In defense of amateurism
“So amateurish”: The immediate connotation is someone without formal training or professional experience, someone who is just not very good. Sometimes we forget that amateur comes from the Latin word for love, thus, someone who does something because they love it, though they aren’t compensated financially.
This is an amateurish blog.
Amateurism is one of the main values of Abrasevic, the youth centre where I used to work. In socialist Yugoslavia, Abrasevic housed an amateur youth theater troupe and offered guitar, accordion and folk dancing lessons to generations of kids, some of whom went on to sing for Radio Sarajevo, but most performed just for fun. Young people had the chance to travel all over Europe. “We sang together, spent time together. Abrasevic was like a family.”
“Sevdah, Bosnian traditional music, was only sung in Abrasevic.” Meho Zekic, who worked as the technical secretary in Abrasevic during that time, was one of the young people who went on to sing for Radio Sarajevo. He’s in his 70s and still has a beautiful voice. I talked to him about his youth in Abrasevic and the origins of sevdah music. Then he sang for me.
While I worked for Abrasevic, I took part in and led video and radio workshops, putting my skills to use in amateur local tv and internet radio shows. We travelled to other cities in Europe for workshops and exchanges. It’s like a family. (Some things never change…)