Luti: vocals, acoustic guitars, drums, percussion, bass on track #4
Greg Stahl: bass, electric guitar, background vocal on track #5
Dennis Kingsbury: mandolin
Zenton Fernandez: keyboards
Kristin Blanchard: flute 

All lyrics by Luti, except A Little Magic (Luti and Brian Wood) 

 The music of Macedonia (JovanoJovankeLullaby for a Hummingbird) has been in my veins all along, since I was born at the heart of it and listened to it as a kid. Add to this: poetry (Evening on a Rock Island) in high school literature classes and exposure to all kinds of music in adolescent years, and you begin to see from where the music on this CD comes. Here I am, Half a Century Later, having crossed the Atlantic, and established new roots in my new home country on the foundations of war, nostalgia, friendships and family love. 

 I want to thank those who helped shape this opus in so many different ways: Slavko Makaji, Andor Hupert, Janos Blasko, Jasen Erbežnik, Brian Wood, Raza, Billy Brandt, Dan Hazlett, The Hummingbirds, John and Jodi Dobat, Clint Lavens, Annie and Rod Capps, John Finan, Sharon Tse, Sarana Verlin, Dennis Kingsbury, Kristin Blanchard and Brenton Fernandez, Songwriters Anonymous, Chuck Storey, all my friends from Oakland Community College and elsewhere, and especially my producer, Greg Stahl. 

 A special thanks to my wife Leslie – my steadfast editor, critic and soulmate 

 This CD is for Jasen, my precious teenage one. 

 Recording, mixing and mastering: Greg Stahl in Summit Studio, Milford, Michigan  

Photography: Leslie Cavell, Wolf Tytschkowski, Luti and his family archives 

Art design and production: Luti and Leslie Cavell 

Click for Lyrics

A Little Magic

(© Luti, Brian Wood, 2010)

We could all use a little magic
In the passing life we share
Love needn’t be so tragic
But I wonder if you care

Many of your charming gazes
Nowadays have turned to stone
Yet it still amazes
Me how I’m afraid to live alone

Something tells me you still love me,
I can see it in your smile
So hold me gently, kiss me slowly,
Let’s embrace, let’s reconcile
And if we ever hurt each other’s feelings
Let’s say “I’m sorry”

We could all use a little wisdom
A little time to find our way
Look into the chain of reasons
Reasons that have made us stay…

Something tells me you still love me…

We could all use a little patience,
A little time to contemplate
‘Cause you have been my inspiration
You have been my advocate

We could all use a little kindness
Loving words would bring us near
Tender touch is sure to bind us
Holding hands through golden years

Something tells me you still love me…

We could all use a little magic
Love needn’t be so tragic…

Across the Ocean

Our mother-tongues were not that different
From a single tribe most of us descended
We were taught to guard our brotherhood and unity
Visit a stranger’s home and you were befriended

Rivers and mountaintops, seaside, lakes and valleys,
This land between two worlds seemed like a heaven to me
But when the ethnic pride grew stronger than togetherness
Harmony began to fade and soon it was crumbling

Fear led to anger, and anger led to violence
Distinctions were dug out and coated with weapons and rage
The ignorant obeyed their leaders and went against their neighbor
Once again human folly took over the stage

And my life
In the land across the ocean
Flows with new freedom
Like a river of emotions
Home away from home
In the land across the ocean
Immersed in the melting pot
Finding true devotion

And when I think about my friends from the place I left
Sometimes I wonder where is it that I truly belong
Do they teach their children that you can’t be happy when you hate
Do they smile like in my dreams? Are they still as strong?

And my life…

© 2007

Be the Proud

Handsome young man, quiet and diligent,
You dreamed to serve your country, to be a sergeant.
Wearing full gear, you walk on a foreign soil
This land is our cradle; we only want its oil.

Your leader told you to hunt them down
The more you kill, the sooner you’d wear a crown.
Courage and fear both are in your head,
These strange looking people are only good when dead.

We want you! Hear us loud!
Be the few! Be the proud!

A sudden blast! Was it a roadside bomb?
Smoke, blood and noise… your best friend is gone.
“Where did this come from? We must search every home!”
Grenades and bullets… “Open up every door!”

Men, women and children, they all look the same.
Every one is an enemy, every one is to blame.
You ask no questions, you just start shooting.
It feels much better, vengeance is soothing.

We want you! Hear us loud!
Be the few! Be the proud!

Allah or God, what is the difference?
Whatever we’ve fought for, we’ve lost our innocence.
And when you look now into your daughter’s eyes
Will you remember those children’s last cries?

We want you! Hear us loud!
Be the few! Be the proud!

