Those who’ve been attending Balkan camp for a while can see evidence of time passing—this kid’s grown up while we weren’t looking, that one has children of her own now, this one’s head is greyer, that one’s eyes twinkle from nests of more wrinkles. As for influence from the bustling outside world, there’s more digital equipment on hand than there was even a few years ago, and new flavors of music can be heard in the kafana along with old favorites.
But from another perspective, the Workshops are surprisingly timeless. A lot of what goes on is pretty much what’s been going on since the camps started in the 1970s: interested students and talented teachers get together, often in nature, and work on esoteric styles of folk music and dance. (Okay, and eat and talk.) Is Balkan camp timeless because it extracts us from our daily tasks and plunges us into a zone of learning . . . practice . . . fascination . . . even, if we’re lucky, falling in love with a particular tune? Is it timeless because spending so much time with wonderful music over the course of a week, in a sleep-deprived state, cracks open something deep inside us? Or perhaps time boundaries blur as you struggle with the same instrument problems that, say, an 18th-century peasant faced.
Whatever is the reason, timelessness is a good thing when it comes to this issue of Kef Times. In a perfect world, this issue would contain workshop photos and scholarship reports from the workshops that just took place this summer. But it’s not a perfect world, and this issue instead contains workshop photos and scholarship reports from 2017.
Fortunately, however, since Balkan camp is a timeless realm, those photos and reports tell as fresh and touching a story about the workshops as ever.
We’re also happy to present an article we’ve wanted to do for a long time: a profile of camp bassist Paul Brown.
Many thanks to all who contributed to this issue, especially our scholarship students, many of whom wrote lovely, heartfelt vignettes; contributing CD reviewer Joan
Those who’ve been attending Balkan camp for a while can see evidence of time passing—this kid’s grown up while we weren’t looking, that one has children of her own now, this one’s head is greyer, that one’s eyes twinkle from nests of more wrinkles. . . . But from another perspective, the Workshops are surprisingly timeless.
Friedberg; and photographers Ira Gessel, Biz Hertzberg, Bill Lanphier, Margaret Loomis and Sandy Ward.