Sarajevo (again): Cossack choir
Just before midnight on the 28th/29th, a second free concert began, this one on the Latin Bridge. It was part of Sarajevo's "Heart of Europe" celebration, with several musical (and one theatrical) groups performing. Programs were hard to come by (as in general for the centennial), so I don't know who this Cossack group is. Any help on identifying them would be most appreciated.
Sarajevo: 100 Years Later
It's been a busy, long-awaited day for me--and nothing has turned out as expected. Partly because preparations for the centennial have not been well coordinated--perhaps because, while everyone considers the centennial worth commemorating, there are so many different takes on it--should we blame the assassin for WWI, or the Austrians, the Germans? Peace groups have arranged some events, the city of Sarajevo others, the East-West forum here in Sarajevo others. Karl von Habsburg, the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian dynasty, spoke briefly last night from the bridge closest to the spot of the assassination--and that (as best I've been able to determine) amidst various sound checks for tonight's musical performances at the Latin Bridge. In the picture at left, a member of a peace organization places a wreath at the spot from which Gavrilo Princip fired the fatal shots.
A hundred or so visitors gathered at the site of the assassination around 10 AM, the approximate time of the assassination, to...? No ceremony, but there was a car identical to the one used by Francis Ferdinand and his wife on their visit. The actual vehicle is in the Historical Museum in Vienna. A number of bystanders complained that that one should have been on display; other commented that Vienna no longer has much love for the Habsburgs and that the arrangements would have been difficult and expensive--so it goes for controversial history. So, as if expecting ceremonies that were never in the plans, people stood around and improvised, taking selfies in front of the car and commenting on the lack of organization. A young couple appeared as the archduke and his wife (below) while a man in a modern Austrian uniform stood on the riding board as if protecting them with his body (somewhat true to history).
Tomorrow, June 28, will be the hundredth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Disagreement among Bosnians and Serbs about how to commemorate the event (the latter tend to regard the assassin, Gavrilo Princip, as a hero) has discouraged participation from major heads of state, who prefer to avoid the controversy. Although I've been planning this trip for over a year, I've found it difficult to get specific information on centennial events.
Now that I'm here, I can offer something in the way of preparations. Hence, the following pics...
It's a tradition in Slovakia, not just Hungary. Since I lived in Martin, SK over
20 years ago, I've visited the choir many times, but this is the first time I've
been back for a goulash party, the sort of gathering that served as my goodbye
after a year of singing with them back in 1992. The weather this time was cool
for the first day of spring, but despite threatening skies, only a few
drops fell on us.
Much of the membership has changed: the current director is a Lutheran pastor whose husband, also a pastor, is playing the gajdy or Slovak bagpipes in this
clip. The bearded guy with the hat is Laco, the owner of the cottage, a good buddy who's been active in the choir since well before I joined in 1991.
Mark in front of St. Mark's. This is from a trip with the Slovak chorus Hron in spring 1995. We sang as part of an exchange with an Italian choir in Trent, then visited another group in Croatia, stopping in Venice on the way. That trip is the source of the map on my homepage and in the first blog post at the bottom of this page. I'll be making a similar solo journey starting next week, including a goulash party/reunion with another chorus I sang in and other contacts with old musician friends. Updates coming!
Musical & Literary Wanderings of a Galloping Gypsy
Mark Eliot Nuckols is a travel writer from Silver Beach Virginia who is also a musician and teacher.