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Scholarship Recipients

Mendocino 2015: Shireen Nabatian

By Shireen Nabatian, Winter 2015-16
Shireen Nabatian

Shireen Nabatian

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Occupation: I manage a whole bunch of projects that are generally related to community-building, in the areas of public relations, collective housing and property management. At the moment I’m general contracting a full renovation of a large character house, retaining the 100-year-old heritage of the building while updating all the guts and making it beautiful for a shared living environment for my awesome friends!

Connection to Balkan music/dance: I sing and play the violin. I play in three Balkan music bands ranging from pan-Balkan folk repertoire for folk dancers and discerning Greek restaurant-goers (Grupa Dunbarov), to Serbian ethno-rock (Byzantine Blue) and female vocal ensemble Zlatna Pesna.

Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my third camp.

Studied at camp: Turkish singing class, maqam.

Memorable moment at camp: My camp experience this year was predictably AMAZING! My biggest learning curve was Beth [Cohen͛]s maqam class. My strongest impression that I did not foresee was Brenna [MacCrimmon͛]s Turkish singing class. I have always meant to take a musical journey back to my Persian roots. The joke is that I have made a very long stop in the Balkans, but I think deep down I have also felt a personal obstacle to embracing this tradition because of my own complicated family history. Brenna’s class inspired me so much to pick up the thread of Persian folk music again. I told her about this epiphany on the last evening and we shared a couple tears brought on by the power of this beautiful music that we are all custodians of. Amazingly, only one day after camp, the universe supported me as my brother dug up his old setar from his basement storage and loaned it to me on the condition that I actually learn to play it lest he take it back.

I have now had a couple setar lessons and I love it so much! The Turkish music and theory that I learned at camp has opened up a new musical world for me. I feel so enriched, and excited about continuing my studies in Balkan music and now by the opportunity to complement it with a deeper understanding of Middle Eastern and Persian music.

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