Concerts from the Library of Congress, 2008-2009


Bajich BrothersSeptember 17, 2008 at 12:00 noon
THE BAJICH BROTHERS—Tamburitza Music from Kansas

The Bajich Brothers, Boris, Paul, Peter and Robert, are a Serbian-American tambura quartet from Kansas. They are active in the St. George Orthodox Church, located in the Kansas suburbs of Kansas City, and have played their music at all the major Serbian and Croatian festivals in the United States, including the Tambura Extravaganza in St. Louis and Omaha. They have produced three recordings, the first of which was released in 1985. They were raised in the Serbian community of Kansas City, which dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, when Serbian immigrants began seeking work in the five major meatpacking plants located in the area of the city known as the West Bottoms. One of the traditions these Serbians brought with them was that of playing tamburas. Tamburas are a family of fretted, steel-stringed acoustic instruments common to several countries in southeastern Europe, including Serbia. They have four to six steel strings, and are usually played with a plectrum. In this, they resemble familiar families of instruments such as western mandolas and Greek bouzoukis. The styles of music played by the tambura include, among others, traditional folk tunes and modern tunes written in the folk idiom. Tambura music (also known as tamburitza or tamburica, after common diminutives for tambura), has been played in ethnic communities in the United States since the 1890s. Since then, it has spread wherever there are Americans of Serbian or Croatian heritage, becoming one of the most popular and widespread ethnic music traditions in the United States.

Image: Bar J WranglersOctober 2, 2008 at 12:00 noon
BAR J WRANGLERS—Cowboy Music from Wyoming

The Bar J Wranglers from Wilson, Wyoming (outside Jackson Hole) carry on a family tradition of entertaining audiences throughout the Intermountain West with their mixture of cowboy music, humorous skits and celebration of ranch life. Every evening from May through September, they work seven days a week hosting the Bar J Chuckwagon Supper and Western Show, where they work the ticket booth, serve up dinner, then perform their warmly spirited repertoire to hundreds of guests over the season. For the rest of the year, they perform at music gatherings and ranch events, and in concert halls. Singing four-part harmonies, yodeling and playing instruments, their original songs and older pieces revere the ranching way of life and offer up insights into rural values. Following in their father, Babe Humphrey’s musical footsteps, sons Scott on vocals and rhythm guitar, and Bryan on vocals and upright bass, are joined by Tim Hodgson on vocals and fiddle, Donnie Cook on flat-top and steel guitars, dobro and banjo, and Jerry “Bullfrog” Baxter on vocals and rhythm guitar, to deliver some of the best harmonies, and some of the most outrageous comedy and remarkable musicianship in the American West.  

Image: SuratiNovember 19, 2008 at 12:00 noon
SURATI—Classical and Folk Indian Dance from New Jersey

Surati, inc. is a performing arts company and school for Indian music and dance, based in New Jersey.  Since 2001, Surati’s dance and music school has offered intensive training in Indian classical, traditional, folk, contemporary, and popular dance and music.  Surati’s group of professional dancers and musicians perform a multitude of Indian Classical and traditional folk styles on stage.  Rimli Roy, Surati’s principal dancer and choreographer, began to take her first formal lessons in Indian classical dancing at the tender age of four.  She came from a family of gifted musicians and artists, and was greatly influenced by her parents and brother at an early age. Her father Sumit Roy is a renowned music composer, vocalist and musician based in India. Her mother Arati, is a talented lyricist and visual artist. Her brother Rajesh Roy is also a well-known musician, vocalist, composer and music arranger/programmer.  Having a tremendous innate sense of rhythm and natural grace of movement, Rimli gradually began to master several genres of Indian classical dance, and started to give stage performances by the age of six.  Rimli and the Surati dance troupe perform a variety of traditional and self-composed Indian dances, including dances in the Manipuri, Bharatnatyam, and Odissi styles.  They have performed at cultural events all over the United States and India.