Synopses & Reviews
A stunningly-illustrated interweaving of first person narratives, photographs, cultural commentary and soundscapes, Bright Balkan Morning provides an unprecedented view of settled Romani lives in the Balkans and the unique roles of "Gypsy" instrument players in the region. These Romani instrumentalists from Iraklia, an ancient Greek Macedonian crossroads and market town that is home to about 2,000 Roma, provide the sounds that facilitate parties and rites of passage, performing an essential and highly valued service for their multicultural neighbors.
At the heart of the book are ten first-person Romani life stories. Charles and Angeliki Keil situate these personal accounts within the cultural, historical and economic setting of Greek Macedonia, and provide an overview of musical events in diverse localities. The 161 black and white photographs by Dick Blau include parades, parties, weddings and wrestling matches; portraits of the musicians and their families; studies of domestic life in the Romani neighborhood; reproductions from Romani family albums and other historic images. Steven Feld's soundscape CD features the voices and instruments of people whose stories are told in the book. Familiar sounds of markets, church, neighborhood and countryside set the context for exuberant performances at home and at parties, cafes and nightclubs.
...his best so far...it's a beautiful and important work recommended to anyone who cares about how ordinary outsiders get by and get over in a world economy of rampaging corporations and embattled nation states
. Robert Christgau, Los Angeles Times
A celebration of settled Gypsies and music-dance in Greek Macedonia.
About the Author
The authors have worked together on a variety of projects, including Polka Happiness (1992) , co-authored by Dick Blau and the Keils. Dick Blau is Professor of Film at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Charles Keil is author of Urban Blues (1966) and Tiv Song (1979) , and co-author (with Steven Feld) of Music Grooves (1994) . Angeliki Vellou Keil is the compiler/editor of the Autobiography of Marcos Vamvakaris (1973) . Steven Feld is Professor of Music and Anthropology at Columbia University. His sound recordings include Voices of the Rainforest (1991) and Bosavi: Rainforest Music from Papua New Guinea (2001) . Papua New Guinea (2001). His newest recording, Bells & WinterFestivals of Greek Macedonia (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings) , is a perfect accompaniment to Bright Balkan Morning. Ian Hancock is Professor of Linguistics, Asian Studies and English, and Director of the Romani Archives and Documentation Center, at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also Romani representative member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.