Music to Watch Sheep By – Cover Story for Morning Calm Magazine

I returned to Slovakia recently for the first time since I was living there between 2012 and 2015. This time round, I was on a commission to write about one of Europe’s most extraordinary musical instruments, the fujara – a bizarre and intricately decorated shepherd’s flute – and its place at the heart of the culture of Central Slovakia. The few days I spent in the Pod’pol’anie region around Banska Bystrica were eye-opening. The Slovaks cherish and preserve their traditions in a way almost all of the rest of Europe has forgotten about. Here, colourful regional dances, century-old folk customs and ancient shepherding practices survive yet. I was lucky enough to experience the most colourful aspects: at the Detva folk festival, and then in the surrounding mountains talking to some of the people that make the fujara, a process which can take an astonishing two years per instrument.

And here is the result: a hauntingly beautiful insight into a part of Europe the 21st century has forgotten about. All the more beautiful, I must add, for the photography by Kerry Christiani.

This for Morning Calm Magazine…

Music to Watch Sheep By

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Categories: Articles, Cultural Travel, Eastern Europe TravelTags: , , , ,

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