2018 Workshop Photos – Iroquois Springs

Click on a photo to see a larger image and access a slide show.

All photos on this page are by Margaret Loomis.

See workshop photos from Mendocino.

2018 Workshop Photos – Mendocino

Click on a photo to see a larger image and access a slide show.

All photos on this page are by Biz Hertzberg.

See workshop photos from Iroquois Springs.

Iroquois Springs 2018: Emrah Yilgen

Emrah Yilgen

Location: Rutherford, N.J.

Occupation:  I am a student. I actually have a music composition degree in classical music as well as Turkish traditional music; now I am studying in preparation for adding another profession: computer science. I teach music part time: piano and saxophone. Sometimes I do promotional work.

Connection to Balkan music/dance: I always listened to Turkish and some Balkan music as a kid, but I’m trained in saxophone—classical and jazz. Now I attend as many Balkan music events as I can and I play with Raif Hyseni’s Balkan-Albanian student ensemble at Montclair State University. We just learned that we will have the opportunity to play in Kosova this summer! I also play with Matt Moran’s band that is mainly saxophones and drum, Mountain Lions.

Number of times to Balkan camp: This was my first time at camp.

Studied at camp: I studied mostly improvisation. I attended Adam Good’s makam  theory class. I knew the makams but hadn’t applied them to sax until recently. I also took Christos [Govetas’s] improvisation class; it was very helpful. I took Raif’s Albanian/Kosovar ensemble. I attended a couple of Nizo [Alimov]’s trumpet classes and brass band ensemble on other days.

Emrah Yilgen

Memorable moment at camp: I was struck by the people—how amazing they are, how welcoming, how helpful—despite their being so different ethnically and religiously and all that. Even though I’m from Turkey, before I attended the camp, my views about other cultures . . .  I knew about them, but as a Turkish person, we had a lot of issues with Bulgarians, Greeks, so many wars between us. When I first attended the camp, I thought that Greek people would be hanging out with Greek people, Bulgarian people with Bulgarian people, and so on. It was not like that at all. Also, that first night I didn’t have a blanket and on the second day, literally at least five people said, “You got cold last night. I’m going to get you a blanket.” That changed me in the way I think about life. It was a life-changing experience.

Iroquois Springs 2018: Tin Skorić

Tin Skorić

Location: New York, N.Y.

Occupation: I attend Brooklyn Technical High School, N.Y., as a student.

Connection to Balkan music/dance:  I come from a Balkan immigrant, ethnically and religiously mixed family. My dad’s family is from Livno, Bosnia; Slavonia; Vojvodina; and Romania; on my mom’s side I’m Albanian, Bosniak and Montenegrin. I’m proud of my diverse background, and like to talk with my peers about it. Mostly, people like to hear how this complexity enriches melodies, dances and people. So, generally, Balkan music and dancing is just a part of my life. My relatives are scattered around the world, so I don’t really get to see them often, although everyone plays or sings. But they are very far from NYC. People, peers and other campers are now a newly found family that likes my culture and heritage.

I am indebted to you for making it possible to study in classes, with lifelong friends, my age, experienced musicians and fabulous performers who are so kind and generous with their time. This year, I went to Kafana to volunteer, and to take part.

Tin Skorić

Number of times at Balkan camp: My first year at Balkan camp was in 2012 and I have been coming regularly part-time. Thank you so very much for making it possible for me to attend a full week of making Balkans music. It means the world to my family.

Studied at camp: My main focus to study at the camp was a Balkan, ethno-folk-orchestral-jazz as double bass player (8 years). I had a great time learning Greek dancing with Rena [Karyofyllidou], Serbian singing with Ljuba [Živkov], Bosnian singing with Mensur [Hatić], performed with Albanian ensemble, supported my friends in Čoček Nation, and learning to play doumbek in Polly [Tapia Ferber]’s class with friends from my cabin. I got to listen to famous musicians play, like, 24/7. Also, I met Melinda Russial, who kindly talked to me at length. Now, I check out some of those videos, and can hardly believe.

Tin Skorić

Memorable moment at camp: One of my most touching experiences at the camp, just like in years prior was, how kind and welcoming everyone was. Adam Good, Seido Salifoski, Merita Halili and other big-time musicians remembered my name. For instance, I was the youngest in the Albanian ensemble with director Raif Hyseni, and, early on I was a little nervous, especially in regard to my improvisation. I’m very grateful to Joe [Blumenthal], Raif, my peers who have helped me immensely over time, and thanks to the help and support of others in the group, I was able to play with confidence. It was exhilarating to perform with so many friends and musicians I now feel as my family. See you soon at the camp. In January, at the Golden Fest, I will play again with the same friends.

