Merima

Concert accordionist Merima Ključo performs at RCC’s CenterStage on Oct.30.

The Haggadah, one of the Jewish culture's most treasured manuscripts, not only inspired Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks, but also inspired international composer-performer Merima Ključo. 
 
Ključo is creating a multimedia work, "The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book," based on Brooks'"People of the Book," and she will be presenting
her work at Reston Community Center's (RCC) CenterStage on Oct. 30. 
Fairfax Times reached out to her with some questions:

You look like you connect with music on a very deep level when you play it. What is your philosophy for creating and playing music? What is your process?

KLJUČO: Having studied music for over three decades, there are many processes a musician has to go through to understand music.

Classical music is a science. It is not only necessary to have a talent, and to practice--one needs to go deeply into material and understand every aspect of it--from the technical aspects to the understanding of the composer’s philosophical idea. And then there is the interpretation--making all the aspects your own and presenting it in the way you understand it.

How did you become interested in Geraldine Brooks’ “People of the Book”?

KLJUČO: A good friend gave me a wonderful present--Geraldine Brooks' “People of the Book.” Being inspired by this amazing book, I became obsessed with the idea of the project that would musically and visually follow the Haggadah's journey from Spain to Sarajevo.

How did the idea of "Music of the Book" come about?

KLJUČO: I have always been fascinated by the Sarajevo Haggadah, not only because of its amazing and fascinating history, but also because it reminds me of my own life and the “exodus” I had to experience. I was forced to leave my own country, under the strangest and heaviest circumstances. The Haggadah in its journey suffered transformations, which makes it even more special by giving it a richer history that reflects its passage through different cultures.

I also travel around the world and with every journey I get a new "scar," positive or negative, but I keep my dignity and get richer by traveling through different circumstances, and sharing culture with others through my music.

Can you help us, your audience, visualize what the event will look like?

KLJUČO: I would like to keep that as a surprise. All I can say is, there is one piano, there is one accordion and there are visuals that will accompany the musical movements.

Few immigrant artists take their creativity to the international level. Do you have any analysis on why that is and what helped you make it?

KLJUČO: I don’t agree with that. There are many famous international artists who take their creativity to the international level. But that is probably the key--we don’t label ourselves as immigrants but as the citizens of the world. It would be wonderful if we could see and treat everyone as a citizen of the world.

I imagine a world without man-made borders, a world where we don't hide behind our false, imaginary, made-up nationalities, races and identities.

A world of only one race, nation and citizenship--the human one.

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