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Andrea Rowe
original folk and blues
...Says Andy

(April 12, 1999).

Andrea talks about Croatia

I am Andrea Matulich, a.k.a. Andrea Rowe. I am of Croatian descent. When my father died a few years ago, in his belongings I found a family tree for the Arnerich family (on his mother's side).

With both of my parents gone, I felt compelled to find out about my heritage.

My dream was fulfilled last spring when my husband, Cheth, and I visited the island of Brac, in the Adriatic Sea near the city of Split in Croatia. I visited the tiny village of Dol where both of my paternal grandparents are from and was able to meet with distant relatives of the Arnerich and Matulich families.

This experience was one of the most incredible of my life. But it was somehow overshadowed by seeing the effects of war on this beautiful country.

Although Brac had barely been affected, we drove through a great deal of the country and we were amazed and sobered by what we saw. Having never been in a country torn apart by war (the Civil War was a long time ago) I couldn't believe my eyes. Whole towns and villages levelled. Empty. Sad and ghostly.

To see the beauty of this country, one minute the Adriatic & Plitvitcka Jezera (a series of twelve lakes cascading into one another - the most beautiful place I've ever seen) and then the ravages of war the next was almost to much to bear.

These are proud, beautiful people. They are warm and extremely generous with what little they have. They are humble.

So many have so little to begin with that when you see even that taken away it is unbelievable.

When I came home to the USA I wrote the song Just Like Us (Croatia). I wanted to paint the picture of my experience with words. We have so much abundance in this country and we take it all for granted.

When I heard what was happening in Kosovo I was appalled. I wanted to help but didn't know how. Under the full moon I prayed for help. "Do a benefit," came the reply.

"OK," I answered. "I know how to do that."

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