Tin Skorić

Iroquois Springs 2018: Matthew Schreiber

Matthew Schreiber

Location:  Rhinecliff, N.Y.

Occupation: I am a musician and doctoral student in ethnomusicology at the City University of New York.

Connection to Balkan music/dance: I play Balkan music with musicians in the Greater NYC area and in the Hudson Valley, where I live. I usually update my website with performances: matthewschreiber.net

Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my fourth time at Balkan camp since I first came in 2010.

Studied at camp: This year I focused on the oud and makam-based music.

Memorable moment at camp: I hope he doesn’t mind me relaying this story, but in Christos Govetas’ Greek singing class, he played the group a recording of a song at the end of class as people were packing up. It was about a shepherd whose sheep were roaming the hills but he was nowhere to be seen. As Christos described the meaning of the lyrics and revealed that the sheep were roaming the hills because the shepherd had died, he started to tear up, overwhelmed with emotion. That was a striking moment because it showed how deeply he feels the music and how important he felt it was to share that song with us. What a gift to be able to learn from musicians with not only an amazing sense of craft, but an intense emotional commitment to the music.

Iroquois Springs 2018: Hinako Sato (Stefni Agin Scholarship)

Hinako Sato

Location: Boston, Mass.

Occupation: I’m a multi-instrumentalist (primarily keyboard instruments) mainly working as a performer, piano accompanist, session musician, educator and events coordinator/curator.

Connection to Balkan music/dance: I have been a pianist for an international vocal ensemble called Women of the World, with whom I play various traditional and folkloric music from around the world, which naturally includes some pieces from the Balkan region. I have been playing with a couple of Turkish music groups in town. Now learning Balkan-style accordion, makam theory, and in the process of acquiring a gajda…

Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my very first time!

Studied at camp: To try and learn how to play Thracian Gajda, and to learn the Balkan-style accordion.

Memorable moment at camp: The euphoric feeling I got whenever I was dancing in circles while cheering for awesome music or whenever I was surrounded with new and amazing friends and teachers sharing so many laughter and delicious food/drinks, I will remember and carry with me dearly going forward. I am sincerely grateful to have found this incredible community of people with common threads!

Iroquois Springs 2018: Terra Nonack

Terra Nonack

Location: I currently reside in Pittsburgh, Pa., in Manchester’s North Side neighborhood.

Occupation: I have been taking care of my little ones at home for the past few years and in that time have re-immersed myself back into Eastern European folk music, particularly the tamburitzans.

Connection to Balkan music/dance: I grew up in a tamburitzans group in Southwestern Pa. and we focused on only Croatian music and dance. I was always very passionate about my heritage, the music, and folklore associate with it, but I also chose to do a lot of traveling later in life, not necessarily related to my Eastern European roots, and had stepped away from the music for several years for personal reasons. I am now in my second year as Assistant Music Director for the Trafford Junior Tamburitzans. We perform songs, music and dance from all of Eastern Europe, not only Croatia, and I knew I had a lot of catching up to do (and still do). My inspiration for wanting to attend Balkan camp this year was to expand and build my musical knowledge of all things Balkan and to bring that back to the kids I teach and the community I live in. Our group practices weekly and we perform several shows and venues throughout the year. We do our best to keep music and dance as close to original as possible, while injecting our own creativity.

Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my first time at camp.

Studied at camp: Coming into camp, I wanted to keep my options open as far as choosing classes. I wanted to get a well-rounded experience in dancing, singing and instruments, since our tamburitzans group does all three. I found myself being very attracted to the sounds that were coming from the Greek ensemble, so I jumped in with my tamburitza (prim). I also gravitated toward Albanian singing and makam theory, but also found myself sitting in on improvisation classes, Albanian dance, and more, and I loved it all. However, I would say I mostly focused on playing music.

Memorable moment at camp: After having some time to reflect on my experience, a few key moments stand out for me. Being invited to play with the tamburitza orchestra for the sing-along was special. I grew up with many of these old-time songs, listening to my grandpap and his friends play music on his porch while they drank his homemade moonshine. I had a strong feeling of nostalgia and pride at camp playing these songs; being one of the only members of my family keeping these traditions alive, it was a tear-jerking moment for me. Another fantastic moment was the Greek ensemble student performance. Again, being part of something bigger than myself, hearing the ensemble together and people dancing around and everyone enjoying themselves, is just a wonderful feeling. So many times at camp, I felt a sense of overwhelming happiness in being a part of it all. I was humbled to the core and could not have ever dreamed up the experiences I had there. A sincere THANK YOU to everyone at EEFC who makes Balkan camp possible and such a huge success.

