The Pittsburgh-based Balkan Babes, a 10+ member vocal ensemble, has been singing and playing southeastern European folk music for 17 years. When I invited the group to submit a ringtone in the project, Lynette Garlan (co-founder of the group) suggested a lively and short weaving song from Croatia. She thought the song Ja Posijam Lane, which translates as “My Silken Flax,” with its call and response arrangement, would make a perfectly appropriate tone. I agreed. Here’s the Balkan Babes’ acappella Ja Posijam Lane Ringtone.
If you’re a Pittsburgher, you’re likely well-aware of the many cultural traditions that crossed over with settlers arriving from the southeastern (Balkan mountain) region of Europe. In fact, you may have even experienced some of these traditions. There’s a Department of Slavic Languages at Pitt, where you may have studied Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian; or you may have seen Duquesne University’s Tamburitzans dancing up a storm. Maybe you’ve played bingo at the American Serbian Club of Pittsburgh, or have stopped in for the Soup Sega at the Bulgarian Macedonian National Educational and Cultural Center in West Homestead.
If you’re really lucky, you’ve heard the Balkan Babes (and Bubs) perform. If you’re luckier, then you’ve danced to their music, and have been invited to sing along with them. Earlier this year, I photographed the ensemble when they played for the Tuesday Night International Folk Dance Club of Pittsburgh at the Friends Meeting House in Oakland (where you can learn and practice international folk dancing every week). The photos below depict the Babes’ rehearsal and performance that night, but if you live in Pittsburgh, why not take advantage of the full experience?
Thanks to the Balkan Babes (and Bubs) for their gorgeous contribution to Locally Toned!