On December 27, I visited the spectacular Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. There is nothing in the world like this institution. It really isn’t a museum, but an international show and tell of musical instruments from every continent on the planet. And, with state of the art audio-visual, you can see and hear musicians playing the instruments. From African tribal drums in remote mountain villages, to Buddhist bells in hidden monasteries, to stringed instruments from the Pacific islands and saxophones from Harlem, New York.
The Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona.
It isn’t about chronology, or about evolution. It is about what exists as noise makers throughout the world, from as early as we have samples of them, to the modern developments of the same instrument concepts that exist today.
There is a flat screen at each venue of ethnic instruments, and with a special headset, you simply walk up to the particular display, and you can hear the instruments you are watching on the screen. Some of the video segments are very old, some are very recent. It is a remarkable experience.
In the East European section, I was thrilled to see a section on Serbia.
I noted ever-so-carefully the message of the display. There was only one video segment currently available: Vojin Janicich (1915-1996?) a singer of epics and player of the gusle. I was breathless. It was the living example of Albert B. Lord’s The Singer of Tales (1960). I’d learned of the epic singer of modern times when I studied with the late linguist John Foley at Emory University. (He passed just last year, 2012.) I’d just never heard someone actually telling the story of history in song, in this ancient way. The Janicich song was recorded in 1987, and apparently on an album called Ziveli! Medicine for the Heart.
Dr. Yeagley standing by Serbia, in the Museum of Musical Instruments. Photo December 27, 2012, by SKY. (No flash allowed in museum.)
But what struck me immediately is the English dubbing, on the screen there at the museum, bold and plain: “The great heroes of Kosovo, may they eternally be remembered.” Only as an ethnic singer of tales could put it, in voice, in song, it was stunning to me. Kosovo is the heartland of Serbian history. It is like the Black Hills of the Sioux Indians, or Medicine Bluff and Palo Duro Canyon to the Comanches.
Here, in this international bazaar of ethnicity, in this cultural buffet (only in America!), the Serbian ownership, the Serbian-hood of Kosovo, was honored most strikingly. I was virtually dumbfounded with joy. I was indescribably impressed and proud.
Vojin Janicich sings of the eternal memory of the Serbian heroes of the Kosovo heartland. Dr. Yeagley listens with great joy. Photo December 27, 2012, by SKY.
Right behind the Serbian display, nonetheless, just to the right, was the combination display of Kosovo and Albania! And that display featured also only one video. It was an Arabian, Muslim-looking musician, wrapped in the Islamic attire. Clearly, the emphasis was on the Muslim nature of Albania and now Kosovo, after the Muslim Albanians migrated there en mass, and virtually stole the region from Serbia.
The Kosovo-Albania display, clearly combining the Muslim Albanian culture with its stolen prize, Kosovo. Photo by SKY.
Ah, yes, the world watched it happened. Indeed, the world helped it happen! Former American President Bill Clinton and the United Nations ordered the devastation of Serbia, so that the Muslim Albanians could take over Kosovo. The world acknowledged a newly made “country,” called Kosovo. Only Russia voted against it. The region is the heroin gateway to Europe. Everyone knows it, and knew it at the time.
So, what’s going on in this exotic Musical Instrument Museum? Hard to say. If it is some secret effort of the United Nations to make globalism more marketable through the universal appeal of music, they at least allowed Serbia to honor the truth about Kosovo, despite their classification of Kosovo with Albania. But even that tells the truth that it was a land theft of the Albanians. The MIM website claims that it is a completely private institution, a non-profit funded exclusively by donors.
We shall have to write more about this “museum” in the future. For now, the most memorable moment for me was the Serbian display, with Janicich singing the glory of Kosovo, the Serbian heartland. Intelligent, informed people know that the new Kosovo was all about Islam taking over more land and territory, with vicious hatred of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the white Europeans that comprise the ethnicity and nationhood of Serbia–including Kosovo. This, despite weak American conservative attempts to make the Muslim Kosovo appear “moderate.” America was simply dead wrong on this one, and George Bush continued the error after Bill Clinton. It is one of America’s worst betrayals in modern history.
At least Vojin Janicich can sing about Serbian Kosovo in the Musical Instruments Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.