Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Three in One - The Language of Bosnia

Today I read over at Radio Sarajevo  that the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo  has found all three 'dialects' of Bosnia -  Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian - derive from one single dialect. I tweeted this after I read it  out of amazement and irony, more than anything else .  Everyone (who has any interest in linguistics and in Bosnia) knows that this is nothing new. There is a language; it is called Serbo-Croatian and everyone in the ex-Yugoslavia, including Bosnia speaks it.

At the end of the day I was reviewing my Twitter feed and randomly ended up at East Journal, an Italian online forum for Politics and Culture.  Which is when I found yet again a reference in video form to this line of discussion. This kind of talk makes me angry.

The docu/video I saw is good. It's called 'Babel' and is about 25 minutes long. It talks about this new/old phenomena of exclusion based on linguistics which has been used since the war to exclude and belittle some part of the population. Today, it seems like it is working. The  film elucidates the absurdity of indulging such politics in a already ruined country that can not afford, in any case, to take any more division, on any level. (my words)

I guess the subject was a sort of mini trend today and naturally, I find it disturbing and heartbreaking.

In an indulgent moment I wondered if I lived there (which I do not and will not in the future)  where would I need to send my daughter to school? She would be segregated no doubt, but on what basis. Or rather, on what basis that would make sense?

She is half Catholic, half Muslim.
She is half Bosnian Croat, half Bosniak
She is American Bosnian
She is Bosnian American
What (!) is she?

If we lived in 'Croatian Bosnia' (and where is that exactly?) and she learned a Croatian Bosnian dialect would she be allowed to go to 'Croatian' school even though one of her parents is categorized by census as Muslim?

How would we seriously work it out? Is she to be cut in half?

I would like to see politicians and grassroots activism move on getting people enough food to eat, some sort of pensions, health care especially for the young & the elders. How about mental health care for those 20 years later still shivering from the trauma? What about figuring how to give work to all those able bodied humans who want to work? Oh and  justice...

No. There is no room for that. What is important is dialects and division.

Crazy making.

I hear Tea Turalija, who to my knowledge is a very bright and ambitious woman from predominantly Catholic Kupres, says to the camera ' everything matters..' as she bemoans generations of maltreatment through linguicide. Of course everything matters especially if there is no forgetting every single thing ever done in the history of history. Ever.

Which naturally leads to no forgiving. A tit for a tat. Ancient tribal creed. Which logically leads to hate, movement towards peace.

There is no one that has escaped some form of brutality, past or present, in Bosnia. At any given time it is certainly easy for the politics of hate to foster division.  Someone will gain power.  Sadly, the people seem to go blindly and talk in a puffed up manner, thinking they will be safe.

Doesn't anyone want to stop that old hate train?

Of the high moral values professed by the blessed and the faithful of Bosnia's churches, wouldn't it be natural to extend the love instead of spread the disease?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Herbs Heal You

Here is an amazing piece of antique history in a painting..

I saw this on Casa de Cura - Rituals, Remedies and Culture of Sicily & the  Mediterranean which is a very informative website written with dedication by Cristala Mussato-Allen. She writes about her mother's Albanian/Sicilian roots as well as her fathers Caddo (Spanish) traditions of healing. Quite a fascinating person, I think.

I am so often brought back to my Bosnian Grandmother and her herbal tradition.  As a child when we lived with her I saw all manner of healing in our house, I just never knew it. Baka brought her knowledge with her to Germany from Bosnia during the war and I know she used it all the time. It is indeed amazing how subtly our elder mothers and aunties, neighbors and local healing women show us the way with natural remedies. In Bosnia, like in most ancient countries, Folk Medicine is a practice that is used and respected.  Grandmother learned from her Bosnia born mother Anna but she also schooled in Vitez with the nuns, who kept a large garden for that purpose. My Baka did not think of her talent as anything special, quite the contrary it came natural to her. She said God gave us flowers, herbs and nature to use so we could clean ourselves of disease while also nourishing our bodies.

Paula Welte Melinc
She did what almost every Bosnian woman in those days and still sometimes today do to keep her family healthy. Grandmother used modern medications very, very sparingly.

