We thought it would be fun to gather together information about all the groups that have performed at Boston’s Balkan Music Night, ever since the first one in 1986! The year(s) in which each group has performed are shown in (parentheses). For most of the groups you can find more information, or a website, through a Google search (we don't list these here because over the years, sometimes they change). Enjoy!
Note: This file was last updated in February 2013.
Æ (Aurelia Lucy Shrenker and Eva Salina Primack) has been performing as a duo for a year. Aurelia and Eva have performed together in Europe, New York, and California and have just finished the preliminary sessions for their debut CD. Though the duo is relatively new, the two women bring together a deep knowledge of different vocal traditions, and create something new and daring with each song they sing together. They have chosen the name Æ (the joined a and e, officially pronounced “ash”) because it represents something of a dual nature—not singular, not plural, but exactly two. They primarily perform a cappella but enjoy accompanying themselves on dulcimer, accordion, and Georgian panduri. In addition to their upcoming CD, Æ recently contributed to the soundtrack of The Great Soviet Eclipse, the newest film produced under the auspices of the Museum of Jurassic Technology and the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Information. Æ's work is rooted in folk culture and never falls short of being visceral and provocative – in their music, the exuberance of youth and the reverence of ancient tradition coincide.
ADILOI is a Georgian a cappella choir from Choate Rosemary Hall - a high school in Wallingford, CT. While the word “Adiloi” does not mean anything, it is the first word of the first song we learned (“Imeruli Tskenosnuri”). Adiloi was formed in September of 2001 and has sung at a number of community events.
Akshambelah(1995, 1997) (see also The Balkan Question, Tito’s Revenge)
AKSHAMBELAH means “evening trouble” in Turkish. Christos Govetas (voice & clarinet), Ruth Hunter (voice & accordion) and Jerry Kisslinger (tapan) make akshambelah in the form of dance music from the border regions of Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey.
ANATOLIA is a western Massachusetts-based group of talented musicians whose dedication to Middle Eastern music has earned them wide acclaim at sold-out performances throughout New England. ANATOLIA recently performed music for an upcoming television documentary “The People’s Century”, produced by WGBH, Boston and the BBC. On April 12  the group will present an evening of music and dance in Deerfield, Massachusetts.back to the top
Ansambl Mastika(2006, 2011) (2006)
NYC-based ANSAMBL MASTIKA includes members of Zlatne Uste and The Zagnut Orkestar. They play original Balkan dance music in a style that Belle Birchfield has called ‘electro-Romany’. Members include: Greg Squared-sax/clarinet; Matthew Fass-accordion; Catherine Foster-sax/trumpet; Tev Stevig-guitar; Zach Lerman-bass; David Moore-drums.
(2011) With song styles ranging from the heart-wrenching clarinet ‘miroloi’ of northern Greece to the funkier chocheci of the Serbian and Macedonian Roma (gypsies); from the oriental mystery of Turkish chalgi ensembles and Middle Eastern orchestras to the driving power of Bulgarian wedding bands and Klezmer kapelye, ANSAMBL MASTIKA’s music is rooted in the myriad styles of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. The “New Balkan Uproar” of Ansambl Mastika, a joyful synthesis of these tumultuous sounds and irresistible grooves with jazz, funk, rock and other exotic Western styles, captivates audiences on the dance floor, in the concert hall, and at the festival stage, leaving them breathless and clamoring for more.
Becky Ashenden & Friends(see also NEMA, Orijent Express, Xopo)
BEZ VEZA (“riff-raff/nonsense”) is made up of fun-loving characters from southern Vermont and western Massachusetts. Their rendition of traditional Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian and Bulgarian songs and dance tunes will liven up any dance party or coffeehouse.
BECKY ASHENDEN & FRIENDS will play Bulgarian-style music for dancing, including their own compositions and improvisations. Becky’s friends of the evening include Bill Tomczak on clarinet, Ruthie Dornfeld with her electric fiddle, Ellie Thomas on tupan (large drum), Danny Noveck on electric guitar, and Leah Weiss on electric bass.
(1993) BECKY ASHENDEN & FRIENDS Catherine Foster (clarinet) and Ellie Thomas (tupan-large drum) will play Bulgarian music for dancing. This trio so enjoyed playing together at the Balkan Music and Dance Workshop in Buffalo Gap, West Virginia, that they have decided to prolong the experience.
(1996) BECKY ASHENDEN & CHUCK CORMAN will be joined by HENRY GOLDBERG with the use of duck tape and dental floss. If it works, they will be playing some Bulgarian favorites!
(1997) NEMA (New England Music Addicts) Becky Ashenden, Chuck Corman, Doug Feeney and Joe Blumenthal will present a Serbian set tonight. They play a variety of Balkan music styles in Western Massachusetts, together with various friends from up and down the Connecticut River valley. Some of those friends just might help out with vocals and percussion.
(1999, 2001) Orijent Express enjoys making musical stops from Istanbul to Paris (and most certainly beyond). Tonight’s stop is Serbia, featuring Becky Ashenden and Chuck Corman on accordion, Mary Lea on violin, Doug Feeney on guitar, and Joe Blumenthal on bass.
a group of virtuosi a dazzling ensemble of smooth-sounding group an unruly bunch of musicians from western Massachusetts, upstate New York and perhaps elsewhere, will be playing a set of Tamburica music for dancing. Critics have raved OK, they’ve never actually been thrown out of anyplace yet. Not really. What they do have is an enthusiasm for their music, an assortment of performing experience, and a willingness to share their enjoyment of tamburica music with others. Oh, yeah, they have their instruments, too. And they sing, some. Try ’em out.
Balkan Express Boston(2009, 2010)
BALKAN EXPRESS BOSTON was formed in Nov 2007 by a group of enthusiasts from former Yugoslavia who are young at heart, though not necessarily young in years. The group members have beeen living in the Boston area between 10 and 20 years, which explains our name, Balkan Express Boston. But we are also known by other names. The group performed at Balkan Music Night for the first time in March of 2008, presenting sevdah music from Bosnia and Hercegovina under the name “Baščaršia”. Our group has also performed on many occasions under the name “Svilen Konac” (‘silken thread’).
Being true lovers of music, we do not limit ourselves a single region. We present the music and traditions from each and every republic of former Yugoslavia, the country in which we all grew up. We also play music from other European countries, as well as music from United States.
We really truly enjoy what we are doing, and we hope that tonight you will feel this in your hearts and enjoy our choice of music with us.
The Balkan Question(1994) (see also Akshambelah, Tito’s Revenge)
THE BALKAN QUESTION plays traditional music from all sides of the socio-politico-geographically questionable border of the “M” region. Ruth Hunter (accordion, voice, tamboura), Christos Govetas (clarinet, voice), and Mohammed Mejaour (percussion) will perform music for both dancing and listening.
Balkankan(see also MACONE Macedonian Band, Menada Macedonian Band) (2008)
BALKANKAN is a recently-formed local band that performs at various events playing Macedonian and Serbian music throughout New England. With the sounds of the “Kolo”, “Oro” and “Cocek”, they will bring you for a moment to the hilly Balkan party ambiance.
Balkanski Glasove/Kolevi 6(1997)
BALKANSKI GLASOVE (“Balkan Voices”), a Bulgarian group under the artistic direction of Nikolai Kolev, performs traditional and arranged music from the Thracian, Rhodope and Pirin regions. The full ensemble includes singers, instrumentalists and dancers. They have fascinated audiences in England, Israel, Japan, Spain, Korea, and the U.S. Tonight we will hear Donka and Nikolai Kolev and Roumen Rodopski, three of the group’s core members, assisted by Radoy Georguiev.
(2000, 2001) KOLEVI 6. It is said that Orpheus, whose music could move trees and soften stones, was from Thrace. So are the Kolev family. Nikolai Kolev has been playing the fiddle-like Bulgarian gadulka since he was 10. His wife Donka and their daughters Penka and Maria all sing like angels. As Kolevi 6, they are joined by Americans Adam Good on tambura and guitar and Matt Moran on tupan and dumbek. Together their music is uniquely Bulgarian, a blend of eastern and western influences that is both hypnotic and powerful.
BALKANSKI MOTIVI is a new trio that plays music from all over the Balkans. Comprised of Tev Stevig (guitar, oud), Jordan Scannella (electric bass), and Vesselin Nedeltchev (percussion), the group takes a unique, modern approach to the material by focusing on improvisation and interplay while retaining the music's folk characteristics. Balkanski Motivi is regularly featured at Sabur Restaurant and Lounge's “kefana Saturdays” in Somerville, MA, and will embark on it's first tour of Eastern Europe this summer at the invitation of violinist Georgi Yanev.
