Balkan Music &
Dance Workshops

Every summer the EEFC presents two week-long summer camps.

June 23 – 30, 2018
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August 4 – 11, 2018
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The EEFC is proud to partner with sister organizations, including the Bulgarian Folk Music & Dance Seminar.

Svetlana Spajić

Serbian Singing

Svetlana Spajić, a native of Loznica, Serbia, began performing publicly in 1993 with Paganke, as its youngest member. Paganke (The Pagan Women), was a pioneer Belgrade group formed in the 80s which preserved ancient Serbian a cappela village singing.

In the age of 24 Svetlana Spajic was chosen among five best voices of the Balkans and became a member of the First Inter-Balkan Traditional Orchestra founded in Thessaloniki in 1995 by Nikos Valkanos. As its youngest member Svetlana performed together with some of the greatest names of traditional music such as Yanka Rupkina from Bulgaria, Ihsan Ozgen and singer Gynul Akyz from Turkey, and Ksanthipi Karathanassi and Christos Zotos from Greece.

International release of Žegar Živi (produced by Andrew Cronshaw, Cloudvalley, 2008), an album of traditional songs which Svetlana Spajić recorded with the last authentic singers of the Serbian minority in Dalmatia (Croatia), was chosen among the fifteen best world albums in 2008 by the European Music Charts international jury. The album has been praised as the most significant project in the area of preservation of musical heritage in the territories of former Yugoslavia in the last decade, and has met with high critical acclaim in many British and European media.

Her project, the Svetlana Spajić Group, Serbian polyphony, includes three young singers from Belgrade (Minja Nikolić, Zorana Bantić and Dragana Tomić), with broad repertoire of the oldest Serbian songs with authentic vocal techniques, idioms and ornaments such as “cutting” singing from Bosnia, mountain shaking songs, groktalica, ganga, and tender ancient ballads from Eastern Serbia.

Svetlana performs and gives lectures in her country and abroad, teaches young groups and helps several old village singing groups. What is unique in Svetlana’s work is that she is perhaps the only singer of the younger generation who was mastered the Serbian spoken language and its numerous idioms and dialects, being recognized and accepted by the authentic village singers of the oldest generations. She will not sing any song nowadays without permission of the original singers. She is also deeply motivated to understand and convey when and where something is sung and why. “I was never told by my teachers, ‘You sing well…’ Such thing doesn’t exist in the ancient epic world. Either you testify to the truth or not.”

Svetlana performs and collaborates with some of the best traditional artists in Serbia. Since 1993 she has been singing with Bokan Stanković, a renowned Serbian multi-instrumentalist, singer and bagpipe player, mastering ancient na bas ballads from Eastern Serbia with him. Together they have visited many villages in Eastern Serbia singing, dancing, playing, and making friends with dozens of the best regional village singers.

Svetlana has collaborated and performed extensively in institutions and venues throughout Europe and in the U.S. In 2015 she founded and continues to direct the Belgrade-based Retnik festival, which connects traditional performers of the oldest and youngest generations.

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Click here to read more about Svetlana and her Group.

Class Description | Intermediate & Advanced Serbian Singing

  • Beginners are welcome. No previous singing experience is needed.
  • Repertoire will be taught by ear at a fairly rapid pace.
  • Schedule allowing, I’m available for additional instruction outside of class.
  • We will perform at the Student Concert.
  • We will collaborate with Shira Cion and members of Kitka.

Class topics will include:

  • Two-part singing in intervals of second from western and central Serbia (songs at slava, wedding songs, harvest songs, etc.)
  • Potresalica (“shaking song”) from western Bosnia
  • Groktalica from Dalmatia (included in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of the world)
  • Multi-part singing and stari glas (“old voice”) from Slavonia
  • Kantalica from the Drina river area
  • Ganga from eastern Herzegovina and old singing from Romanija mountain
  • Iz vika singing from southwestern Serbia (candidate for the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of the world)
  • Ballads “na bas” from Eastern Serbia
  • Singing “na bas” from Western Serbia
  • Unison singing from Kosovo and Metohija
  • Different forms of kolanje (singing in the ring dance) from the regions of Western Bosnia (krajishka kontra) and Slavonia (krivo kolo)