2017 Performers

in alphabetical order

Balkan E Boston

Balkan E Boston is Boston-based folk band that plays authentic Balkan music from Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, and Macedonia.

The members are Elena Mancheva, vocals; Zoran Matich, guitar and vocals; Goran Daskalov, saxophone and accordion; Petar Dimitrov, bass guitar.

Visit Balkan E Boston on Facebook.

Beth Bahia Cohen and Friends

Beth Cohen, a master of the violin and other stringed instruments, performs traditional music from Greece, Turkey, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, as well as original music.

Find out more about Beth at her website.

Lefteris Bournias

Lefteris Bournias is known internationally as one of the top clarinetists in traditional Greek music, performing at a variety of musical events and venues throughout America, Greece, and the rest of the world. He specializes in the duple syrto and the tsifteteli, both music styles of the Greek island of Chios, and tours annually throughout the island. Lefteris also performs traditional Greek demotika (including tsamika and epirotika) and is the founder and leader of the Kavala Brass Band, which plays traditional Greek music from the regions of Florina and Edessa of Western Macedonia.

Lefteris is also the founder and leader of Apollo Orchestras, serving the Greek-American community with high-quality traditional and modern Greek music and American music for over 25 years. His diverse style combines traditional Greek, Gypsy, classical, and jazz elements.

Visit Lefteris Bournias’ website for more information.


DÜNYA (the Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Greek word for “world”), a musicians’ collective, presents a cosmopolitan view of the world through the lens of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in conversation with the musics of the formerly Ottoman peoples—Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Arabs, Kurds, mystics—as well as with western and other world traditions. At this concert we will feature Turkish fasıl repertoire of Turkish art and folk music in its most infectious form.

The members of DÜNYA are Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, vocals and ud; Beth Bahia Cohen, violin; and George Lernis, percussion.

Learn more about DÜNYA at http://sanlikol.com/category/performer/turkish-music/ and at http://www.dunyainc.org.

Şaşar Veysel Tangosu
What A World – DÜNYA’s documentary film featuring Brenna MacCrimmon


Kavala plays brass dance music from Northern Greece and neighboring regions. Members include Lefteris Bournias (clarinet), Michael Ginsburg (trumpet), Catherine Foster (reeds), Morgan Clark (accordion), Belle Birchfield (baritone), Matt Moran (percussion), Don Godwin (bass and tuba), and Jerry Kisslinger (percussion).


Mierliţa (mir-LEE-tsa) plays rich, swingy, highly ornamented Romanian music in the lăutari (Roma or “Gypsy”) style. Intricate melodies and harmonies intertwine with an infectious jazz rhythm section to provide the core of this virtuosic quartet’s sound. Fiddlers Jon Cannon and Abigale Reisman, both students of Lautari master violinist Marin Bunea, bring a contemporary perspective to a full traditional repertoire alongside guitarist Sasha Kern and upright bassist Kirsten Lamb. Mierliţa has given acclaimed performances all over New England including appearances at the New England Folk Festival and previous Balkan Music Nights. Their full-length CD, Stranger in Chisinau, was released in March of 2015.

Visit www.mierlita.com.

Milo Destanovski and Friends

A Balkan blender band created especially for Balkan Music Night, Milo Destanovski (kaval, gajda, tapan), Jessica Ruiz (clarinet, tapan, vocals), and Melinda Fields (accordion) will perform music from the former Yugoslavia and beyond.

Visit Milo’s page on the EEFC website.
Visit Jessica’s page on the EEFC website.
Melinda has studied Balkan-style accordion with the legendary Bulgarian accordionist Ivan Milev. She leads the band Balkan Fields and has performed with Druzhina, Gogofski, and the Harris Brothers Balkan Band.

On Friday, March 17, please join the Folk Arts Center of New England for a Pre-Balkan Night Dance Workshop with Milo Destanovski and Jessica Ruiz at the Friday Folk Dance, 8-11 pm, Park Avenue Congregational Church, 50 Paul Revere Road, Arlington Heights, MA

Novi Maleševski Zurli

Led by renowned Macedonian Romani zurla player Milo Destanovski, Novi Maleševski Zurli performs high-energy Macedonian, Romani, and Albanian dance tunes. Milo will be joined by Jessica Ruiz on zurla and Jerry Kisslinger on tapan – a team that has thrilled audiences at EEFC's East Coast Balkan Camp and most recently at the 2017 Golden Festival in New York.
Visit Milo’s page on the EEFC website.
Visit Jessica’s page on the EEFC website.
Visit Jerry’s page on the EEFC website.

On Friday, March 17, please join the Folk Arts Center of New England for a Pre-Balkan Night Dance Workshop with Milo Destanovski and Jessica Ruiz at the Friday Folk Dance, 8-11 pm, Park Avenue Congregational Church, 50 Paul Revere Road, Arlington Heights, MA

Orkestar Banitsa

Orkestar Banitsa plays traditional music from Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece in many styles. The members of the band are Becky Ashenden, accordion and percussion; Barbara Blumenthal, tambura; Joe Blumenthal, string bass; Addie Rose Holland, clarinet; and Gawain Thomas, accordion.


Whether it’s a kolo or a drmeš, grab your friends and come dance with Boston's Croatian band, Pajdashi! This joyful and energetic chorus and band plays together often and is working on releasing its second CD.

The members of Pajdashi are Mari Young, Goga Strouch, Irena Stanic Rasin, Vesna Flanagan, Julie Kingman, Mirena Bagur, Janet Baker, Clare Stanley, Rebecca Starcevic, Joan Shear, Branko Kovacic, Ira Gessel, Bob Parr, Henry Goldberg, David Skidmore, Matt Shear, Katie DeWolf, Allan Chertok, Ralph Iverson, and Jerry Starcevic.

Visit Pajdashi on Facebook.

Zlatne Uste

Zlatne Uste (“Golden Lips”) is an internationally known group of American musicians playing brass music of the Balkans, representing Romany (Gypsy), Serbian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian traditions. A five-time invited guest of the Guča Brass Festival in Serbia and featured in the documentary Brasslands, Zlatne Uste is among the foremost presenters of traditional Balkan dance music in the U.S. Members include Belle Birchfield (baritone horn), Morgan Clark (baritone horn), Marian Eines (alto sax, vocals), Sarah Ferholt (trumpet), Catherine Foster (trumpet, alto sax, clarinet, vocals), Emily Geller (percussion), Michael Ginsburg (trumpet), Don Godwin (baritone horn), Tamberlaine Harris (trumpet), Emerson Hawley (tuba), Melinda Hunt (vocalist), Jerry Kisslinger (percussion), Kalun Leung (baritone), Seido Salifoski (percussion), Matthew Smith (baritone horn), and Gary Zema (baritone horn).

Visit Zlatne Uste’s website for more information.


Zornitsa (“Morning Star”), founded in 1992, is a Bulgarian chorus and orchestra of men from the Boston area, directed by Tatiana Sarbinska, acclaimed Bulgarian singer and teacher. Zornitsa rehearses once a week and performs traditional and urban Bulgarian songs at folk dances and festivals. For more information, contact Ira Gessel.

The members of Zornitsa are are Dean Brown, tambura and vocals; Ira Gessel, tambura and vocals; Henry Goldberg, dumbek, tapan, and vocals; Peter Hobbs, vocals; Ralph Iverson, gadulka, violin, and vocals; Tom Macdonald, vocals; Brad O’Neill, vocals; Patrick Yacono, gaida, kaval, and vocals; Jonathan Young, vocals; and Jordan Young, vocals.