BAŠČARŠIJA is a group of “young enthusiasts” with a great love for music, who came together as a band several months ago. For tonight, they have chosen a group of sevdalinke (“songs of love”, from the word sevdah, “love”) to represent authentic Bosnian music.
Bashkimi(Albanian dance ensemble) (1997, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2012)
The Albanian Folk Dancers, known as the “BASHKIMI” GROUP, perform at community events and festivals in the Boston area. Under the directon of Bashkim Braho, the group performs dances from all regions of Albania, seeking to preserve their Albanian dance heritage and to share typical Albanian dances with the community at large.
Bez Granica(2008; see also The All-Star Family Brass Band)
BEZ GRANICA (“without borders”, “without limits”) – Created by friends and family, the all-star cast includes current and former members of Zlatne Uste, BamCo, Xopo, and other well known Balkan bands. Drawing from the Rom Brass repertoire of the Balkans, you will find this an engaging musical and dance experience that moves you beyond your current limits.
Hector Bezanis & Lauren Brody(1988)
HECTOR BEZANIS & LAUREN BRODY have been performing for Bulgarian community groups and cultural organizations for some twenty years. They have both traveled extensively in Bulgaria, studying folk music and culture. Lauren is a singer and instrumentalist, playing accordion and gadulka. Hector plays gaida, and has studied the making of folk instruments in Bulgaria with regional masters. Tonight they will present Thracian/Black Sea songs and melodies, and Shope melodies.
Black Sea Hotel(2009)
BLACK SEA HOTEL emerged in Brooklyn in the spring of 2007. The quartet invokes the shimmering, angelic harmonies made famous by Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, even as they create their own inimitable gutsy sound, with driving, rhythmic vocals and harmonies saturated in a sonic playground. Solo or two-voiced village songs are rethought to accommodate the dimensions of a quartet, arrangements written for large choirs are transformed for four voices, and the quartet composes their own unique arrangements. With deep reverence to other arranging styles in the canon, they’ve found new ways to use melody, harmony and rhythm to tell ancient stories.
Blue Blazes Black(2003)
Blending their eclectic backgrounds in traditional, world, jazz, blues, rock, classical, medieval, Cajun and African music, this trio is firmly rooted in folk idioms yet freely adds their own spice. Balkan Night audiences have heard Alan Mattes (soprano/tenor saxes, Turkish clarinet, duduk, ney, riqq) as a past member of Zornitsa, and Susan Robbins (vocals, keyboard, oud, saz) as the founder and Artistic Director of Libana; joined with exquisite percussionist Tom Macdonald, they create a unique fusion of the traditional and contemporary with improvisations on Balkan and Middle Eastern melodies.
back to the top
The BICOASTALS are here again! You may be wondering where they’ve been... It’s true their existence is somewhat nebulous, but rest assured they will be fabulous! The band will up and play their best if all join in and dance U shest.
Sophia Bilides(1986, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999)
Vocalist SOPHIA BILIDES has performed rural and urban songs from the mainland, island, and Asia Minor traditions of Greece, for listening and dancing, since 1980. Recent highlights include a new compact disc and cassette “Greek Legacy”, a West Coast tour, and a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to research Greek songs from her Asia Minor heritage.
In 1991 Sophia is joined by Rohan Gregory on violin and Tom Babbin on laouto; in 1992 by Freddie Elias (violo), Eleni Kalantzopoulou (clarino), Tom Babbin (laouto), and Mike Gregian (dumbeleki); in 1993 and 1994 by her husband Tom Babbin on laouto (lute); in 1996, 1998, and 2000 by Tom Babbin on guitar and Mike Gregian on doumbeleki; in 1999 by Tom Babbin on guitar and Jack Zarzatian on doumbeleki.
back to the top
Boston Lykeion Ellinidon(2006)
The Lykeion ton Ellinidon, Boston Chapter, known as the BOSTON LYKEION ELLINIDON, is engaged in researching, teaching, and collecting Hellenic folk culture and folk art and serving as a central resource and a referral source for these. As the word implies, folklore is used to mean knowledge derived from ethnic traditions, passed on “from the people”, from generation to generation. The mission of the BLE therefore is to preserve Hellenic folk culture and traditions for future generations. Director Irene Savas, a second-generation Greek-American with a lifelong love of dance, founded the group in 1986. Based in Cambridge, MA, while a teenage component, “V.E.V.A.”, is centered in Manchester, NH, the BLE is composed of dancers who are American-born along with those who have come here from Greece for advanced studies and other pursuits. It engenders camaraderie and friendship as it meets twice weekly to learn the exciting dances and suites of mainland regions and the islands of Greece. It performs at community events, public and private gatherings, festivals and at national dance conventions and seminars throughout New England, as well as in other parts of the United States. Accompaniment is by authentic musical renditions. Enhancing the group’s performance is its elaborate and colorful regional attire researched for authenticity of style, color and embellishment. The BLE has performed on stage with visiting musical ensembles from Greece and in its own productions, most notable being “Gamos, Greek Wedding Celebrations” in 2003. The talented dancers participate for the joy of dancing and the exhilaration of expressing oneself though the artistry and beauty of Greek dance steps, and to impart the authenticity of the dances to their audiences. Most importantly, learning and performing the dances of their heritage with pride and zeal as they do, enriches their lives and assures the preservation of these traditions for future generations. Balkan Night ’06 performers include Dimitrios Andritsos, Elizabeth Badavas, Voula Christopoulos, Mercy Deleidi, Anna Eliopoulos, Anna Gegeshidze, Melina Georgantas, Jordan Karagiannides, Andrea Messina, Gregory Savas, Michael Savas and Sandra Theodorou. Members of the performing group are available to instruct and presently do teach classes for children, adults and conduct private lessons. The BLE hosts monthly community Greek dancing for adults in Watertown MA where all levels are welcome to learn and simply to enjoy the dancing.
Bulgarika(2011) Bulgarika was formed in 2006 by a group of expatriate Bulgarian musicians based in New York City. Each band member has an exceptional history of scholarship and performance and serves as an outstanding representative of his or her musical specialty within the field of Bulgarian music. All are natives of Bulgaria now living and working in the U.S.
Cambridge Folk Orchestra(1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1998, 1999)
The CAMBRIDGE FOLK ORCHESTRA (CFO) has been playing for international folk dancing since the mid-1960s. Nine members make up the group at the moment; most play multiple instruments, allowing a wide ranging repertoire from Balkan to Scandinavian and beyond. They run a second-Friday monthly dance party in Arlington, MA and also play for festivals, private parties, weddings and special events.
back to the top
Beth Bahia Cohen(1994, 1995, 1996)
KARAVANI is a four-piece band playing traditional music from Greece for dancing and listening. Beth Cohen, Christos Govetas, Ruth Hunter and Mohammed Mejaour draw from a broad range of musical traditions and instrumentation, featuring violin, voice, laouto, bouzouki, oud, clarinet, accordion, percussion, and more.
(1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)
BETH COHEN & CHRISTOS GOVETAS play traditional Greek folk music and rebetika, as well as Turkish, Hungarian, Arabic, and their own improvised music. Christos is a native of Seres, Macedonia. Beth performs music from Mediterranean and Eastern European cultures on the violin and other bowed instruments.
BETH COHEN & DEMETRIOS TASHIE: Beth Cohen plays Greek violin with Ziyiá, Turkish bowed tanbur with the EurAsia Ensemble, and violin with the Klezmer Conservatory Band and many other groups. Jim Demetrios Tashie plays laouto, percussion and gaida, and has danced with the Greek American Folklore Society for many years. Tonight Beth and Jim will play Greek Island dances on violin and laouto.
BETH BAHIA COHEN & FRIENDS: Beth Cohen is of Syrian Sephardic and Ukrainian Ashkenazic heritage. Inspired at a young age by the sounds she heard at family gatherings, she later studied with master musicians from Hungary, Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. She currently performs with several groups including Ziyiá and Orkestra Keyif. Demetrios Tashie, a former president of the Greek American Folklore Society in Astoria, NY, plays laouto, percussion, gaida and zourna. Playing with Beth and Demetrios in 2001 were Paul Brown, Karim Mohammed, and Brenna MacCrimmon. In 2002 she played a set of Greek music “From the Islands to the Black Sea” with Demetrios Tashie, Brenna MacCrimmon, and Karim Mohammed.
(2003, 2004, 2006, 2008)
Beth Bahia Cohen is of Syrian Jewish and Ukrainian Jewish heritage. Inspired at a young age by the sounds she heard at family gatherings, she later studied with master musicians from Hungary, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. She currently performs with several groups including Ziyiá and Orkestra Keyif. Beth has brought us a variety of music, including a set of Greek music “From the Islands to the Black Sea” with Demetrios Tashie, Brenna MacCrimmon, and Paul Brown, and set of Greek music mostly from Western Pontos with Panayotis League, Paul Brown, and Jerry Kisslinger. Beth has been performing solo concerts called “The Art of the Bow” and has a new solo CD called “Weaving the Worlds”. (2009)
Beth played with John Apazadis.
Beth played a set of Greek island dances with Demetri Tashie (laouto).
BETH BAHIA COHEN (violin), Dean Lampros (sandouri), Demetri Tashie (laouto), and Joe Teja (oud and guitar) presented a selection of Nissiótika and Smyrneë:ka, two intertwined traditions covering a wide range of dance music from the Greek islands and the bygone Greek communities of Asia Minor and combining influences from both East and West. Their set celebrates the connection between Smyrna and the islands of the eastern Aegean and the cabaret tradition known as Café Aman.
back to the top
Cinder Conk(2011, 2012)
CINDER CONK plays music drawn from the Black Sea—the wellspring of Europe’s deepest and most diverse musical traditions. It is the sound of celebration and lament of those who have lived on its coast over thousands of years - Roma, Jews, peasants, and nationalists. Cinder Conk weaves frenzied accordion riffs (Matthew Schreiber) with warm double bass counterpoint (Xar Adelberg) to create a sound that's energetic, gripping, winsome and haunting.
Cinder Conk has shared the stage with Slavic Soul Party, Fishtank Ensemble, and The Toughcats.
Matt Schreiber has been praised for both his original compositions and his fluency in Balkan accordion styles. Matt has spent several years in Europe studying with some of the brightest lights in Eastern European accordion music - Alan Bern, Petar Ralchev, Dejan Jovanovic, and Slavic Soul Party’s Peter Stan. He has toured extensively throughout the Baltic Sea region with sailing circus troupe Compagnie Aquanaut, and has composed for films from the United States, France, Iceland, Spain, and Germany.
Double bass player Xar Adelberg hold a Bachelor’s of Music in Jazz from the University of Maine at Augusta. She's spent the last four years on the road with Gypsy jazz trio Ameranouche, prior to which she was immersed in the study of modern lunatic-fringe/avant-garde and free jazz masters including Tony Malaby, Frank Carlberg, and John Hollenbeck.
A Different Village(1993)
A DIFFERENT VILLAGE comes from the Hartford area. It plays regularly for international folk dances and other musical events in Connecticut, and has performed at the New England Folk Festival for the last several years.
Divi Zheni(2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011)
DIVI ZHENI (“Wild Women”) is a Bulgarian women’s chorus and band none of whose members come from Bulgaria–except for director Tatiana Sarbinska, Bulgarian folk singer and teacher extraordinaire. Formed in 2000, Divi Zheni has performed concert and dance music–ranging from traditional village style to choral arrangements–at festivals, concerts, and dances in the Boston area, Connecticut, New York, and Bulgaria.
back to the top
Djerdan (Tufts Balkan Ensemble)(1986, 1987, 1988, 1989)
DJERDAN blends traditional and modern instruments in its unique arrangements of Yugoslav folk melodies. Slavko Silic, a native of Sarajevo, directs the group and composes and arranges its concert repertoire. The collective experience of Djerdan’s members spans the globe’s many music and dance traditions, enhancing the character of its sound. Tonight, Djerdan presents a medley of four songs from Macedonia, arranged especially for them and their friends from Yale University.
Družina(2006 [as Dunya], 2007, 2008)
DUNYA/DRUŽINA is a group of four instrumentalists and one singer: two from the Balkans, three American-born. The word “Dunya” exists in many languages, meaning “world” or “all the people”. The musical mix emphasizes Bulgarian dance music, played on both bitov and modern instruments, with occasional excursions into Macedonia, Greece and Serbia. The group performs in concert venues, at folk dance festivals and at the Bulgarian restaurant SOFIA in New London, CT. Members of the band also conduct educational workshops in Balkan music and dance for school-aged through college-level students. Members (past and present) include Melinda Fields (accordion), Helen Marx (tupan, tarambuka), Rumiana Kovacheva (tambura), Gordana Strouch (vocals), and Flora van Wormer (gudulka, bass, cello), and Joe Blumenthal (bass).
(2010, 2011) DRUŽINA (“a group of friends”) brings together U.S. and Balkan-born musicians playing an exciting mix of dance music from the Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Romany traditions. We are led by Bulgarian accordionist extaordinaire Ivan Milev, and we play many of his original dance tunes. Druzina also features our vivacious Serbian singer Gordana Strouch. The band's rhythm section is made up of Rumiana Kovacheva on tambura, Joe Blumenthal on bass and Helen Marx on percussion. The band was founded about five years ago by accordionist Melinda Fields, and has been playing in its current configuration for dance parties in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York for about a year.
DÜNYA (the Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Greek word for “world”) is a non-profit, educational organization located in Boston. Its goal is to present a contemporary view of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in interaction with other world traditions, through performance, recording, publication and other educational activities. One of our main interests has been producing concerts and CD productions which brought Greeks and Turks together. As a result of this one of our most significant successes have been the international release of our recent production of the first CD where Greek and Turkish Cypriots presented traditional music from Cyprus together! Due to the success of this project we were recently invited to NPR’s “Here and Now with Robin Young” and PRI’s “The World” to discuss the project on the air.
This past Summer our bi-communal band also performed in Famagusta and the concert attracted both Turkish and Greek Cypriot audiences. Since DÜNYA’s Traditional Cypriot Music Ensemble has members that live outside of the US, in this program we’ll bring you a smaller version of our band, however with the same spirit of “friendship”, which made our project possible.
back to the top
Turgay Ertürk(1994, 1995, 1996, 1997,1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
TURGAY ERTÜRK was born and raised in Ürgüp, a small town in Central Anatolia, Cappadocia, Turkey. He started playing saz (baĝlama) at the age of fifteen. A master saz player and singer, he plays Anadolu, İstanbul and Rumeli türküleri (Anatolian, İstanbul and Balkan Turkish folk songs) for listening, dancing, and entertainment. He also plays oud and yaylı (bowed) tanbur for both Ottoman court music (Turkish classical music) and for its simpler form: Turkish urban music. His CD “Turkish Village Music with Saz” is available from the Folk Arts Center of New England.
back to the top
The EurAsia Ensemble is a Boston-based group which has been studying, performing and teaching the classical and religious music of Turkey since 1979. Their repertoire includes instrumental and vocal music of the Ottoman court tradition, sufi ceremonial music, village-based dance music and taksim (improvisation). Members of the ensemble include Beth Cohen, bowed tanbur and violin, Robert Labaree, çeng (Ottoman harp) and percussion, Frederick Stubbs, ney (end-blown flute).
Evo Nas(1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994)
EVO NAS is a Boston-based group which performs traditional music of the Balkans. The group, whose name means “Here we are!” in Serbo-Croatian, has been presenting this music both in concert and for folk dancing since 1975. Evo Nas uses authentic instruments - including the gaida (bagpipe), gadulka (Bulgarian fiddle), kaval (flute), tambura (lute) and tapan (drum) - and traditional vocal styles. In retirement since 1990, the group continued to come together to perform at Balkan Music Night until 1994.
back to the top
Flying Balkanears(1986, 1987)
The FLYING BALKANEERS (Alan Bern, Bill Tomczak, and Dana Moser) played dance music for the Folk Arts Center of New England and other events around the Boston Area, with a special ear for music of the Balkans. The group won a prize at the First US Bulgarian Folk Music Festival (Pittsburgh, PA, 1982), where the panel of judges included Kiril Stefanov, director of the Pirin Ensemble, and other folklore experts from Bulgaria.
Flying Tomatoes(1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997)
FLYING TOMATOES has been playing together since 1991; they play every month for the Folk Arts Center’s dance parties, as well as other venues. Musical influences on FT’s styling include Yanni Roussos, Tatiana Sarbinska, Koliu Kolev, Kalman Balough, George Mrgrdijian, Eric Satie, Sofia Vicoveancu, Edith Piaf, John Lennon, John Coltrane and Theo van Thol. Their CD, “Rags to Rachenitsas”, is available at the Folk Arts Center table in the lobby. Flying Tomatoes favors new and exciting interpretations of traditional Balkan music to which you can do your favorite basic Balkan dances.
GAITANI is a group of three Bulgarian folk musicians who used to play on a regular basis at the Borovets mountain resort in Bulgaria. They are singer Pepa Koutcheva, gaida player Kiril Ketev, and tapan and kaval player Ivailo Koutchev.
back to the top
Gogofski/The Gogofski Trio(2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
The GOGOFSKI TRIO, a group comprised of Dave Golber (clarinet), Henry Goldberg (drums), Colin Ferguson (accordion), and Heather Lee (vocals). The trio does gutsy Macedonian music, sometimes straying across borders into other countries, and prefers to play out on the floor with the dancers, rather than up there on the stage.
(2010, 2011, 2012)
GOGOFSKI is Melinda Fields (accordion), Dave Golber (clarinet), Henry Goldberg (drums), and Corinna Snyder (vocals). Gogofski plays music from the Republic of Macedonia and thereabouts, for concert and dance. Gogofski plays a program of killer songs
Grachanitsa(musical ensemble) (2000)
GRACHANITSA is an ensemble composed of three performers from different republics of the former Yugoslavia, who are all currently living and studying in the Boston area. Snezhana Stosic (from Surdulica, a small town in south-east Serbia) has been singing since she was four. She will be joined by Slobodan Mitrovic (from Sarajevo), who plays accordion and other keyboard instruments, and Boris Salic (from Banja Luka).
Grachanitsa(Serbian dance ensemble) (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
GRACHANITSA is a Boston area group of folk enthusiast that explores rich heritage of folk dancing and music from different parts of the former Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Its members hail from different parts of the Balkans and from the USA and Canada. Under the direction of Djordje Koldžić, a professional dancer of many years and soloist with The National Folk Ballet of Yugoslavia “Branko Krsmanović, Grachanitsa will give you a surprising look at the inspiring dances of the Balkans.
back to the top
Greek Dance Bands(1997) Jack Zarzatian is a versatile instrumentalist and vocalist whose repertoire includes Armenian, Turkish, Greek and Arabic, classical, folk and contemporary music. He has performed with a number of groups, and has been widely recorded. Tonight he is joined by Joseph Kouyoumjian on oud, Dick Barsamian on dumbek, and other friends.
(1998) John Mitaris, a first-generation Greek-American, has been playing bouzouki for 33 years, from local clubs to the National Folk Festival, and is the founder of New England’s Scorpios Orchestra. He is joined tonight by Jimmy Speros on guitar and Peter Kyvelos on outi. These three recently established the Greek Music Society, a monthly meeting of Grecophiles who enjoy exploring and learning about Greek music.
(2002, 2005) Costas Maniatakos began playing oud in his early twenties. For the last 35 years he has played Greek and Middle-Eastern music with his own and other bands. He plays on Wednesday nights at the Middle East Restaurant in Cambridge, and Thursday & Friday nights at the Athenian Corner Restaurant in Lowell, with the great Fred Elias.
(2005) Rembetika with Heather Kuhn & Friends
back to the top
Gypsy Cab(1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)
GYPSY CAB is a group of Americans who play folk music from the Southern Balkans in contemporary Romany style, using electric guitar, bass and drums accompanying saxophone, clarinet and violin. The rhythms (typically 7/16, 8/16, 9/16), the modal scales, and the improvisational solos all reflect the influence of Indian, Turkish and Arabic music. This is exciting music with an exotic sound and a driving beat.
Merita Halili & Raif Hyseni(1999)
MERITA HALILI is one of the most famous Albanian singers of her generation, setting the standard for the central Albanian urban vocal style. Born in Tiranë, she attained her degree there from the Music High School in classical vocal music and accordion. Recognized early as a gifted folk singer, she toured throughout Europe as a soloist with the Albanian State Ensemble for Folk Songs and Dance. Merita has performed for television and radio, has made many recordings, and throughout her career has won numerous awards for her singing, including at the prestigious National Folklore Festival in Gjirokastër. She will be accompanied by her husband RAIF HYSENI, one of Kosova’s best-known accordionists.
back to the top
The Harris Brothers Balkan Band(2008, 2010)
The HARRIS BROTHERS BALKAN BAND – Tight Harmonies, driving rhythm, and inventive arrangements – the brothers are expressing themselves in Balkan, Roma style.
Horo Na Pesen(1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
“HORO NA PESEN” describes a Bulgarian village tradition of dancing to a song, rather than to instrumental music. Traditionally there are two small groups of singers, but at Balkan Music Night we invite everyone to join in the singing (“the band is US!”), and sometimes we have instrumental accompaniment. The words are in the program booklet–please sing with us!
Hye Fusion(2007, 2008)
HYE FUSION is an American born trio of well seasoned musicians who perform the music of all of the Middle East, resulting in a dynamic synergy of melodies and rhythms, ranging from classical to folk, employing current and traditional instrumentation. Tonight Malcolm Barsamian (oud, clarinet, saxophone); Harry Bedrossian (oud, keyboard); Charles Dermenjian (darbuka) will play Turkish music.
Izgori(1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000)
IZGORI literally translates from the Macedonian as “to be consumed by fire, to burn up”. The word is commonly used in songs to convey how one is burning with love for someone. Such passion for Macedonian village (ital)izvorna muzika brought a number of singers and instrumentalists together in 1993 to create IZGORI the band. Individually these people have been performing for many years; together, the band has played in the New York City area, Toronto, and the East Coast Balkan Music Camp.
Jeni Jol(2006, 2008, 2012)
JENI JOL (“New Path”) is based in both Boston and NYC and plays mostly Turkish influenced Macedonian urban music called čalgija. Led by Tev Stevig on oud and cümbüş, the group's other performers at Balkan Night have included Brian O’Neill (percussion), Chris Veilleux (clarinet, ney), Greg Squared (clarinet), Katt Hernandez (violin), and Henry Goldberg
KADIFE is a New York-based band performing mostly repertoire from the traditions of Southern Albania. Kadife is Eva Salina Primack (accordion, voice), Catherine Foster (clarinet, voice), Demetri Tashie (laouto), and Kazuki Kozuru-Salifoska (percussion). Our violinist is Jesse Kotansky, who won't be able to join us at Balkan Night because he'll be either in Istanbul or Skopje. Poor thing...
A native of Santa Cruz, California, Eva Salina Primack has been studying, performing, and teaching Balkan music for most of her life. She has traveled and performed internationally, worked with many well-known Balkan and American musicians, and currently lives in Brooklyn. In addition to her work with Kadife, Eva performs with Æ, Slavic Soul Party!, the Italian balkan/jazz project Opa Cupa, Which Way East, and Seido Salifoski's Romski Boji. Past collaborations and projects include work with Edessa, Tzvetanka Varimezova, and KITKA (www.kitka.org).
Kazuki Kozuru-Salifoska has been a student of dumbek (darabouka, tabla, however you want to call it) for about 15 years. She has studied dumbek under several notable teachers - Souhail Kaspar, Susu Pampanin, and Seido Salifoski among them. She has also studied Latin Conga to deepen her sense of rhythm and complexity. She has been performing in New York City area in various styles, from Rebetiko (Greek traditional) with Eros Taksimi, American Tribal bellydance with Rockabelly and Kassar, off-Broadway bellydance show Goddessdance with Jehan Kamal, to the rather Eurocentric group, Karpathos, at the New York Renaissance Faire and Southern Connecticut Renaissance Faire.
Catherine Foster has been playing and singing Balkan music for 30 years. She has toured internationally and recorded with the Yuri Yunakov Ensemble and Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band, and can be heard on the Ansambl Mastika CD "Gde si, Bre?." In addition to Kadife, Catherine is a founding member of Kavala Brass Band and the vocal ensemble Urban Women Village Songs.
Demetri Tashie's love of Greek music and dance began at a very early age. As an adult, he developed a passion for the folk music, rituals, costumes and crafts associated with the varied regional cultures of rural Greece. Besides playing music and dancing, Demetri travels frequently to Greece and makes documentaries on various folk rituals and celebrations of village life. Demetri has an extensive folk instrument collection, and lectures on these instruments as well as many other aspects of Greek folk culture. In addition to teaching Greek Folk Dance, he is a judge at the various Folk Dance Federation competitions held on both coasts of the US. Demetri's Greek Folk Ensemble performed at the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage in November of 2008. In addition to Kadife, Demetri performs with Beth Bahia Cohen, the Greek Folk Ensemble, and Astoriani. back to the top
KAVALA was formed several years ago, mostly to play the rich brass repertoire of Northern Greece. The group's repertoire has expanded to include Rom music and music of the Southern Balkans. The group consists of Jerry Kisslinger on percussion, Belle Birchfield on baritone, Morgan Clark on accordion, Paul Brown on bass, Catherine Foster on clarinet, sax and trumpet, and Michael Ginsburg on trumpet. Lefteris Bournias (clarinet) and Matt Moran (percussion) also play with Kavala, but will not be joining them at BMN '06.
