Location: Mexico City
Occupation: Kindergarten teacher
Connection to Balkan music/dance: As I work part-time in the morning and I have the rest of the day free, I am always creating things with people interested in Balkan music. Rehearsing new songs, studying styles, taking lessons, sharing materials, practicing and teaching classes. We have a small community interested in Balkan music here in Mexico City and other states such as Guadalajara, Tijuana, Querétaro… We try to gather and make things together when possible… take classes, make study circles, gigs among our groups, etc.
The projects I’m currently involved with are:
And I’m just starting a blog where I wrote about the camp and where I’m planning to write about Balkan-related topics for my community to read in Spanish: https://labalcatrina.wordpress.com
Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my very first time at camp and I’m afraid now I’ve become an addict!
Studied at camp: My main focus to study during camp was definitely the Balkan Brass Band. I’m a saxophonist totally fond of Balkan brass bands. I have been crazy about Macedonian saxophonists and that’s pretty much the style I listen to every day. This camp was a perfect chance for me to know about the Serbian style, since Demiran Ćerimović conducted this year’s brass band and I was also able to attend the Čoček Nation class where we prepared Serbian songs, and also (my beloved) Macedonian ones. As you can imagine, I couldn’t be happier from having the opportunity to learn more about Serbian brass band style.
Memorable moment at camp: It was definitely the love people showed me over there. As I was traveling from Mexico, I didn’t have a bedding set with me. My lovely roomies managed to create one for me with their own things. This warming welcoming was priceless. One of them, Natalie [Shear], even asked me if I had a raincoat with me and lent me hers. Every day and night I witnessed the kindness of this community. Many of them were worried about making me feel welcome, inviting me to do things and to share, teaching me the dances with patience. Like, for instance, when I told Matt Moran that I wanted to learn how to play tapan but I hadn’t been able to get the instrument and he offered to teach me after lunch with his; or the night my roomies offered a pedicure service to the girls and women at camp. It was awesome to see this kind of energy and love being shared. This community is just awesome! I have always thought that at the end of every trip or experience, what’s left in our heads and hearts is the connection we made with people of those places, and this is the exact example of this theory of mine.