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From the Editor

Enjoying the prospect

By Julie Lancaster, Spring 2019

This summer’s camps are fast approaching and I’m so pleased that my sweetie Jim and I will be attending one of them (Mendocino), after a few years away.

The prospect is thrilling: to plunge into a haven of incomparable music and dance, to once again see beloved friends and teachers, to see the folks I knew as kids and be amazed at what they’re doing now, to cast aside my work for a week and revel in music and dancing and conversation. And—because it’s Mendocino—to see and smell the redwoods, and enjoy the experience of being mostly unplugged from the world for a while.

And then there’s the prospect of falling in love . . . with a piece of music.

You know what I’m talking about. It could happen at the group sing—a song you’ve heard before and suddenly think, Hey, I need to learn how to play that! It could happen in the dance hall: an achingly beautiful or exceptionally fun tune in the middle of someone’s set, and you know you need that tune for your dance group back home. It could happen one night in the softly lit kafana: a tune reaches right out and grabs you, and you know you must learn it, record it, somehow incorporate it into your life.

Maybe it’s a tune officially taught in one of your classes. Or maybe you overhear someone practicing in their cabin as you walk by, and you stop to hear more of it. (And wish they would stop repeating that tricky passage they’re trying to iron out, because you want to hear what happens next.)

However you first pick up the tune, you soon find it haunting you when you’re standing in the food line or going to bed at night. It keeps popping back into your mind despite all the other music that’s going on in there.

Being in love with a tune (or several tunes) is a fortunate state to be in. Like being in love with anything or anybody, it tends to open us up.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Kef Times. Please be sure to spend a little time with the scholarship recipients’ stories; some of them are exceptionally vivid. We are greatly indebted to photographers Biz Hertzberg (Mendocino) and Margaret Loomis (Iroquois Springs) for the wealth of photographs they have made available from last summer’s workshops. And, whether you are attending Balkan camp this summer or not, may you find some tunes to love.

© 2014 East European Folklife Center