Kalin Kirilov & Friends(2009
KALIN KIRILOV teaches Music Theory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He received a PhD in Music Theory and a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Folklore from the University of Oregon. Mr. Kirilov obtained a BA from the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. His current research focuses on the classical and traditional music of Eastern Europe. Mr. Kirilov’s dissertation, “Harmony in Bulgarian Music,” traces the development of harmonic languages in Bulgarian music, starting from the earliest examples of triadic harmonizations and concluding with the incorporation of modern jazz harmony. A master of multiple instruments, Mr. Kirilov has performed extensively in Bulgaria and Western Europe. In 2003 and 2005, he toured the United States with Ivo Papazov, founder of the Balkan jazz style and recipient of the 2005 BBC audience award in the world music category.
back to the top
KOLIU KOLEV is an accordion teacher, performer, recording artist and former soloist with the orchestra “Horo” in Rousse (Bulgaria) and on Bulgarian National Radio & TV, Koliu has appeared at Balkan Music Night in the past, in a supportive role. Tonight we get a chance to hear his own beautiful singing.
MAVROTHI KONTANIS is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and teacher born and raised in the US, but with roots in Halkidiki, Greece. Mavrothi’s main instrument is the oud, and he has studied and performed with many of the world’s top players, including Münir N. Beken, Emin Gündüz, John Berberian, Kyriakos Kalaitzides, Yurdal Tokcan, Joseph and James Tawadros and Ara Dinkjian, among others. His passion for performing is matched by his love of teaching and composing music. By keeping an open mind and drawing from his diverse experiences as both a Greek and an American, Mavrothi creates music that is both Eastern and Western, old and new. Mavrothi has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, can be heard on numerous recordings and movie soundtracks, and is the leader and founding member of the Maeandros Ensemble. For tonight’s performances he will be joined by David Bilides on percussion.
KUD “Boston Sevdah”(2009, 2010, 2011)
The Cultural Artistic Society (“Kulturno Umjetnicko Drustvo” or KUD) “BOSTON SEVDAH” will be celebrating three years of existence in April 2010. It was created as a vital part of Bosnian Community Center for Resource Development, Inc.’s program “Heritage”, whose mission is to preserve traditions and culture within the Bosnian community in Massachusetts, along with our publication “Izvor”.
BOSTON SEVDAH has four major groups, each run by its self-appointed leader:
- Our first and “oldest” group is the group of women age 35 and over, as well as several men from the community. They perform traditional folk dances and create their own choreographies and costumes for each performance. The most distinguished part of their performance is reproduction of the old rural traditions from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They include traditional Bosnian settings, story telling, dancing and singing. These elements in fact represent customs and values not commonly seen otherwise.
- Our second group is a group of young women age 18-25. This group is very enthusiastic and combines tradition with elements of modern choreography. The beauty of this program is presented in collaboration among elder and younger members in costume creation and shared ideas for settings.
- The teen group is run by members of the first and second groups. Our teens find this a wonderful opportunity to spend their after-school time in creative activities and learning about their homeland.
- Our most vibrant group is the children’s group. We have over 20 children involved, supervised and taught by their older partners. They perform traditional dances and their leaders create costumes, scenes and choreographies for them.
Our KUD has already had 6 public performances, each one bringing over 400 people together. The KUD Boston Sevdah is a member of Sevdah North America, Inc.
back to the top
LES MISÉRABLES BRASS BAND, an undeniable presence on the world music brass band scene, grew out of an “after hours hobby” of a core of players from the Klezmer Conservatory band and other major players on the Boston world music scene, including Matt Darriau, David Harris, Frank London, Charlie Berg, and others.
LEXICON is a New York-based band led by Radi Gueorguiev, an internationally-known virtuoso player of keyboard and bouzouki. A unique interpreter and composer of Bulgarian and Eastern Europian folk music, Radi has performed extensively in Greece, Germany, Norway, Cyprus, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Playing with him tonight are Filip Iliev (saxophone), Kevo Hazarian (drums), Pavel Peev (accordion), Georgi Georgiev (gadulka).
Libana(1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 2006)
Since 1979, LIBANA has been performing a richly varied tapestry of traditional, contemporary, secular and spiritual music and dance of the world's women. From cultures as divergent as Algeria, Nepal, Malaysia, Iran, Bolivia, Israel, Hawaii, Bulgaria and beyond, Libana’s repertoire illuminates the rich diversity and commonality of human experience.
The vocal music of the Balkans, both arranged and in village style, has captivated these seven singers for the last 26 years, and they have collectively and individually studied with Tatiana Sarbinska over the last decade. Based in Boston, Libana has brought their unique global perspective on women’s creative expressions and cultural identity to audiences internationally; during the summer of 1996, Libana performed across Bulgaria, including at the Varna International Folk Festival on the Black Sea.
Members of Libana: Lisa Bosley, Allison Coleman, Charlotte Miller, Marytha Paffrath, Susan Robbins (Founder and Artistic Director), Linda Ugelow, Cheryl Weber. back to the top
Ludo Mlado(2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012)
LUDO MLADO is a semi-professional dance group based in Boston, MA. Its Bulgarian choreographer, Petre Petrov, is a former professional dancer from the Bulgarian State Ensemble “Rodopa”. By training dancers and doing performances at cultural events in Boston and elsewhere in the US, the group endeavors to preserve and spread awareness of the rich dance traditions of Bulgarian and the Balkan people.
Brenna MacCrimmon/Orkestra Keyif(2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006)
BRENNA MacCRIMMON began to seek out Balkan and Turkish musicians in Toronto over 15 years ago, and visited Greece and Turkey several times. She later lived and studied in Istanbul, and did research with people of Rumeli (Balkan-Turkish) descent. Her Thracian Rom (Gypsy) band in Turkey, “Karsilama”, made an album which was nominated for a Juno award in 1998. Her newest band, “Orkestra Keyif”, came into being at the Mendocino Balkan Music & Dance Workshop.
(2001) Brenna is joined by Beth Cohen on violin, Paul Brown on bass and Karim Mohammed on percussion.
(2002) Brenna and Beth are joined by Karim Mohammed on percussion and Mel Barsamian on oud.
(2003) Brenna MacCrimmon (vocals) and Beth Bahia Cohen (violin, yayli tanbur), joined by Nicole LeCorgne on percussion, Mal Barsamian on oud, Paul Brown on bass, and Phaedon Sinis on kanun.
(2004, 2006) Orkestra Keyif came into being at the Mendocino Balkan Music & Dance Workshop. Tonight’s version features founding members Brenna MacCrimmon (vocals) and Beth Bahia Cohen (violin, yayli tanbur). They will be joined by Paul Brown on bass, Polly Tapia on percussion, and Haig Manoukian on oud.
back to the top
MACONE Macedonian Band(See also Menada Macedonian Band, Balkankan) (2004)
The MACONE (Macedonian-American Cultural Organization of New England) MACEDONIAN BAND is a recently-formed local band that performs at various events playing Macedonian and Balkan music throughout New England. Originally from Macedonia, Vladimir Pejič - vocals, Sašo Simjanovski - keyboards, and Goran Popovski - guitar, now call Massachusetts home. With the sounds of the “Oro” and “Čoček”, they will bring you for a moment to the hilly Balkan party ambiance.
Vlado Mahovlich(1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
VLADO MAHOVLICH got his start playing Macedonian immigrant weddings at the age of 19, and spent his youth playing with traditional musicians from the Lake Prespa area. Over the years he has played extensively at traditional events for East European immigrant communities throughout North America as well as in concert tours of Europe.
Joining Vlado tonight are Morgan Clark on accordion and Jerry Kisslinger on drums. Morgan has played baritone with Zlatne Uste for many years, and accordion with practically any existing or impromptu band that asks him. Jerry has played tapan (dauli), dumbek, and traps for folk dance and ethnic community parties, weddings and workshops since the Nixon Administration.
For a Chalgija set (1999), Vlado will be joined by Turgay Ertürk (ud), Adam Good (dzhumbush), Jerry Kisslinger & Matt Moran (percussion), and others.
Joining Vlado in 2001 are Sasho Dukovski, Jerry Kisslinger and Adam Good. Sasho has been immersed in Macedonian folk music from birth. Born in Bitola, Macedonia, into a family of professional musicians, he graduated from the music high school there. Adam plays guitar, dzhumbush and ud with Vlado, and plays with him in Harmonia.
back to the top
Mandala Orchestra(1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)
MANDALA is a Boston-based international folk dance ensemble of thirty dancers, singers and instrumentalists, formed in 1966. The Ensemble tours throughout the Northeast and participates in folk festivals in the U.S. and abroad.
