Music is Svitac
Musical activities have been an integral part of Omladinska organizacija Svitac since our establishment in 1998. There have been a number of long- and short-term music workshops (singing, brass instruments, guitar, improvisation & instrument making). We have also participated in music festivals with young and unsigned bands from ex-Yugoslav countries. All of these activities have been part of our multi-ethnic character that ensures gender equality.
Svitac on-going Music Projects
Music projects play a prominent role in Svitac, providing many children, teenagers, and young adults opportunities to express themselves musically, learn teamwork, develop confidence, explore their identities and socialise (have fun!). There are currently four ongoing music workshops, one working with young children (aged 8-12), one with primarily teenagers (aged 13-18), and two with young adults (aged 16-30). There will also be two summer camps in 2015, one in July set in the mountains outside Sarajevo dedicated solely to music, and one in Brčko that features a series of music workshops alongside arts (creative) and sports workshops.
One of the longest running workshops is the percussion based workshop – Samba. This workshop began in 2005 with a basic Samba set, featuring three Surdo, Agogo Bells, Tambours, Toms, and Snare Drums. It brings together a number of young adults, both amateur enthusiasts and long-term practitioners. The workshop is coordinated by Sanjin Vošanović. It runs weekly and has in the past performed at local events, including a Bosnia and Herzegovina Sports award event in Tuzla in 2008. While Samba rhythms and techniques have always formed the basis of this ensemble, it has often branched out opening up to a whole range of genres using percussive techniques. At times it may deserve better to be called a “Drum Troup”, rather than Samba band, as it occasionally plays psychedelic or industrial arrangements.
The second workshop to target teenagers and young adults is currently in its infancy, and aims to teach the participants Hip-Hop writing, performing, and production skills. This workshop, set up and coordinated exclusively by a recent EVS volunteer John Streatfield, is already showing results having developed a number of connections with local rap groups and performers. It also serves a purpose of improving English language skills, with the facilitator helping participants write and perform in the foreign language, as well as their own. Thus this workshop is facilitating communication between local performers, and building the confidence and abilities of some of the younger participants, who are now beginning to develop their own collaboration acts despite the nascent infancy of the workshops. It is amazing to watch a new generation come into music and provide a foundation for the future of the local scene in Brčko.
A number of teenagers in Brčko take part in Classical Guitar lessons, another project that has been a part of Svitac over the past eight years. The workshop is coordinated by Sanjin Vošanović. This is perhaps the most technical project underway at the moment, providing a formal education in classical guitar techniques and repertoire for teenagers. Due to its significantly more formal structure there are a few long-term participants, rather than a large group of varied participants, who take a far more casual approach to the other workshops. Participants are encouraged to perform not only at every opportunity, but to take advantage of the rare classical performances that occasionally permeate the rather mundane cultural scene of Brčko. The skills and techniques developed through this project open new doors to the young people taking part, providing them with a foundation for a future in music not just in Brčko but potentially beyond.
The newest music workshop is one aimed specifically at children, aged 8-12. It is coordinated by EVS volunteer Isambard Rayner. Taking place every week within a broader range of workshops, this project aims to introduce the children to music and activities they would not normally get access to in the formal school system. It combines an element of formal learning (such as music theory) with more informal games, with a major focus on introducing participants to different types of music and media. It also features performance opportunities. As a part of this workshop, a small percussion group has been assembled. It affectionately nicknamed “Samba Lite”, due to its smaller size, simpler music and less intense structure, whcih allows the children to indulge their favourite activity (making as much noise as possible!) while accidently learning teamwork, coordination, communication and more formal musical skills.
The 2015 summer camps are another long running feature at Svitac. Both music camps will be coordinated by Sanjin Vošanović. The August camp will be based in the town of Brčko itself and feature aspects of all the different projects of Svitac combined together, such as music, art, language learning and sport. It will incorporate a large age range, from children to young adults. The second camp will be focused purely on music. Set in the beautiful mountains surrounding Sarajevo, this July camp will be a prime opportunity to give the local youth of Brčko the chance to explore beyond the borders of their district. In this environment, participants will learn to work with friends and strangers from all over their district, develop music skills and understanding, and have fun while making friends and hopefully (maybe) playing some actual structured music pieces too. But the emphasis is on the experience and the learning, not the technical outcome, as our focus is contributing to the positive development of these young people, not stressing them out with producing (contestable) results.
Students playing at gigs: