1983 I was living next door to the much respected folklorist, Lucille Armstrong. Lucille had many musical friends who came to visit her. One of her oldest friends was Narendra Kotiyan, who was very much into international folk music from many different countries and had been a founding member of Dunav. Another friend of Lucille's was also in Dunav once: Hamdi Ataoglu was a tenant in her house when we moved in next door in the late 70s. Hamdi was the Turkish connection in Dunav in the seventies as a musician and singer.
It was Naren, on learning from Lucille that there was a violin player next door to her, who asked to be introduced over tea one late Autumn evening. He was enthusiastic and encouraging and invited me to attend my first rehearsal. I found that the whole group consisted of talented and knowledgeable people, and immediately agreed to tag along, despite knowing next to nothing about the Balkans or Balkan folk music . After some time playing at rehearsals, I was invited to join and perform with the group.
This was monumental, as at the time I was struggling to find work, and the friendship and interest of this new group of people in my life helped to steer me along a journey of discovery about different cultures which always made the next rehearsal or gig an unmissable highlight. Soon, I was travelling to Bulgaria with them and playing in all sorts of venues and festivals. Dunav members have gone on to be my constant friends and we have had many good times together.