MATRIX is a small group of women who live in central and northern Vermont who have been involved in learning and singing the songs of the Balkan and Eastern European countries over the past eight years. They came together to sing this music for many reasons - some in search of their heritage and some for the love of its musical quality.
back to the top
Menada Macedonian Band(see also MACONE Macedonian Band, Balkankan) (2005, 2009)
MENADA is a local band that performs at various events playing Macedonian and Balkan music throughout New England. Members of the band have included: Corinna Snyder, Snežana Stošić, and Dimitar Mičo Grčev (vocals); Henry Goldberg (drum); David Golber (clarinet); Vladimir Lazarevski (oboe); Sašo Simjanovski and Milenko Tanasijević (keyboard); and Goran Popovski (guitar). With the sounds of the “Oro” and
MERAK is Dean Brown (tambura and voice) and Dee Ramee (voice and tambura), who have been performing Balkan music with various Boston-area groups for over 20 years. Merak specializes in the music from the Pirin region of Bulgaria, with some excursions to neighboring areas. They perform (with occasional guest artists) at local folk dances and events such as Balkan Music Night, and the New England Folk Festival. Tonight they are joined by Henry Goldberg, another long-time performer of Balkan music. back to the top
Meraki(2010, 2011, 2012)
Out of a moment of inspiration to bring some Greek “meraki” to NEFFA in 2008, a band was born. With some lineup changes and a name change, the current group took shape in the spring of 2009.
MERAKI (an untranslatable word expressing passion, yearning, a labor of love) comprises musicians of various backgrounds (Greek, klezmer, international, Americana) who share an interest in, and passion for, the Greek musical tradition. We strive to bring you, with a spirit of authenticity, traditional music from all over Greece - islands and mountains, cities and villages. So dance an Island Syrto or a Tsamiko, or lose yourself in an old Rebetiko melody, with Meraki.
Michael Winograd’s Klezmergasm(2005)
“Michael Winograd’s KLEZMERGASM” is a new Boston-based klezmer ensemble mixing traditional and experimental/improvisational sounds. At age 22, Winograd has already played with the “Klezmatics”, “Frank London’s Klezmer All-Stars”, and more extensively with his own groups “Khevre” and “Smackin’ the Brass”. “Klezmergasm” brings together some of Boston’s strongest musicians in the klezmer and jazz fields.
Ivan Milev Balkan Folk Band(2003, 2010)
IVAN MILEV, accordion is, quite simply, a phenomenon unto himself. As innovator of the musical style dubbed “Bulgarian wedding music”, Milev has earned the recognition and admiration of tens of thousands of fans and colleagues throughout Bulgaria. Ivan’s compositions and songs are an integral part of the repertoire of every working wedding band in Bulgaria today. In 1999 he emigrated to the United States, and joined the band of his former student, Yuri Yunakov. Mr. Milev’s newest endeavor, the “Ivan Milev Balkan Folk Band”, comprised of professional, highly trained musicians, was created by Mr. Milev as the voice for his creative energies. The band members are Ivan Milev (accordion), Entcho Todorov (violin), and have included Kevo Hazarian (drums), Iliana Mavrudova (vocals). and Lauren Brody (keyboard/vocals).
Mladost Folk Ensemble(2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
The MLADOST FOLK ENSEMBLE will take you on tour to the corners of the earth. Join us in an exploration of the different cultures and ethnicities of the world, learning of each through song and dance. The members of Mladost draw their inspiration from the life of Conny Taylor, co-founder of Boston’s Folk Arts Center of New England, and their dances from folk dance experts around the world, combining both in extraordinary performances selected for their style, footwork, and presentation.
back to the top
Music Progressive Quartet(2011, 2012)
MUSIC PROGRESSIVE QUARTET, a band from Macedonia, is comprised of Vladimir Lazarevski (oboe and English horn), Vladimir Krstev (violin and tambura), Marko Videnovik (viola and composer), and Paskal Krapovski (cello). The artists of the band are also members of the Macedonian Philharmonic national orchestra.
The main idea and driving force of these young musicians is to bring refreshment on the Macedonian music stage, and also to successfully present Macedonian traditional music to the world market by mixing the sound of Macedonian folklore with jazz influence, and by using instruments which are mainly used in classical music.
Music Progressive quartet has had many concerts in Macedonia, as well as abroad. Their last performance in US was in March 2008, when they performed at the Macedonian culture centre in New York. Besides the concert in New York, they have performed in Moscow, Rome, Vienna, Sofia, Kikinda, and Belgrade. Their most successful solo performances were in Vienna in 2009 at the famous jazz club “Porgy and Bess”, where they had a concert of their own, as well as guest performances with the renowned Macedonian jazz player Toni Kitanovski.
Nateli(2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
NATELI (“candle light”), a mixed community choir in Boston that sings unaccompanied songs from the Republic of Georgia. Georgians have sung in their own styles of harmony and polyphony for a thousand years. The tradition includes Orthodox Christian hymns, pagan hymns, work songs, love songs, ballads, dances, and songs to toast an occasion. The songs are in the Georgian language.
New England Romanian Ensemble(1997)
THE NEW ENGLAND ROMANIAN ENSEMBLE consists of members of other Boston-area dance bands who come together to play music of the various regions of Romania. Much of their material is ensemble music collected recently in Romania, and arranged by the NERE.
9 OLIVES plays dance music from the cities and villages of the Macedonian region, providing a fun old-world “village” atmosphere. Band members David Bilides, Jeff Fine, Adam Good, Jodi Hewat, Matt Moran and Sonya Rolfe play music that ranges from upbeat and energetic pieces during which only the most curmudgeonly of audience members could remain seated, to heart-tuggingly sentimental tunes about love gone wrong or the tragic demise of national heroes.
NIVA is an all-female Macedonian Izvorno band that plays and sings in the traditional village style. The word “niva” means a farm or field where women gather to work and sing. Musicians are Bridget Robbins (kaval), Corinna Snyder (tambura & vocals), and Kristina Vaskys (tambura & vocals). Our special guest this evening is David Bilides (tupan).
back to the top
NOTORIOSHT is the alter-ego of the well-known fiddle-and-guitar duo Notorious: Eden MacAdam-Somer, fiddle, and Larry Unger, guitar, augmented by their friends Tom Pixton, accordion, and Barbara Pixton, bass. Eden grew up in Houston playing a wide variety of folk, ethic, and classical music, and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory. She and Larry have been playing as a duo for many years, primarily for contradance and old time music events. Tom and Barbara Pixton are veterans of the Boston folk and Balkan music scene and have played in numerous Balkan Night events in years past. In recent years, their collective paths kept merging at gigs and festivals, and tonight marks their debut as a quartet, playing favorite fiddle and accordion repertoire drawn from Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and Romanian dance tunes.
back to the top
It's a rumor that this ensemble owes its name to the fact that its members routinely polish off an entire bottle of ouzo while jamming. Rather, the name is a tribute to Lesvos, the ouzo capital of the Aegean, and Kalymnos, once known for its sponge divers. Featuring Konstantinos Lampros (sandouri), Panayiotis League (violin), Iosif Tezakis (oud/guitar), and Benan Simsek (percussion).
Pajdaši(2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
PAJDAŠI (“buddies, friends”) is a Massachusetts-based group of American and native-born singers and instrumentalists who have come together to share the joy of learning and performing Croatian village and popular folk songs, as well as dance tunes. They will warm up your heart with a drmeš or a polka and will touch your soul with wistful ballads. Always ready for that beat, Pajdaši have a great time with great music and with each other!
In 2005, we enjoyed singing by a sub-group called Pajdašitse.
PANAYOTIS (PADDY) LEAGUE grew up in the Greek sponge diving community of Tarpon Springs, Florida, where he began to learn the intricate traditional music of the island of Kalymnos. Years living and traveling through Greece and Crete honed his musical skills and broadened his repertoire, and today he in one of the few musicians conversant in the musical idioms of the Dodecanese Islands and Western Crete. He has performed throughout Greece, Turkey, Europe, North and South America, been featured on nearly a hundred recordings of Greek, Turkish, Celtic, and other world music, and is a dedicated teacher. He frequently performs with Dunya, Skordalia, violinist Michalis Kappas, and the Celtic music and foot percussion ensemble Triptych.
Since his early years when he won first prize in the annual accordion competition in his hometown Sofia, Peter has been a virtuosic accordionist. He loves playing the Bulgarian sparkling lively and sunny “HORO” dances. In fact, when you listen to his playing, your feet will start dancing by themselves! Peter is also an avid piano and guitar player who enjoys playing classical pieces.
