(E) Book review 'Inlaid Pearl' Stacie G. Vesolich
Book review “Inlaid Pearl” Stacie G. Vesolich
By Katarina Tepesh
Tamburica lovers will appreciate a new book, “Inlaid Pearl,” a true story of three generations family, originally escaping hate and violence in the Balkans. Eventually settling in Ohio, they became famous tamburica players known as “Ljubica’s or Libby.” Among hundreds of performances, the highlight was performing at the Inaugural Ball of President Jimmy Carter.
The most precious heirloom, a mandolin adorned with inlaid mother-of-pearl butterflies from the old country, is called “Inlaid Pearl.”
“Inlaid Pearl” is written with much affection in a truthful manner by author Stacie Vesolich. She is a graduate of internationally acclaimed Duquesne University Tamburitzans, along with her husband Steve. Peppered with hilarious humor, such as remarks, “Strong like bull, these Balkan women!” Some of us can identify with the complexity of the English syntax which still baffles many of us speaking with thick accents. Not to mention conjugating verbs. The author chronicles family tragedies and how they dealt with pain, “Life is about living, not only dying.”
Ljubica, whose name means love, is a big part of “Inlaid Pearl”. For example, on cold days, Mama gave Ljubica two hot potatoes to put in each of her coat pockets, thus keeping her hands warm as she walked to school. Ljubica was academically smart as well as athletic, but her father totally opposed any college opportunities. “Vat you need this college for?” he questioned. “You gonna get married – have babies – be a good zena (wife). That’s vat girl must do. Don’t talk no more of this college. I no hear nut-ting more of this.”
Despite obstacles, Ljubica becomes affectionately known as ‘gazdarica’ or big boss in her tamburica orchestra. Among many songs performed, there is also the popular Croatian song “Fala,” as well as remembrances of the Croatian women, wearing muslin skirts delicately embroidered with red and white flowers, which seemed to be flying through the air in a circle dance, called the kolo.
Published by Xulon Press www.xulonpress.com