Festival: Princetonograd

Orkestar Slivovica performs traditional wedding music and songs from Serbia, Macedonia and other Balkan countries.

Orkestar Slivovica will be appearing at this year’s Festival.

Orkestar Slivovica will be appearing at this year’s Festival.

This is the third in a series of stories about some of the performers appearing at the Princeton Traditional Music Festival.  The Festival begins on the evening of Friday, August 17 with the opening ceremony followed by a country-dance on Veterans’ Way beside the Legion.  The dance will feature a live band with fiddle, guitar and concertina.  Everyone is welcome. There will be a caller to teach the dances so no experience is necessary and people don’t even need to bring a partner.  On Saturday and Sunday there will be music from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on two stages – one on Veteran’s Square and one in front of the Museum.

People who came to the 2010 Princeton Traditional Music Festival might remember a loud, in-your-face, wildly dressed street band with trumpets, saxophones, accordions, drums and bombastic singers. They finished the Festival by marching through the streets of town followed by an enthusiastic crowd of people wiggling their hips, waving their arms and jumping up and down. The group’s name is Orkestar Slivovica and they will be delighting audiences at the Festival again this year.

Orkestar Slivovica performs traditional wedding music and songs from Serbia, Macedonia and other Balkan countries. Their music is a combination of Turkish rhythms and scales and complex western melodic lines, packaged with a strong Roma (“Gypsy”) influence. The result is high-energy, infectious and very danceable music, like nothing else in the world!

Just below Serbia and Macedonia is the little country of Albania, which until 1990, was almost hidden from the world, suffering under the totalitarian rule of Enver Hoxha. Since then many Albanians were free to emigrate to Canada, one of whom is Ben Meti, an extraordinary accordion player who will be appearing at this year’s Festival. Ben plays the accordion in the passionate and heavily ornamented style of his native Albania. He plays tunes from his homeland as well as melodies from other Balkan cultures and other parts of the world.

These are just two of the ‘Princetonograd” performing groups appearing at this year’s Festival, and the best thing about it is it’s free!

The reason it’s free is because it’s run entirely by volunteers and the performers are donating their talents.  To make the festival a success the organizers will need lots of volunteers.  If you’d like to get involved, please contact them.  Even if you have only a couple of hours available your help would be most welcome.  Give them a call and they’ll welcome you aboard. To find out more visit the Festival’s webblog at princetonfestival.org or give Jon and Rika a call at 295-6010