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Music Bridges Cultures

As we have often heard, music transcends boundaries. I love watching anything accompanied by music. I particularly like musical competitions like the Voice. It has become my absolutely favorite show. Growing up in Serbia, I listened to pop music and sometimes their traditional (country) music, and a part of me still loves those sounds. I was young but I remember hearing music from other countries, especially the U.K. and United States. I also loved French, Italian, and Greek songs. As a seven year old, I remember singing immediately after waking up. It was my daily routine. My interest in music intensified when the most famous pop star (in former Yugoslavia) lived next to me. As a poor child, I saw her as the incarnation of beauty, talent, and kindness. When I moved to America and joined all of my Macedonian relatives, they thought me how to dance the circle dance (kolo), and I started appreciating traditional music more. I have remained open to all kinds of sound and listen to different genres, including world music.

For many years, my focus was not music, but education, family, career and my busy life. Once I began to renew my creative talents, my love for music returned. I dream of turning some of my poems into songs.

Recently, an interesting event occurred. In November, 2015, I received a 55” smart TV at the Ellen DeGeneres show, and it totally changed my husband’s and my entertainment habits. Every free moment, we turn on our smart TV and watch Serbian programs on YouTube.

One of our favorite shows is “Zvezde Granda.” Like American Idol or Voice, its goal is to pick the next singing sensation. About a year ago (in 2015) there were many talented people, but one of our favorites was Haris Berkovic. Both my husband and I were hoping that he would win, and he did. Haris is not only talented, but also a handsome, charismatic singer. To us, he is the best entertainer since Elvis! He sings from his soul.

Within minutes of hearing he was coming to Phoenix on a tour, I got concert tickets. The concert included two other singers, Aleksandra Mladenovic and Bubi. We knew of Aleksandra and Bubi because they competed on the show the year after Haris won, and we had cheered for them.

As you can imagine, the concert was incredible. I took my camera and my camcorder and until I ran out of batteries, I stayed right next to the stage photographing and taping. I did not get a chance to have a picture taken with Bubi, but I did get one with Aleksandra and Haris. Meeting them in person was very special.

Something funny happened while I was trying to get my photograph taken with Haris. My DSLR camera is easy to operate, but my husband has never used it. Once I took a picture of him and Haris, I gave him the camera but he couldn’t take the picture. After several tries while the line behind us kept growing, I panicked and asked if anyone knew how to use it. No one did. Everyone there were using cell phones. Finally, my husband started snapping shots…but most of them were of my back. I was very disappointed, but the excitement of being there kept me happy. I gave Haris my book for Rada (if you follow him you will know who this is). I was excited to share something I wrote with her. Later, Haris saw me by the stage with my camera and blew a kiss. It was great. Unfortunately, my filming skills failed and I did not catch the moment completely. All three singers gave a wonderful performance – the audience was on their feet dancing and singing. Now that was a truly entertaining event! Great job Haris, Aleksandra, and Bubi!

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