© 2010

Carry On

A mirror held with tranquil gaze
A shadow of your former self looked back at you
And you wondered where your God was

Late at night when all is quiet
Slumber seems so far away
With racing thoughts, fearful doubts, confusion

Soothing voice AND gentle hands,
Yet another fluid trickles down your veins
Bringing sweet oblivion

Chorus #1:
Morning light, bird songs fill the air
Chords of life vibrate through the room
Loving faces are by your side
Breath of hope is your voice inside…you carry on

Weakened limbs, burning spine
Mouth is dry and pain comes rolling in again,
Crashing through your senses

Close your eyes and drift away,
See the wind meander through the sea of grass
While aspen leaves are waving

Chorus #2:
Music sounds slowly fill the air
Chords of life resonate through you
Rivers head right down to the sea
You keep your smile, and your mind now clear….
you carry on

© 2009

In Style

She’s thirty-something, looks first-rate
Works at the local bookstore
Married her handsome high school mate
Says she couldn’t ask for more

She knows she’s charming, has a quirk
Goes shopping whenever she wishes
And when her husband comes home from work
He cleans, cooks and does the dishes

He says: “I love your pretty face,
but can’t you help out once in a while?
Baby, I’m tired of running this place.
What matters to you… is you’re in style.”

In “People,” ”Vogue” and “Vanity Fair”
She finds her inspiration
From jewelry to celebrity flair
From credit card to transformation

She trims her waistline for the summer
Gets new sandals, purse and make-up
No time for home in her quest for glamour
Will she ever really wake up?

He says: “I love your pretty face…

He says: “Honey, use that mop and pail.”
She says: “Please, don’t ask me this again.
Don’t you see I’ve just polished my nails?
Besides, those are perfect tools for men.”

Chorus: He says: “I love your pretty face…

© 2010

Jovano, Jovanke

Oh, Jovana…

You are sitting by the Vardar River,
Whitening the white linen
Gazing upward

I have been waiting for you
To come to my home,
But you aren’t coming, my sweetheart

Your mother is not letting you
Come see me, my darling,
My sweetheart, Jovana…

The above is translation of a traditional Macedonian folk song:

Jovano, Jovanke,
Kraj Vardarot sediš
mori belo platno beliš
Belo platno beliš dušo
Se na gore gledaš

Jovano, Jovanke,
Jaz te tebe čekam
Mori doma da mi dojdeš
A ti ne doadjas dušo
Srce moe Jovano

Jovano, Jovanke,
Tvojata majka
Mori tebe ne te pušta
Kaj mene da dojdeš dušo
Srce moe Jovano

King of the Skies

Have you spotted this little prey?
Hurry down and take it away
Bring it high to your secret home
To your eaglets it now belongs

Still I see you when I close my eyes
Yes, you are the king of the skies

Wide open spaces behind your silhouette
Talons of steel have no regrets
Dark wings soaring, cold air is stirred
Beauty and awe in this bird

Still I see you when I close my eyes
Yes, you are the king of the skies

A Place Called Home

Camped on the sidewalk, downtown street
Some people glance, quickly step by his feet
Dark clouds are gathering, bringing a storm
There’s nothing like the place called home

With auburn ponytail and silver beard
Wrapped in a sleeping bag, no sign of fear
Eyes ever-smiling, steel in his bones
There’s nothing like the place called home

Bright yellow irises might still be blooming
Cat at the window sill purring away
Thoughts of the bedroom where his son was born
There’s nothing like the place called home

Standing in line for one warm meal
Whispers and laughter, daydreams revealed
“How are you doing sir? Do you keep warm?”
There’s nothing like the place called home

Bright yellow irises might still be blooming…

Forgotten hero on a cold black night
Evokes an image of fire lights
Of bombed villages till they were gone
There’s nothing like the place called home

Asking for no handouts
He wakes from a vivid dream
Walks in the sunrise

Bright yellow irises might still be blooming…

Rock Island

The blue open sea is sleeping,
Cool night is falling.
Along the edge of a black cliff
The last pink ray is dying.

And a painful bell is wailing,
Sound trembling over the stone;
With a sigh of lasting sorrow
Poor, poor people pray.

These gray skeletons kneel
Before the image of their God
They plead. But the crucified God
Gives only silence.

And slumber’s coming wave on wave,
Cool night is falling.
Along the edge of a black cliff
The last pink ray is dying.

*The lyrics are my translation of the poem Veče na Školju (Evening on a Rock Island) written by a 19th century Serbian poet, Aleksa Šantić (1868-1924); the original poem is below.

(by Aleksa Šantić)

Pučina plava spava,
Prohladni pada mrak.
Vrh hridi crne trne
Zadnji rumeni zrak.
I jeca zvono bono,
Po kršu dršće zvuk;
S uzdahom tuge duge
Ubogi moli puk.
Kleče kosturi suri
Pred likom boga svog –
Ištu. Al’ tamo, samo
Ćuti raspeti Bog.
I san sve bliže stiže,
Prohladni pada mrak,
Vrh hridi crne trne
Zadnji rumeni zrak.

© 2010