Kaila Flexer (wife of mandolin player Mike Marshall) directed a series of concerts in February 2006 with her Xylem Folkestra, and included a group of kids from Crowden School in addition to her small group of Balkan musicians. They had been working on various tunes for the past 4 months, meeting every Thursday at the Crowden School and learning all of the music by ear, a significant departure from their daily classical music training. On 3 different evenings in mid February at various locations around Berkeley, the group played a number of Balkan tunes, then played another set for some traditional Balkan dances, in which the audience participated. The final evening took place at an old church in Oakland on a cold rainy evening, which seemed just right for an evening of Balkan song and dance. At the musicians reception afterwards, we enjoyed tasty little Balkan pastries and Mike Marshall shared some of his wonderful homemade red wine. ZoÃ?Â« is second from the right.