Welcome to the May newsletter edition of Southeast Europe: People and Culture!

Southeast Europe is blessed with long, dry summers which are perfect for all kinds of festivals. With each year, the quality of these events has been getting better and better and summer events such as the  Dubrovnik Festival in Croatia and the  Exit Festival in Serbia are now rightly famous throughout the world.

Over the next few months, Southeast Europe: People and Culture will be covering a number of summer festivals, both well known and lesser known. In May, we take a look at two upcoming festivals –  The Budva Theatre City in Montenegro whose director hopes to make the event the most important drama festival in Europe and  SILAFEST in Serbia, which celebrates tourism and ecology films.

We hope you enjoy these and all the other festivals we will be looking at.


As well as looking at festivals, we travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet the band Dubioza Kollektiv, whose socially engaged lyrics and pulsating mix of reggae, hip-hop and rock have won them legions of fans in the region and beyond. We also meet young writer Ivor Martinić from Croatia, whose new play Mirjana and the People around Her has won standing ovations in festivals in Split and Rijeka, Croatia. The video of the month takes us to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia where chef Ognen Miteski tells us the secret of making the succulent local dish Grne. Best watched after lunch rather than before!

  Dubioza Kolektiv: The Message Is the Essence
Bosnia and Herzegovina: 11 May 2011

“Learning the lesson of tolerance and accepting differences is crucial in order to normalise relations between people in the region,” say Dubioza Kollektiv, who are currently touring Western Europe until the end of July. As one of the most ‘political’ bands in the region, their energetic songs analyse their region with a forceful critique of the status quo, but they also infuse their work with optimism about the power of ordinary people to change their lives for the better.

 Click here to read more

  Ovations for ‘The Drama about Mirjana and the People around Her’
Croatia: 06 May 2011

Performed by the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, The Drama about Mirjana and the People around Her by young Croatian author Ivor Martinić has received rave reviews in Croatia. The play centres on ordinary people and their problems – the main character Mirjana's teenage daughter, ex-husband and neighbour who plans to commit suicide in two years' time. It is a story of alienation, great expectations, and time that passes by too quickly. According to the author, the success of the play is also proof that "all the taboos about the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are dead and buried."

 Click here to read more


Video of the month – Cooking Grne with Ognen Miteski

150 grammes of meat per person, fresh vegetables, local seasonings and a lot of care go into the traditional dish Grne from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Young chef Ognen Miteski has been impressing diners with this signature dish at his popular restaurant Oreov Lad outside the capital Skopje. Find out why Ognen has become hot property in his native country!

Watch the video now!


39th Istanbul Music Festival, Istanbul, Turkey

The high quality Istanbul Music Festival will take place this year from 4-29 June with concerts, master classes and talks.

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BUNARFEST, Prizren, Kosovo*

BUNARFEST, which will be held this year on 4 and 5 June is one of the region’s more eccentric festivals. Extreme sports enthusiasts navigate their way down the Bistrica river in nothing more than a tractor tyre. Fun for all is guaranteed!

 Click here to read more


Like the look of  Grne in this month’s video of the month? Try it yourself at home with the recipe, kindly provided by one of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s top young chefs Ognen Miteski.

All the recipes on Southeast Europe: People and Culture are now also available to  download as pdfs on the site. Collect your favourites to your very own cook book!

Love to cook food from Southeast Europe? Why not share the taste of the region and send your traditional recipes to:

 [email protected]

* Under UNSCR 1244/1999

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