The Pinewoods Band (Ansamblul Pinewoodsesc)(1993, 1995)
The Pinewoods Band (a.k.a. ANSAMBLUL PINEWOODSESC) was first convened to play for the Folk Arts Center’s international dance sessions at Pinewoods Camp in the summer of 1992. Its members enjoy playing together so much that they have done so at every available opportunity since then. Susan Worland, on the other hand, seizes every available opportunity to play music from the Trans-Carpathian region. Tonight (1993) seemed the perfect occasion to do both at the same time.
back to the top
Tom Pixton(2000, 2001)
TOM PIXTON is active as an accordionist, singer, band leader, recording producer, and music publisher. As his first interest in traditional music was inspired by Bulgarian accordion music, his set tonight features melodies made famous by some of the great Bulgarian accordion masters, including Boris Karlov, Emil Kolev, Kosta Kolev, and Traicho Sinapov. At Balkan Music night, he is accompanied on the tapan by Henry Goldberg (2000) and Sandy Ward (2001).
PANAYOTIS ("Paddy") LEAGUE spent much of his childhood in the Greek immigrant community of Tarpon Springs, Florida, where he was first exposed to the traditional music of Kalymnos and the other Dodecanese islands. Years spent living and traveling throughout Greece have given him rare insight into the dance music of the eastern Aegean, and today he is one of the few musicians specializing in the tsambouna, violin, and laouto music of Kalymnos and western Crete. He also plays Turkish and Cypriot music with Dunya, and is at the forefront of his generation of performers of Irish traditional music. Panayotis is Lecturer in Modern Greek Studies at Hellenic College in Brookline, and performs regularly for concerts, festivals, weddings, and other community events throughout Greece and the Greek diaspora.
back to the top
Poludaktulos Orchestra(2007, 2008)
The “Many-Fingered Orchestra” employs unique instrumentation in their lively performances of Northern Greek brass band music. Guitarist and band leader Tev Stevig formed the group to expand the role of guitar in Balkan music and to counteract the current lack of Balkan brass bands in the Boston area. His particular focus in this project is translating Greek clarinet styles and motifs to the electric guitar. By bringing together a diverse cast of professional musicians with varied backgrounds, the Poludaktulos Orchestra aims to bring a fresh perspective to Balkan brass music.
The Pulis(1989, 1991)
THE PULIS were formed when three members of “The Poodles”, a local string band, began playing tanchaz music for Hungarian dance and workshops. (A puli is a Hungarian sheep dog with dreadlocks.) The critical prerequisite for being in this band is having curly hair or the ability to do a great Zsa-Zsa Gabor imitation of Bob Marley. The Pulis play traditional music of the Hungarian peoples of Romania and Hungary proper. Members are Linda Joy Adams (vocals), Ruthie Dornfeld (fiddle), Paul Strother (bass), and Leah Weiss (kontra-viola).
back to the top
Rakiya(2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
RAKIYA is named for the fiery fruit brandy which is popular in the Balkans, and mentioned in many songs. Though it is sold in stores, the best rakiya is home-made, and this particular batch was brewed secretly in a cold, dark basement somewhere in Brighton. Rakiya plays mostly Rom songs and dance tunes. Over the years Rakiya's members have included Dean Brown (drums, dumbek, guitar), Colin Ferguson (keyboard, accordion, dumbek), Dave Golber (clarinet), Ralph Iverson (sax), Heather Lee (vocals), Alan Mattes (sax), Tim McNerney (bass), Tev Stevig (guitar, cümbüş), Tim McNerney (bass), Grant Smith (drums, percussion), and Patrick Yacono (clarinet, vocals, keyboard).
The members of RAPSODIA have been playing together for several years in many configurations. While we play and love lots of different kinds of music (ranging from Brahms to a capella close harmony) we all have a special place in our hearts for the music of Romania. The intensity and complexity of classical music and the drive and passion of dance music are both reflected in the folklore of this mountainous country and enhanced by the haunting sounds of the nai and cembalom. We would like to say “mulţumesc” to the committee for having us in the concert this year.
Raya Brass Band(2010)
RAYA BRASS BAND is the sort of brass band that gleefully mashes up the music of Eastern Europe with funky American dance grooves, Reggaeton, and whatever else it gets its hands on. Featuring odd meters, unusual scales and a fine helping of gorgeous Balkan and Romany (Gypsy) melodies played on reeds, trumpet, accordion, tuba and drums, Raya Brass Band slakes the thirst for something old and new at the same time, unusual and funky, spiritedly played by some of NYC’s finest Balkan folk musicians.
back to the top
REBETOPARIA is a group of musicians from the Boston area with a passion for rebetiko music, the Greek music that many equate to the American Urban Blues. Their unique style preserves the authentic sound of rebetiko, while allowing musicians to inject their own expressive elements into their music. Using the traditional rebetiko instruments of bouzouki, baglama, guitar, violin and accordion, they have been performing throughout New England to receptive audiences for a number of years.
Although there is no consensus on a definition, one may describe rebetiko as songs that express the musical folklore of the urban centers and, in particular, the urban population that lived in the margins of society, which included the prison population and various groups of the underworld who engaged in illegal activities such as smuggling, hustling, gambling and prostitution, and who frequented the smoke dens. Its origin is still uncertain, but many place it in the port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean such as Smyrna (Izmir), Constantinople (Istanbul), Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Ermoupolis and Alexandria of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Throughout the years rebetiko endured defamation, persecution and censorship, but during the period from the 1920’s to mid 1950’s it was able to evolve from a marginal music to a popular Greek music embraced by generations, and to become the source of inspiration for contemporary composers and musicians.
The voices of ROZMARIN capture the musical traditions of villages in southern Bulgaria, Bosnia (Yugoslavia), and southern Russia. Both the costumes and the unarranged songs of Rozmarin were collected by group members in 1989-90 during grant-supported travel to these regions. From New Haven, CT, the group has toured the West Coast and recently has been performing in festivals, schools and clubs in the Northeast.
back to the top
Tatiana Sarbinska(1992, 1993) Duo Vardar: TATIANA SARBINSKA & KOLIU KOLEV, two of Bulgaria’s finest professional folk singers, are highly respected for their performances not only in Bulgaria but in Europe, the Orient and the Middle East as well. Their extensive repertoire includes music from all of Bulgaria’s folklore regions, but they are particularly at home with music from Pirin and Vardar Macedonia, and old Town songs. Both Tatiana and Koliu are available for lessons and classes.
(1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002) TATIANA SARBINSKA, born in the village of Rila, is an internationally acclaimed Bulgarian singer whose repertoire includes music from all of Bulgaria’s folklore regions. A former soloist and conductor for the world- renowned “Pirin Ensemble” and Bulgarian National Radio and TV, she has toured internationally and made many recordings. A gifted, generous and sharing teacher, Tatiana has taught singing at the Bulgarian Conservatory of Music, and on both the East Coast and the West Coast in the U.S. She gives classes, workshops, and private lessons, as well as leading the groups Zornitsa and Divi Zheni. In 1994 she participated in the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Singing Traditions” tour.
back to the top
SARKANY, a Boston-based group performing Hungarian dance music of Transylvania and other parts of Hungary, includes Beth Cohen (violin), Lisa Bosley (kontra) and Linda Ugelow (bass). Come dance with us - Eva Maria Kish will demonstratesome easy dance steps.
Semerad & Rafiq(1998)
SEMERAD and RAFIQ (Judy Anscombe and Jon Skinner) have been delighting audiences throughout the Northeast with middle eastern dance for 14 years, appearing sometimes as part of Desert Places and sometimes as their pseudonymous pselves. Tonight’s mini-gig offers a taste of modern Egyptian music–in high Cairo style.
back to the top
Shining Moon(2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
SHINING MOON is a small group of musicians from the Boston area playing and singing some of their favorite tunes from the Balkans and beyond. They chose the name Shining Moon because many of their favorite Bulgarian and Macedonian songs begin with the words “Ogrejala mesečina” (&@8216;The moon is shining’). Members are Dean Brown, Colin Ferguson, Heather Lee, Dana Sussman, David Traugot, Brian Wilson, and Patrick Yacono.
SILVER BELLOWS formed to pursue the path to accordion heaven: parallel thirds and sixths, secondary dominance, and ostentatious ornamentation. Their music conforms to Bern’s Law of Value, which states that the value of music (expressed in funkiness) is equal to the square of the precious metal whose name forms part of the title describing said music or instrument(s) used to play it or images evoked thereby. A recently discovered consequence of this Law states that the value of Music varies in relation to the world’s precious metals markets, confirming the ethnomusicological theorem that music has different value in different cultures.
back to the top
Skordaliá(2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
(Skor · da · liá) n. 1. A zesty garlic dip. 2. A zesty Greek band. Members have included (in various years) Greg Kereakoglow (guitar), Elizabeth Kereakoglow (violin), Dean Lampros (sandouri), Joseph Teja (outi), Guvenç Şişman (darbouka), and Benan Şimşek (percussion). Whoever is playing -- they bring you a lively mixture of dance tunes from the Greek islands and Asia Minor.
