Location: New York, N.Y.
Occupation: I’m a music producer, singer and arranger. I am also involved in creative arts therapy work as a certified sound and music practitioner and a performance wellness coach. Within my publishing company I coordinate music projects that are focused on traditional Croatian music, jazz or both.
Connection to Balkan music/dance: As a performing artist, and a born-and-raised Croat, most of the work I do revolves around my culture and its music.
Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my first time.
Studied at camp: I was primarily interested in exploring this community of musicians and seeing how my culture is being taught and represented in this part of the world. And I was, naturally, very curious about finding like-minded Croatian musicians.
Memorable moment at camp: As I prepared for this camp in my mind I was expecting to find a community of majority Balkan-born-and-raised people such as me, but soon after arriving, I was quite surprised and impressed to find that this culture is being cherished and treasured by people who have mainly spent time as visitors in the Balkans, at least in most cases. But among them I met so many young people, under 25, who were so sincere and passionate in their desire to know more about my culture and history, and this impressed me because it showed that they are not just fetishizing our Balkan culture, but are genuinely devoted and respectful of it as they study it and perform. The questions they asked me about my country were so smart and on point and revealing of their own generosity and love.
The most touching moment, or rather, MANY moments were those that I spent sharing thoughts and songs with the amazing Bosnian singer and accordion player Mensur Hatić and his wife Mediha, as we share the same bittersweet nostalgia and homesick feelings, which only music can heal.