Healing can be traced in so many families in every culture. That is why I am posting about Casa de Cura and Cristala. She picked up on the Albanian/Sicilian connection and that is so fascinating to me.

Growing up, a child might not even know she is being schooled in the healing arts. I made fun of my Baka with all her drying herbs on every imaginable counter and tinctures in the secret cabinet in the kitchen all the time.  Until I was sick. Then, she was the wonderful 'goddess of the cures' and not my eccentric grandma. I'm happy now I learned from her and keep a candle burning in honor of her soul and her knowledge.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Story of Love

And for Valentine's Day, I have the most beautiful story for you. Related by Gular Orgun, in a lovely little film by the same about her multi cultural family heritage. These kind of stories make my heart beat faster and with happiness, because I have always been proud of my family heritage & marriages -  cross cultured and tolerant.  It is my pleasure to relate the creativity of others & share that point of view.

Here is -  "A Turkish-Jewish-Muslim Tale:

                                     film is 18 minutes long w subtittles

Enjoy and leave your comments below, I would love to start a dialogue here.

Please also visit Tara Agacyak's website  where she relates her own multi cultural marriage and how this expanded her world view in so many positive ways and then go over to GlobalNiche where good discussion is up about the same.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Italian Canzone

In the high days of Queen, those gorgeous paraders of the World stage, Italy unveiled it's new wave of poets, skinny and talented young men and women singing about passion, love - found & lost. 

Don Backy

That's when, in my teens, I moved there with my family to a small seaside tourist town on the Tyrrhenian Sea.  Exposed to this glittering array of young Italian pop talents on the radio & in the dance clubs I, along with the rest of the country, fell in love.  On Sunday afternoons teenagers could go to the Discotheques and dance from 4-10 unaccompanied. Mostly they played American and English songs, Rolling Stones and Donna Summer but just as often, especially in the less sophisticated halls, the Italians like Celentano and folk hero, Fabarizio D'Andre.  Most beloved were the two Lucio's - Lucio Battisti and Lucio Dalla, unbelievable talents and captivating guides into the dreams of romance and poetic meaning, especially for blossoming fanciulle. They were two of my favorites. The top of the line was the music written and produced by lyricist Mogol and the inimitable singer Battisti and their hits permeated all of cool Italy from beach side cafe in Castiglioncello to the late night club scenes in Milano.

The video above though, is an iconic song from a singer songwriter who was part of the Celentao clan in the 60's, years before. Overshadowed by the egregious Mr. Celentano, he never quite recovered or became as famous as his contemporary.

His name is Don Backy. I heard his voice one afternoon on the radio, while  driving down the Aurelia at breakneck speed in a frightfully small car and was immediately consumed by the Italian melancholia bug. Stars in the eyes kind of thing.

 I was already hopelessly in love just as a matter of existence, Italy just pushed me over the precipice, thank god .

 So a few days ago I finally saw a picture of him. He was quite handsome of course, which I had suspected all along, otherwise I wouldn't have remotely considered our marriage in such detail in my adolescent dreams

In the Stone Age, before smart phones and the internet, they had little devices called cassettes the cover for which were printed on two sides. Apparently it was preferable to put scantily clad women on the front. Presumably it sold the music better. Never saw the face, only heard the voice and the poetry it so sweetly produced. So, me and my ratty little cassette, with boobs on the cover, that I was on occasion able to listen to in someone's car, created a world of drama & longing. Honestly, it seemed that everyone was in love in those days.

There was an aura of romance mixed with prosperity, not to mention sex and kind of a chivalrous vibe at that time in Italy, that was defined by the Italian love song.  It was a bit of a cocoon, I realize now. Many other things were going on: political unrest, Brigate Rosse.  But these things were the dark corners of an otherwise lyrical post-card pretty explosion. Those who lived it know my meaning. At that time Italy and Italians were sexy, at least for most of the world, if a bit over the top for Waspy Americans, who called them names in that deprecating manner that winners of war often do. No matter. There was no lack of charm & fun.

