From the Editor

Hearing Each Other’s Voices

By Julie Lancaster, Winter 2021-22

As none of you need to be reminded, it’s been a weird time.

When our most recent issue came out, in June 2019, we didn’t know what the next two and a half years would bring. We found out.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought confusion, fear, loss, isolation, strife, creativity, humor, hope and more confusion to the world. (It did not bring a new issue of this publication . . . until now.)

Among the bright points, in our world of Balkan music and dance:

  • The EEFC’s online workshops and virtual camps, and online courses from organizations and individuals in various countries, allowed folks from anywhere to participate in Balkan music and dance and continue learning throughout the year.
  • Folk dance groups and teachers all over the world made it possible for people to socialize and dance “together” through Zoom.
  • Dancers and musicians from our community and the Balkans turned their creativity to creating performance videos, sharing online concerts and individual pieces that previously would only have been seen in their local communities or at kafana, or would never have been performed at all.

And then there’s individual practice. For me, going nowhere and having zero gigs for several months freed up time and helped me dive deeper into practicing. Some of my musical mates had a similar experience, developing elaborate technique-improvement strategies to amuse and challenge themselves. (Although another friend told me he hadn’t touched his instrument in almost 9 months; it was too depressing.)

Bottom line, though, Balkan music and dance is about community. As the EEFC prepares for a new year with plans for year-round online courses and the possibility of in-person workshops this summer, Kef Times offers another way to hear even more voices from our community.


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