Location: Santa Fe, N.M.
Occupation: I work at an art gallery and also teach art to preschoolers once a week
Connection to Balkan music/dance: I’m a member of Sevda Choir. We’re a group of about 14 people and meet every Sunday from 4 to 6. We’ve had several concerts since our group formed about three years ago and mostly perform at the San Miguel Mission in Santa Fe.
Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my second year!
Studied at camp: Serbian singing with Svetlana Spajić and Albanian singing with Merita Halili.
Memorable moment at camp: One scene or experience?! There are so many! Possibly my favorite was after our Serbian singing class performed, a few people came up to me and said, “Wow, I had never heard you sing before. You sounded great!” I felt so grateful that this time around at camp, I became more a part of the creative community and my singing was heard and seen by others who loved it!
There were moments in Svetlana’s class which still stick with me. One time she stopped me mid-singing, and told me to move around the space to become more comfortable, take a few seconds if I need it, look at a fellow singer in the choir for information (aka Bluetooth transmission as she would call it, we had just learned the songs and weren't using notation), and then trust that I knew what to sing and do it! It was a powerful experience. One of the takeaways was realizing that the most important thing for a voice to come across as authentic, is to be grounded, connected to the place and especially connected to the other people you are singing with, and singing for.
I LOVED camp. There were so many wonderful, creative and supportive people.