Macedonian and Balkan Folk Music

Rachel MacFarlane

Rachel MacFarlane photo Rachel MacFarlane’s interest in the Balkans possibly arose from a past life—of Midwestern Scottish/English stock, she can find no reasonable explanation as to the irresistible force which compelled her to study Russian by herself in junior high, then to acquire a degree in Slavic languages and literatures. On a whim she went folk dancing her first week at college, heard Macedonian zurla music, and was immediately diverted from Russian studies to South Slavic, to the dismay of her department head, who envisioned in her a future Pushkin specialist. In 1979 she made her first trip abroad to the Dalmatian coast (from where she retains a fondness for rosemary, lavender, white wine with mineral water and klapa music), making subsequent culture/language expeditions to Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. Through the many ups and downs of her life, her passion for the region has never waned. Rachel is currently the General Manager and Program Director for the East European Folklife Center. She also designs naturalistic beaded snakes and roasts a mean eggplant.