London, Halifax, Reading, Bedford, Peterborough, Birmingham, York,
Tunbridge Wells, Dorchester, Maidenhead, Barrowden
It has been the tradition that Serbian Month begins with the celebration of St Sava taking place in numerous towns around Britain. From the 25th January Serbian Communities in London, Halifax, Reading, Bedford, Peterborough and Birmingham were holding colourful programmes which included performances by Serbian schools and folk-dance ensembles from Britain and KUD Sindjelic from Gothenburg, Sweden.
The highlight of this traditional celebration was the St Sava’s Ball, Charity Dinner on Saturday 8th February at Copthorne Tara Hotel in Kensington, London. Special guests, the actress Ivana Zigon & soprano Tamara Radjenovic were part of an exclusive programme, held in the presence of HRH Prince Phillip of Serbia & HRH Princess Danica of Serbia.
The first day of the Serbian Month was also featured Sandra Siladjev Live, the stand-up comedian addresses topics against divisions of any kind, in an event organised by Nase pozoriste u Londonu.
Artem Magazine held a Mini festival of documentary films produced by RTRS (Radio Television Republika Srpska). Screening of films took place at the Serbian Orthodox Church in London, and was organised in cooperation with Serbian Library in London. The films which were shown are I was a child and Wizard of Mutanj, while film Numbers was included in the Holocaust Memorial Day programme organised by the Jasenovac and Holocaust Memorial Foundation on 7th February. A Memorial Service for Women in Foreign Medical Missions in Serbia and related fronts during the Great War included a screening of Alan Cumming’s documentary film about Evelina Haverfield and Flora Sandes. At the same venue, the Serbian Orthodox Church St Sava, on the 9th February, the Circle of Serbian Sisters London hosted an exhibition and talk with Bishop of Raška-Prizren, Bishop Teodosije.
ASWA (The Association of Serbian Writers and Artists Abroad) and its President, writer Sonja Besford hosted Literary Evening with two Serbian writers who live in Malta, Verica Vincent-Cole and Teodor Reljić at the Serbian Embassy on 6th February. The founder of ASWA, Milos Crnjanski who lived as an exile in London from 1941 to 1965 was a topic of Panel discussion at British Library as part of a project ‘The South Slavs and Britain’ on 9th March.
Christina Pribicevic-Zoric & Will Firth (translators from Serbo-Croatian), Dr David Norris (specialist in Serbian literary and cultural studies) and Vesna Stanojevic, (actress and senior lecturer in acting) talked about his life in London, how does London figure in his work ‘A Novel of London’ and why are the themes of identity and migration relevant today. Other authors and their work were presented at Annual Mini Book Fair at the Serbian Library in London on the 29th February: Audrey Burns Ross, Olivia Suđić and Peđa Ristić. Tribute to late Sava Peić was paid by Vesna Petković in conversation with Martin Sutton. Making sure that there is a book for everyone, Serbian Society organised Presentation of children’s book ‘Greensey’s Journey’ by Tamara Drobac at Embassy of the Republic of Serbia on the 20th February.
Art work by Vlastimir Zeric, jeweller, designer and sculptor was exhibited at Royal Society of British Artists 303rd Annual Exhibition 2020 from 20 to 29th February at Mall Galleries, The Mall, St. James’s, London.
Numerous music performances took place around England: acclaimed classical guitarist Craig Ogden teams up with accordionist Miloš Milivojevic, performing for Dorchester Arts and at the University of York. She’Koyokh, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the finest British-based exponents of global music’ brought klezmer and Sephardic music and songs from the Balkans and Turkey to Maidenhead, Barrowden in Leicestershire and Peterborough.
Vremeplov (‘Time-machine’), the band’s debut concert at Birmingham brought back the oldest and most golden songs from Serbia and former Yugoslavia to a British audience on the 29th February. A London audience had opportunity to enjoy opera arias by Bizet and Puccini sprinkled with Portuguese and Serbian melodies in interpretation of soprano Silva McQueen, tenor Leonel Pinheiro accompanied by pianist Timothy End on the 7th March. A more intimate sound was heard at the classical concert by guitarist David Strbac. Following his last year London debut during Serbian Month, a winner of over twenty prizes at international competitions David came back to London to perform diverse programme by Scarlatti, Albeniz, Rodrigo, Piazzolla, Bogdanovic on the 1st of March.
The Serbian City Club shared ‘Coffee with…’ Vukasin Stojkov, who discussed Tesla Nation on the 27th February, as well as drinks at their regular networking event in Japes on the 25th February. Tea was served at “ČAJANKA”, by Circle of Serbian Sister London. Fundraising Tea Party collected funds for people of Kosovo and Methohija on the 29th February. More funds were raised by Lifeline Humanitarian Organisation at their Annual Charity Dinner at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, hosted by HRH Crown Prince Alexander and HRH Crown Princess Katherine. Music & Drama students and teachers of the Holmewood House School in Tunbridge Wells also helped raising funds for the Azbukum Serbian Language GCSE and A Level Course at Fundraising Concert on 5th March.
The Serbian community in London had an opportunity to remember Old Pals at the event Beogradska zurka (Belgrade Party) on 15th Feb at Paya & Horse Pub. Some 25 years ago the pioneers of the cultural life of our community in Britain, Olga Gakovic, Gordana Miller, Miki Stoiljković and Pale Brozicević came together to start organising events that in 2009 became Serbian Week and which have grown into the Twelfth Serbian Month in Great Britain with over 30 events in 11 towns around UK.
With special thanks to
All the Serbian organisations and individuals who contribute to the success of Serbian Month in Great Britain
SN Production – Stvarno nova produkcija for designing the catalogue free of charge
The Embassy of the Republic of Serbia for their support of Serbian Month
Sponsors and advertisers:
Private Ultrasound Ltd
The Federation of Jewish Communities in Serbia
Belgrade Chopin Fest
London’s St Sava’s Day Celebrations launches Serbian Month 2020
Serbian Month: Catalogue out, Radio airtime, Snaps sought
Radio programme ‘Veceras zajedno’:
Svetosavski Ball: Sponsor a Child
Serbian Council AGM and concert: For a united British Serb voice
Writers at Serbian Library’s Book Fair will get you thinking
Crnjanski Panel: The definitive Serbian writer in London
Music Lovers: Gala Concert
Lifeline Gala raises over £19,000 in aid of Children’s hospitals in Serbia
Vremeplov in Birmingham
“A Coffee with”… Vukašin Stojkov, founder and CEO of Belgrade-based Tesla Nation project