 0

Learning songs it is a challenge. I still don’t know what the words mean. That makes memorization a bit more challenging! But I do love a challenge!

I am a little fearful I won’t be good enough. That my mistakes will be too much. Our choir is very good and the director is amazing! I was a bit shocked as this is a small town. But, I hope they keep me. Even if I am not good enough to sing in the upcoming events that would be ok.¬† This choir is feeding my soul. I really love it.

We are learning old Serbian classics, and they are really really beautiful. Just like the people.  Serbian people are just amazing. Check out the link below to hear one of these great classics. Hymna Sveti Sava

I love you Mom, miss you lots. XOXO

Knjazevac Kolo

First of all Happy New Year!! I thought a post about dancing was an appropriately festive topic for New Years day 2013.

December 28, I was excited to attend a an evening of Kolo Dancing in our town. It was awesome. The town kids worked hard to learn a bunch of different Kolo dances from all over Serbia. Some Greek and Turkish Dances were also included because that is also a part of the heritage of Serbia. The borders have moved around quite a bit over the last several hundred years. The history is rich and multicultural. It is¬†fascinating¬†learning about the dances and traditions. And here, the past doesn’t seem so far away. At times, I feel as if time has stood still.

Serbian girls from Knjazevac singing traditional Serbian songs

Serbian girls from Knjazevac singing traditional Serbian songs

The performance started off with singing. Not the kind most of us are used too. If I hadn’t taken an intercultural music class in college, I would have been super shocked and maybe even turned off. The discordant song was originally sung by shepherds who sang so that other herders miles away could sing along. At least that is what I learned in the class.

The music in this clip from the movie Savior is the kind of song the girls were singing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5KWDc7q6Og

Below is an example of Serbian music, but not a shepherds song. I love it. so beautiful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tecQs5ria0c

 

Serbian Band

The band pictured played some really good music. I was impressed. When I hear these bands, normally I think circus music. The strong brassy umpas and fast choppy “flow” of the music is totally not my style, but these guys played a ¬†pop song with Balkan flavor. and it made me appreciate the music so much more. Then they played a traditional song and it was back to the circus for me, but I do like the circus.

Fury White hats

Fury White hats

Some of the costumes were so cool, but I couldn’t help but think how hot these hats would make the dancers. Back in the day where there was little heat and the costumes and the Kolo would keep you warm, but now. SO HOT! Thank God it is just for performances.

I sat with a crowd of people from my husbands village. They found me waiting for the show, I was so pleased to have their company. I love how friendly people are here.

Friends from Vina

Friends from Vina

 

SONY DSC

When I went to a practice, I asked the girls if it was difficult to get the boys to dance. The reply was ¬†a unanimous “Yes”! They began with no boys, but managed to lure them into the group. Though I am not sure how they did it. I know my Serbian husband didn’t even want to attend the performance. Rakija is the only thing that may possible get him to dance. Without a doubt the Kolo would not even be a possibility for him coupled with Rakija.

Kolo in a White Dress

Kolo in a White Dress

ankle lock

This segment was pretty cool, the guys here locked ankles and hopped in a circle. There were some other pretty creative moves. Tricky tricky.

Little boy Blue and his girl in Green

Little boy Blue and his girl in Green

In spite¬†of the fact, nothing on the lad above is blue, this outfit on the fellas screams “little boy blue come blow your horn”, I love it. If you are¬†unfamiliar¬†with the Mother Goose Nursery rhyme here is a picture of “Little Boy Blue”, click the link below.http://www.rmichelson.com/Artist_Pages/Sanderson/Mother-Goose/Little-Boy-Blue.html

Serbian Bagpiper

Serbian Bagpiper

This guy was kind of a shock. I know I have heard of these pipers before, but the Scotch bagpipes have so much influence on the world we rarely hear about these slavic drones. These pipes, though similar, had a distinctly different sound.

Yellow scarves ans red socks

The show ended with Turkish fashion of old. Satiny sultan attire sporting tambourines to add to the music. What a great finale. SONY DSC

When all the bows were taken and the auditorium was pouring its contents out the doors, the band on stage began to play again. Everyone on stage did their own Kolo and little children left their parents to go dance on stage. This was a wondrous end to a wonderful night. SONY DSC

I wish I could have videotaped the folklore dances last Friday night. They did such a great job!  But if you are itching to see  the Kolo, here is a link to a performance in Belgrade. These are adults doing the same dances I saw, on a more difficult level. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yB-OLdf8UI

Happy New Year to all! Celebrate the new days we have been blessed with!