On October 12, 2012, anthropologist Carol Silverman and saxophonist Yuri Yunakov will lead a lecture/demonstration with members of Yunakov’s ensemble from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm in Old Cabell Hall Room B18. Silverman, Professor and the Head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oregon, is worldwide one of the leading authorities on Romani music and culture. Romani (Gypsy) saxophonist Yuri Yunakov will be spending a residency at UVA that will conclude with a concert in Old Cabell Hall Auditorium at 8 pm. The residency was enabled with a generous grant from the UVA Arts Council, with supplemental sponsorship from the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES), the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, the American Studies Program, the Department of Anthropology, and the Dunton Gift. Admission is free and open to the public.
Carol Silverman will deliver a colloquium address, “Global Gypsy: Romani Music, Representation and Appropriation,” on Friday, October 12 from 3:30-5:00 pm in Old Cabell Hall Room 107. Focusing on the Balkans, her research investigates the relationships among culture, music, politics, ethnicity, ritual, and gender. She draws from the disciplines of cultural anthropology, folklore, and ethnomusicology, and her ethnographic perspective encompasses her own role as a performer. Her book, Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora (Oxford, 2012). In it, she analyzes how Roma have forged a nuanced identity in Macedonia and Bulgaria and in re-diasporic spaces in North America. Her research has been supported by NEH, IREX, ACLS, Fulbright, and Guggenheim.
Bulgarian-born Yunakov, who now lives in New York, became the first Romani winner of the prestigious NEA National Heritage Fellowship Award in 2011, our nation’s highest honor for traditional folk artists. Yunakov is a compelling musician credited with popularizing the saxophone throughout the Balkans. He came to prominence as a member of Bulgarian Romani clarinetist Ivo Papasov’s pioneering Trakija Ensemble, which is credited with having created the genre known as Bulgarian Wedding Music, a Romani style with strong jazz influences. The music had a huge impact in world music spheres in the late 1980s and early 1990s that continues to resonate today. The style is characterized by technical virtuosity and improvisation in rapid, asymmetrical and often abruptly shifting rhythmic meters. Since emigrating to the US, Yunakov has led his own ensemble, sometimes collaborating with Papasov, and has several albums on the Traditional Crossroads label.