Macedonian and Balkan Folk Music

Kete Ilievski

Kete Ilievski photoBoris “Kete” Ilievski hails from a family rich in dance and music tradition. His mother Todora and father Ilija carried on their families' heritage of celebrating by singing, dancing, and playing instruments, and have passed their joy on to their children. Kete's younger brother Ljuben is a composer and arranges folk music, his youngest brother Dragan is a very good dancer and excellent drummer, and his sister Liljana, besides singing wonderfully, was one of the best dancers in the Skopje-based ensemble “Kočo Racin.”

Kete choreographed Macedonian dance for “Kočo Racin.” for almost twenty years, and was its Artistic Director for eleven years. Kete has also worked extensively with numerous folk dance ensembles in Europe and among North America's Macedonian communities. He founded the Struga Macedonian Folklore Seminar (1986-91), has taught at numerous workshops, and has lectured extensively at academic institutions on Macedonian folklore throughout Europe and in Canada. Kete‘s experiences with people in North America deeply interested and emotionally involved with Macedonian folklore have given him a renewed sense of pride and respect for his own roots.

In addition to all his Macedonian folklore accomplishments, Kete also was a renowned soccer player in Yugoslavia for 17 years. Instead of pursuing a professional career in music or soccer, Kete followed his father‘s advice: “Don't make your hobby or any kind of pleasure the source of your income; there are too many difficulties in life, and you will end up hating the thing you love the most. Always keep it for will help you in rough times.” So, Kete became a successful foreign trade specialist at a large company and was the executive in charge of exporting Yugoslav products to the west. He moved to Toronto, Canada, in 1988.