Iroquois Springs 2018: Ariane Morin

Ariane Morin

Location: Montreal, Quebec

Occupation: I am working (at least trying to!) as a professional musician.

Connection to Balkan music/dance: I am an active saxophonist specializing in Balkan and Turkish music (and Klezmer). I have a few projects, my main ones being the Turkish-Bulgarian creative duo IHTIMANSKA and a Turkish trio/quartet LOTI.

Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my first time at Balkan camp.

Studied at camp: I was mostly taking instrumental class in my fields such as Bulgarian clarinet, Greek improvisation, brass band ensemble and Bulgarian kaval. But I explored some new ones as well, where I would drop in for a day with Bulgarian singing, Greek singing and tapan.

Memorable moment at camp: I was mostly impressed by the presence of so many passionate dancers, unlike other camps that are more focused on music. That was bringing a new depth and whole new experience to the music we were learning. And a great opportunity to do a few dances steps during the evenings made me definitely grow much more as a musician. I was also impressed by the advanced level of the attendees, some of them were absolutely amazing and it was great to be surrounded overall by so many inspiring musicians and dancers.

Iroquois Springs 2018: Nada Khodlova (Lillie Cooper Scholarship)

Nada Khodlova

Location:  Beacon, N.Y.

Occupation: Dance/Movement Psychotherapist; Herbalist

Connection to Balkan music/dance: I facilitate Women’s Ritual dance circles, Sacred Circle dance circles where I include Balkan music and circle dance. www.thedancingweb.com

Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my first time.

Studied at camp: Dance was my main focus—all types, with interest in singing, too.

Memorable moment at camp: I had many scenes and experiences that touched me and deeply impressed me:

Dancing a pravo during the second night of camp; two young girls were comfortably dancing freely in the middle as we spiraled in and out. They were dressed in their finest, happy and confident in their bodies and with each other. The lead was then given to a teenage girl who shyly, yet comfortably, took it. A few people down from me was a young woman on the autism spectrum who squealed on and off in pure joy and delight.Next to me, I was holding hands with my dancing “sister” Gwyn [Peterdi] and I was so struck by how perfect the world seemed at that moment; if only our world could be held and led like this by girls, by women, by those in touch with pure delight, who sensed and understood the safety, freedom, joy and power of a spiraling dance circle. May this manifest 1000-fold.

During the first few days I felt waves of touching and being a dream. It was a dream I don’t remember dreaming or felt I had dreamt a long time ago…maybe my ancestors’ dream? It wasn’t an extraordinary dream but one that held an extraordinary feeling of comfort and content. A dream of arriving into a reality of home that I never have experienced before.

A heavy rain fell as I comfortably lounged on our porch hammock. Next door Christos [Govetas] and some of his students were playing Greek music. My dear friend Indira [Skorić] brought me a glass of wine. The sound of rain, the delicious playing next door. What bliss!

Going to sleep and waking to not thoughts in my head but music that had become a part of me.

Iroquois Springs 2018: Ani Garaventa

Ani Garaventa

Location: Oakland, Calif.

Occupation: Restaurant

Connection to Balkan music/dance: I’m from Bulgaria, so I grew up immersed in Balkan music and culture. There are also a lot of Balkan music events in the Bay Area so there are lots of opportunities for me to be around live music and dancing.

Number of times at Balkan camp: This was my second time at East Coast camp. I am a lifetime West Coaster.

Studied at camp: My main focus was to play the trumpet, which I did in Nizo Alimov’s class. I also didn’t know until getting to camp that the Bulgarians did a class for youth teaching the traditional Bulgarian instruments, which I went to. It was a really amazing class to be a part of.

Memorable moment at camp: One really cool thing that East Coast camp does that Mendocino doesn’t, is the grill. On any given night there would be spontaneous music and things that happened. One night there was a rebetika jam, which was awesome, and the blender bands were super fun to see. (I didn’t even know this was a thing.)

A lot of nights I found myself bouncing back and forth from inside the kafana to the grill.

Another really cool experience was listening and dancing to Zlatne Uste and Nizo Alimov in the dance hall. I came to learn trumpet, and to see him with the rest of the band playing live was really amazing.