Returning to Don Backy. Bit of a silly name really. So, Italian though. Real name is Aldo Caputo, born in a town not too far from where I lived then. Exceptional, if nothing else by the number of artists who recorded the songs he wrote and then became famous. I'm thinking of the translations to something like 'Canzone'  and realize it might sound  too syrupy to the English ear ...

Nel più bel sogno, ci sei solamente tu                     In the most beautiful of dreams, only you exist
sei come un'ombra che non tornerà mai più             You are like a shadow that will never return
tristi sono le rondini nel cielo                     The Swallows are flying through the sky in sadness
mentre vanno verso il mare                                     As they make their way towards the Sea
é la fine di un amore                                               It's the end of our love

..but it was truly the height of sophisticated music story telling.

 I learned how to look at love, how to see beyond the horizon, how to dream, with those songs. It's true, they are outdated  listening to them now, but the memories of cold, winter beach days, my mind free to invent, - the smell of sea and salt, the promise of summer, -  figuring out all that love stuff....that just never gets old.

PS - Here is Adriano Celentano, at the famous Festival di San Remo competition, singing Backy's song. He went on to become famous world wide with his cocky grin and daddy-o swagger. Probably much better suited to fame than the seemingly sensitive soul he might have had a hand in suppressing  Maybe that's just conjecture from gossips, I'm not sure. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Street Art and the MOP

Ernest Pignon-Ernest is French. He is an artist who photographs and creates street art. I think he is fabulous and just gotten to know him recently. I especially adore this work in Naples, one of my favorite cities. I love the way he has combined the street songs of the old women with the sounds of daily life - brings me back to Naples in a heartbeat, one of the most beautiful gritty, dirty, holy places in Europe.

Ernest Pignon-Ernest
EpE says this about his work,  'The aim of the insertion (picture) is both to make the place into a visual space and to work on it's memories, to reveal, disrupt and heighten it's symbolism'. Beautiful words.

With the Month of Photography coming up and specifically The Big Picture these words are very appropriate. MOP is when Mark Sink and his glorious gang wheat paste up not only Denver walls and streets but also connect all over the world with a devious plan to beautify it all. Gorgeous images in black and white will start to appear in Europe, Russia, who knows where else...Exciting stuff.

Mark Sink 
I think it's really interesting to look at this French artist, relatively unknown in the English speaking world, who has been doing this type of street art for decades. I like to imagine the progression of artists he might have inspired all these years. In fact there is a book out with the title "Before Banksy: Ernest Pignon-Ernest".

It's fascinating to read the concept, politics, history behind the art form.

What I know: This is what art can do and does. Inspire.

Personally, I am equally inspired by our Denver scene.

Coming soon. MOP

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Nesting with Flowers

Osmia Avosetta. What an extraordinary name. It shines with mystery and beauty. Ani is lucky I hadn't heard the name at the time of her birth, I would have probably fit it in her litany of names somehow. Can you imagine being born into a 'womb' of flower petals? When I started reading about them last month I became so excited at my discovery. Bees are a  part of my project at the Pezic farm in BiH but I had never heard of these before.

The American Museum of Natural History research site says that they were just recently discovered, strangely enough on the same day by two different researchers in Turkey and Iran. Bees that nest in PETALS. Facinating.

I promptly revised history and told my children that when they were born it was from a womb of beautiful, colored petals.

They nodded and then looked at each other.

'Pretty soon she will be wearing lamp shades with her pearls' they telepathically said to each other.
Darlings that they are however, they allowed me my moment of extravagance and shut up.

Solitary bees that build nests with flower petals.

Female, solitary and extravagantly colorful.

Et voila - as soon as I heard it a path emerged in front of me and I knew I had my New Years' theme.  Specifically with my Muse I've been working on an ongoing photo project in tune with bee moms' channel of love, her magical birthing canals. The results are unusual and stunning.

Because of their nesting habits  National Geographic calls them Flower-Mud Sandwiches. Which is funny but translates into interesting ideas for decoration.
At the jewelry bench then, the SilvanaMondo Osmia Collection has it's first marvelous ring in the works in fine Silver and Enamel.

I'm crazy about them.