Saturday, 13 August 2016

13th August: Off to the music lesson in Kočani

Today I’m starting on an exciting musical venture, meeting a musician, a trumpet player from Kočani who will teach me some music and show me the town.

The day started by me winning a bet I had been running with Miki – he bet on the coach being empty, with three or less people travelling with me. I held 5 or more against it… In the end the whole coach was packed, not one free space !!! I documented this on video as proof, to collect my win of a burek in the best place of Skopje…

Elam Razidov had gotten in touch via facebook already a year ago. He thought I would be able to organise concerts for him and his orchestar in London. After realising this won't be the case, we settled on a lesson one day, when I would be in Macedonia. Due to language barriers the first 6 months of our communications were limited to ‘Zravo, kako si’ (Hi, how are you) until my Serbian improved.


Kočani is quite a modern town, not beautiful, but nice. I was picked up from the bus station, after waiting…waiting…waiting… 

We drove to his house up the hill, in the local Romani settlement. One could right away see, that here the Romani people were far better off then in Šutka. 

There were clear differences visible though of who had worked in the west (quite a few), who had a good job in Macedonia itself (few), or who was a musician in a recognized orchestar (the best houses!). Though from the outside, most houses looked half-built, from the inside all was very clean and tidy, and furnished fairly luxuriably in their own fashionable way.

His whole family was there when we arrived, wife, daughter, grand children. After the obligatory coffee, we started a very intense session of 5 hours, in which I learned a number of pieces. After we had gone through the first few moments, where Elam quickly made his judgement if I need to be put into the category of ‘stupid westerner mad for Balkan music but lacking any musical substance’ - I did (of course) land on the bright side of that, we had an intense session, where he taught me a few pieces, which I can share with my friends and in the west, but definitely not with any other Balkan musician, as those pieces are like a secret, they are holy, and exclusively for me and for the West ! 

learning 'Bolna Ležam' - by Elam Razidov

When I was offered a ‘light lunch’ of eggs, sausages, cheese, and even a proper salad, he drew the conversation to professional matters, and I received an ‘official’ invitation to play with his orchestar – brilliant, now I’m a member of two renowned Macedonian brass ensembles, I have never had those career opportunities in London ! In the upcoming few months I shall go to Pakistan, India, all over the Balkans and god knows where else.

One of the beauties of Romani culture is they have imagination, and they let their dreams become true in fantasy. So we are both well aware that this is never going to happen, but it is very enjoyable to run through those fantasies as if they would be true…

Elamoro - also by Elam Razidov, as the name says already...

After the session, we went into town for a coffee, and some ‘sight-seeing’. Not that there is much to see, all is quite modern and mostly well kept. 

I was brought back to the bus station, invited back for a longer stay in his house and so on and on… We will see, if this shall remain a part of the Romani-fantasy world of the 13th August 16, or if I will come back for a continuation of this venture in the in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment