Joe Kirin




Does your music bring people together?


“My dad and mother participated in Croatian folklore groups. My dad played in a professional tamburitza orchestra. Around 1967 the Croatian Lodge decided to put together a folklore group for kids to learn to play, dance, and sing the music of Croatia. We rehearsed once a week in the Lyon’s police station. That’s when I started the formal part. Every year we’d go to a major festival.”


“In South Chicago, there was a Serbian church and a Croatian church; restaurants, Serbian and Croatian. At 19 I was in my first group. Groups like ours would play a lot at weddings, communions, restaurants, bars and picnics.”


“Since 2001 I’ve had a group, Tamburitza Roma (T-Rroma). This band really incorporates all of the former Yugoslavia and we bring those sounds into our instruments. We can reach audiences beyond our culture. This music really shines in a crowd with people all around you.”



Additional Resources


The artist’s website can be found here:


 A book that would complement student work looking at these topics would be The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway.  It is the fictionalized account of the real cellist who played Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor 22 days in a row to honor the deaths of 22 neighbors by bombing during the war of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He does this in an extremely public way, sitting in the crater left behind by the bomb putting his own life at risk from snipers. In the book, his act connects the disparate lives of three others trapped in Sarajevo and provides a focal point for the story.  There is a classroom guide available for this text here:


There are numerous websites that look at the significance of music and the civil rights.  Some that were mentioned here include:


National Public Radio’s Songs of the Civil Rights Movement with 5 songs to listen to and short artist bios


The Maryland Humanities Council You-tube channel playlist of discussions and music all on the topic of “Music of the Movement.”  Speakers include Dr. Tricia Rose and Congressman and Civil Rights activist John Lewis.  Music videos are as diverse as Sweet Honey in the Rock, James Brown, and Arrested Development.