On Sunday evening, we took over the Zara Restaurant in Hampstead and enjoyed a Turkish meal with members old and current, their partners and friends. Leader Caroline proposed a toast to Dunav's future and to absent friends, remembering in particular our founders Henry Morris and John Baldwin as well as Frank Beer and Cliff Beck. They would all have been proud and delighted that Dunav was still thriving half a century later. Jacqueline Morris had passed Henry's violin to Dominic a few years ago, and was touched to hear it being played again. And it was Jacqueline whom we invited to cut the birthday cake. Then out came the instruments and we played and sang until it was time to go home.
15 & 16 November 2014
Two events were organised to celebrate our half century of Balkan music-making. The first, on Saturday 15th was a Balkan dance party in the big hall of Cecil Sharp House, Camden, London. Brian Dowsett, our guitar player, is an expert at organising such events, and threw heart and soul into making this something very special. A huge banner hung above the musicians' dais, and two more displayed a photo montage of images of Dunav in action from the 1960s to the present time. We were thrilled that many of our former musicians and singers were there, some making special trips from Europe. We welcomed Susan Coppard, Dunav's first accordionist, singers Elizabeth and Nadia Letsky, Paula Gečević and Gonca Sanal, violinist and baglama maestro Hamdi Ataoǧlu, violinist and cymbalom-player David Wells, singers Judy Greenwell, Ileana Shirley-Smith and Dana Berciu, and tamboura and gajda player Paul Miller. Susan, Hamdi, Ileana and Dana performed during the evening, and the present Dunav line-up presented some of our favourite pieces as well as music for the dancing.
Jacqueline Morris, with Caroline, Brian and the beautifully decorated top to the cake.
Nadia and Elizabeth Letsky, Dunav's singing duo from the early days
An expertly decorated three-layer cake was ordered by Brian's daughter Rowena, displayed at the dance, and served as dessert for the Sunday dinner party. It was in the shape of a tapan, the big drum, complete with heavy and light sticks.
DUNAV - PAST AND PRESENT
L-R: Ileana, Dana with Oliver behind, Paula, Dominic behind, Cahit, Naren, Gonca, Hamdi, Geoff. Kneeling: Cigdem, Dragan, Caroline and Brian.
From Sue Coppard: "Thank you so much for a wonderful DUNAV Golden Anniversary Weekend. It was thoroughly enjoyable - not one but TWO festive evenings! It was lovely to meet you all again after so long, including some really long-time-no-see friends. The music was super, the meal delicious (as was the cake), and I love the Big Picture. You did us proud. I was so happy I could be there. Many, many thanks.
Here's wishing you all a Very Successful Next 50 Years!"
From Jacqueline Morris: "I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the whole weekend, and yesterday evening especially, hearing the group playing together with such enthusiasm and vitality. If there is a heaven, I can tell you that Henry would have been absolutely delighted to hear you all on such good form, as well as astonished to realise what he, John and Naren started all those years ago. I was very touched to see and feel how his contribution has been honoured.
Thank you, and long may Dunav continue and prosper."
Watch the video below of Naren playing tapan