Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
April 19, 1994
Balkan String Band To Perform
The American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress will present Sviraj, a traditional tamburitza string band playing music from the balkans in the second free, outdoor concert of the Neptune Plaza Concert Series on Thursday, May 19 from noon - 1 p.m. on the west front steps of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. The event is free and open to the public.
Sviraj is a group of ethnic Balkan musicians who preserve their heritage through performances that celebrate the music of Eastern Europe. Sviraj means play in Serbo-Croatian and the group performs a music that evokes sadness, joy, passion, and melancholy. The music has its roots in Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Dalmatia and Romania, and is played on the tamburitza or tambura, the family of stringed instruments from the Balkans.
The members of Sviraj are ethnic Croatians, Serbs, and Slovenians who have played the music of their culture since childhood in Steelton, Pennsylvania. They all have played many other types of music, including jazz, folk, and rock and roll.
R.E. (Raczar) Lopatic, Jr., (violin, bass, vocals) is of Croatian and Slovenian descent and a former member of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans. He is a classically trained violinist who has turned his talent and passionate playing style to the preservation of the music of his native culture. He has been performing for over twenty years with groups such as the East European Folk Ensemble, Jorgovan, Trick Bag, and others.
Lenny Tepsich (bass, cello, vocals) is of Serbian and Croatian heritage and has performed for over twenty years. His virtuosity and joyful bass playing have been recognized nationally. He has been featured, with Sviraj, at Balkan music and dance camps and international folk dance festivals. In addition, Tepsich is an accomplished tamburitza cello player, adding the counter-melodies that give the music richness and texture.
Danilo Yanich, (bugarija, accordion, vocals) is of Serbian descent and has performed for over twenty-five years. He was the music director for the Tomov Folk Dance Ensemble in New York City, and a member of the teaching staff of Balkan Music and Dance camps on the East and West coasts. He serves on the national board of directors of the East European Folklife Center. Yanich holds a Ph.D. in urban affairs and public policy and has published articles regarding the politics of the Balkans.
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