Beautiful Montenegrin — Breakthrough Artist of the Year

My friend in Belgrade, Nada, sent me this link.  It’s a documentary about a young classical guitarist from Montenegro.  Nada told me something that changed the way I felt about classical music.  In talking, I realized that she feels the same way about American music as I feel about “Classical” music.

It’s always irritated me that this music, that has nothing to do with the Americas, is defined as the “classic” “definitive” music.  You’ll still hear people say that only opera singers are ‘really’ singing.


But she feels the way Emir Kosturica feels, criticizing Balkan young people for following American musical forms as if they’re superior and willingly consenting to their own colonization by the West, being culturally co-opted by a superpower.  He calls it ‘idiotization.’

His music is interesting.  You’re at a rock concert, but the instruments and the form are distinctly southern European.  There’s a clarity of identity.   He himself embodies the persona of a social critic and cultural radical.

We’ve come full circle and I wonder how many Americans are willing to take in the perspective that sees the American musical forms, which to a large extent are Black American musical forms, as the instrument of imperialists, overwhelming and intimidating the cultures of others, quite often by unimaginable force.   A rather mind-blowing concept that probably irritates many, but the forces at work are real and readily very violent.

Culturally arrogant Imperialism is what Classical music has always represented to me.  Those arrogant Europeans who think they define what’s what.  So, anyway, when I stop calling it Classical music, and instead call it European music, it sounds way different and I like it a lot better.

This beautiful young man has a modesty  that makes him all the more beauitful.  Like, he’s glad his looks make it easier for people to enjoy his music, but he’s the kind of person who’s much more interested in seeing than being seen.

Another musical phenomenon is Goran Bregovic.  I came across this piece in the background of a youtube video of a tour of the Kordun, the now-empty Serbian ghetto in Croatia.  It’s a beautiful Piedmont filled with empty farms, empty houses and family plots with dozens of headstones 20 years old.



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