UMD Hosts Discussion with Balkan Echoes’ Martin Koenig

On April 10, 2014, at the UMD office in Washington, D.C., UMD hosted a discussion with nationally recognized dancer ethnographer, cultural specialist, and co-founder of New York City’s Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Martin Koenig, from Seattle. Koenig spoke about a special project “Balkan Echoes: Music from Macedonia: A Recording Partnership with Smithsonian Folkways.”

To learn more about the project and hear samples of the music, you can click here.

The website was designed by UMD’s Seattle representative Gjorgji Gjorgjievski.

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, has agreed to produce a high quality recording featuring outstanding examples of traditional music collected in Macedonia in 1968 and 1973 by Martin Koenig who runs Seattle-based Balkan Echoes. This is the first-ever Macedonian project undertaken by the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, which is dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increasing “understanding among peoples through documentation, preservation, and dissemination of sound.”

In the time period when these recordings were made, it was rare to be able to bring a professional recording engineer into the field with high quality recording equipment to record traditional musicians. But this was exactly what Martin Koenig did.

The CD, which will be titled “Balkan Echoes: Music From Macedonia: A Recording Partnership with Smithsonian Folkways,” will not only preserve the wonderful past of Macedonia, but will also help bring Macedonian folk music to the present for people of all ages and ethnicities to enjoy. These recordings will represent “zurli-tapan,” which features vocal music from rural communities and “calgija,” which features local songs in local languages.

The CD will also be accompanied with a booklet containing interpretive notes and photographs of the Macedonian people whose legacy is contained in the songs highlighted in the recordings.

$48,250 has been raised for the project; $23,299 remains to be raised for a total budget of $71,549. A very generous member of UMD, who would like to remain anonymous, has pledged to match up to $12,000 in donations for the project made between now and May 1st.

We hope you can help us raise this amount, so that Macedonian music will enter the catalogue, and archives of the Smithsonian for generations to come. You cannot ask for better promotion than this for the Macedonian heritage.

We thank you for all the support you have given to UMD over the years, and we realize that, without your help, projects such as this would not be possible.

Donors of $250 or more will have their name(s) listed in the accompanying booklet that will be issued and distributed by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings electronically and will also receive a signed, limited edition CD.

For U.S., Australian, European-based donations, please use

For Canadian-based donors, please use

All donations made from Canadian and U.S. donors will be tax-deductible.

Your donation, of any amount, today will go a long way to help preserve and promote Macedonian music for generations to come.

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