Balkan Echoes

In 1966 Martin Koenig, ethnographer and Balkan dance specialist embarked on his first trip to the Balkans armed with a letter of introduction from the legendary anthropologist Margaret Mead. On that trip and many subsequent ones over a span of twenty-five years, Koenig– either alone or together with his colleague Ethel Raim – researched and documented traditional forms of music and dance in their original settings. Working in villages throughout the Balkans, he filmed traditional dances, recorded traditional music, and photographed the traditional cultures he encountered, which were on the cusp of profound change due to advances in technology, industrialization, globalization, and – eventually – a mass exodus of young people from villages into their nation’s cities, or even abroad.

In 2019, the exhibition Balkan Echoes was presented in Bulgaria’s National Gallery in Sofia. This exhibition now travels to Thessaloniki, Greece where it is presented to the Folklife and Ethnological Museum of Macedonia and Thrace, supplemented by extra slideshows with color photographs, audio recordings, and extracts from documentaries, along with additional images from Balkan immigrant communities in the United States.

Sachindara Navinna