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Various / Fiesta Balkanica

Fiesta Balkanica

In the Balkan countries you are unlikely to come upon concert situations where a silent audience sits devoutly listening to the music.

Here, festivals and concerts have a dynamic of their very own: musicians and audience quickly interact and mutually rouse each others spirits. Sometimes this can result in wild ecstasy, irrespective of whether it is in a larger concert hall or a more intimate circle of friends or family.

The experience can even take on a sacred aspect, fading out everyday life. In the course of it, direct physical contact among members of the audience and between audience and musicians increases. Donations of money to the musicians are altogether customary, be it out of respect, gratitude and admiration, be it in a state of intoxicated delight.

I have often witnessed musicians playing in front of a great pile of banknotes or trumpeters having to interrupt their solo to remove banknotes from the instrument’s opening.

Politico-cultural laws aimed at preserving the purity of local traditions have no chance in the Balkan countries. Musicians, indeed music, are not interested in political delineations and wrangling; on the contrary, intercultural influences and cross-border sessions are common.

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