People--including Mr. Keillor--ask us all the time, "So, why Balkan music?" And the story is both rich and simple.
Simply, we sing this music because it is incredibly beautiful. Each of us found our way Balkan music in a different way, but when we heard it, we each instantly decided to learn more.
We absolutely adore this music - Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Greek, Albanian, Roma, Gorani, even the non-Balkan ones, Russian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Georgian, all of it. To everyone who was born into this heritage, thank you thank you. We've experienced an immense generosity from folks from these countries in the past, and that is what makes us able to keep learning new music. Teachers, musical idols, composers - so so many people whose lives exist in a deep and powerful connection to this music - have all generously decided to share their art with us, and it is our deep honor to sing it, too.
Borders have changed over time, powerful and enduring pain runs through so many of us as a legacy of the way cultures have been persecuted, squashed, and tyrannized at different moments throughout time. We know that by claiming certain identities and naming certain histories (especially in identifying songs as being from certain countries) we are also articulating certain historical narratives, even without intending to.
But the bottom line for us is that we sing this music not because it comes from any one country, but simply because it is beautiful. We remember so many histories of culture being banned and exiled, locked behind safe house doors, and we delight--absolutely delight!--in the opportunity to sing it loud in gardens, cathedrals, and over the airwaves. If you would like to share your stories of pain or of joy in remembering this music's history, please contact us on the contact page. We want to hear your story and your music. Thank you so much for it.