SLAVEI (meaning “nightingale” in Bulgarian) is a non-traditional “a cappella” group at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. We sing a variety of folk songs and liturgical pieces, with and without instrumental accompaniment (and occasionally dancing!) from Bulgaria, the Balkans, and the Republic of Georgia.
back to the top
Smackin’ the Brass(2005)
“SMACKIN’ the BRASS” is an independently run “Balkan style” brass band made up of students from the New England Conservatory in Boston. It was founded in 2002 by clarinetist Michael Winograd and was originally made up of 6 members. Since then, the band has grown substantially, and now, often consists of anywhere between 15 and 40 members (yes, 40!) The band has been featured most recently in a concert in Jordan Hall and at their own Halloween festival.
Dragi Spasovski & Friends(2011)
DRAGI SPASOFSKI was born in the small village of Studena Bara, near Kumanovo, only 25 km. from Skopje. His family moved to Skopje when he was 4, and Skopje is the place where he made his first steps in exploring life, art, music and dancing. He was “the” actor in elementary school drama, then joined the school ballet group, and finally, influenced by his mother’s singing, mostly in their home, he found himself swept away by the folk spirit. In 1966, encouraged by his mother, Rajna Spasovska, who was already recording for the Macedonian National Radio, he made his first attempt at professional singing with Radio Skopje’s Izvoren Orkestar. At the same time he also joined the Orce Nikolov dance troupe. On one tour with the group, Dragi met some Americans, singers and dancers of the Koleda group from Seattle. In 1970 he joined them in Seattle and lived there six years. In 1976 he returned home, and for a few years he danced again with Orce Nikolov. He also recorded intensively with all three radio orchestras. Singing became a very important part of his life. This was the period when he did most of his radio recordings, eventually completing over 100 songs for the National Radio of Macedonia. Due to family reasons, Dragi retired from the folk music scene at the peak of his career. He did not resume singing professionally until he returned to Seattle for good in 2002. Since that time he has performed with many orchestras, including Dragi Mitev, Goran Alački, Stefče Stojkovski, David Bilides, Balkan Cabaret, the Mehanatones, and various musicians associated with the East European Folklife Center (EEFC).
Ta Dilina(2009, 2011, 2012)
Our name, TA DILINA (“The Sunsets”), was inspired by that much-anticipated time of day when Greeks put behind themselves a day’s worth of labor and head for the local Taverna (club). There they join hearts and souls in a spirited celebration of life’s trials and joys as expressed in the verses and notes of songs that harold the spirit. These songs have come to represent all that is Greek musical passion. They are dance songs, and they are as varied as the regions of their origins – but they have one thing in common: they are true classics recognized by every generation. We have been performing these songs since our formation in 1975 and, though the faces of this group have changed during the three decades, our commitment to this powerful music remains true. The group has performed at clubs, weddings, concerts, dedication ceremonies, political rallies, and church festivals throughout the years!
back to the top
Taraf de Boston(2011)
TARAF DE BOSTON is the alterego of the Pinewoods Band and friends when they play Romanian dance music. Tonight’s lineup will be Ralph Iverson, Brian Wilson, Eden MacAdam-Somer, Patrick Yacono, David Skidmore, Julia Poirier, Tom Pixton, Larry Unger, and Joe Blumenthal.
Demetri’s love of Greek music and dance began at a very early age. As an adult, he developed a passion for the folk music, rituals, costumes, and crafts associated with the varied regional cultures of rural Greece. His love for the unusual has led him to find teachers both here and abroad.
Besides playing music and dancing, Demetri travels frequently to Greece to film and make documentaries on various folk rituals and celebrations of village life. His particular passion is for the Anastenaria custom of Eastern Thrace which culminates in the participants dancing on live coals in honor of Saints Constantine and Helen.
Demetri has an extensive folk instrument collection, with a varied representation of tsambounas, as well as many intricately carved rare chanters for askomandoura (bagpipe from Crete). Zurnas, from diverse places throughout Greece and beyond, as well as many folk flogeras (flutes), and gaidas, round out his collection. He has given, and is available for, lecture demonstrations of the various folk instruments used in Greek folk music, as well as lecturing on many other aspects of Greek Folk Culture.
He not only teaches and performs Greek Folk Music and Dance, but he is also a judge at the various Folk Dance Federaion competitions held on both the West Coast and here in the East.
The All-Star Family Brass Band(2007; see also Bez Granica)
THE ALL-STAR FAMILY BRASS BAND – Created by friends and family, the all-star cast includes current and former members of Zlatne Uste, BamCo, Xopo, and other well known Balkan bands. Drawing from the Rom Brass repertoire of the Balkans, you will find this an engaging, “in your face” musical and dance experience.
The B Team(2011)
THE B TEAM is a ten piece Balkan brass band comprised some of the most talented students from New England Conservatory’s jazz, classical, and CI departments. Group members have performed with Fanfare Ciaocarlia, Slavic Soul Party, Killsonic, Michael Winograd, and Anthony Coleman. The band was selected as one of NEC’s “honors” ensembles this past Fall, and they will be performing several concerts this Spring, including a featured concert at Jordan Hall on April 18th, and a “Balkan Barn Dance” in NEC’s St. Botolph Building on April 28th which will feature dance instruction and authentic Serbian food.
back to the top
The Other Georgia(2009, 2010, 2012)
THE OTHER GEORGIA sings the music of the country called Georgia. Nestled beneath the southern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains Georgia looks like a cornucopia pouring into the Black Sea. It would be pouring songs. Serene sacred songs, ear-fizzing polyphonic braids, lullabies as gentle as the limbs of lambs, firehose-force work songs. The Georgians have been singing folk songs in three parts since before recorded history and composing polyphonic hymns for the Orthodox Christian church for 1300 years. Jim Desmond, David Gillman, and Joel Sindelar came together to form The Other Georgia in Boston in 2007. The group performs mostly a cappella but sometimes with the accompaniment of a chonguri, a Georgian stringed instrument. Our new CD, “The Other Georgia: Ancient harmonies from a distant land”, is available at www.cdbaby.com.
The Tamburitza Troubadours(1993, 1994, 1995)
The TAMBURITZA TROUBADOURS rush in to satisfy the desire for red hot tamburitza music, after its founding members caught “tamburitza fever” at Balkan Music Camp while studying with Charlie Smilinich and Vlad Popovich of the Balkan Serenaders. Each member is a well traveled musician in the Boston folk dance scene; tonight (Balkan Music Night 1993) they perform together as an ensemble for the first time: Matt Shear (prim), Ralph Iverson (brat), Colin Ferguson (chelo), David Skidmore (bugarija), Julia Poirier (bass).
back to the top
The year was 1382. Lord Pathamus III had just ordered the revolution to begin. The only problem was that his soldiers hadn’t any uniforms well forget uniforms, they hadn’t any outer garments at all. So what you have to imagine, is a giant army in an undisclosed country beneath the Irish-Armenian border preparing for the most important war of their generation, in nothing more than underwear and wooden boots, carrying prop pistols stolen from the local theater company. Things were not looking good, you might say. Between the lack of ammunition and food, and the intense body odor, the army was slowly diminishing. In the distance, Jackson noticed a small troupe coming his way. "Hark I see the enemy!," said he. This small mass in the distance gradually grew in number, morphing into an unfathomable force to which Lord Pathamus’ (III) army was helpless against. And to make things worse, they were led by a big band on horse, blaring the music of Glen Miller. The women and children prayed, while tears poured down their prissy husbands’ faces, for they knew what lay ahead. The Tourists had indeed arrived.
CHRISTOS TIKTAPANIDIS, a native of the village of Sitagroi, near Drama, in Greek Macedonia, started to play the Pontic lyra at the age of 10. His first teacher was his grandfather, a famed lyra player in the town of Argyroupolis in the Pontic region of Anatolia.
Christos began playing in public (for weddings, christenings and parties) in Drama at the age of 15. He also played for many local dance groups, and he traveled to Italy and France with one of these groups for folklore festivals. During his 20 months in the Greek army, the lyra was a constant companion which he played for friends and at parties.
Since coming to the US, where he is one of a handful of musicians who play the Pontic lyra, Christos is in constant demand for folk dance groups, parties, and festivals, both in the New York area and farther afield. He has also become a teacher, passing on the joy of lyra to his students as it always has been passed on: by ear.
The Pontic Lyra, or kementses, is an ancient instrument played by Greeks from the Black Sea region of Anatolia who were forcibly repatriated in 1922. It is a stringed instrument, usually with three strings, held in an upright position on the knee and bowed like a violin. It is usually played as a solo instrument. It is tuned in fourths, which allows the musician to play melodies in parallel fourths, playing on two strings simultaneously.
TITO’s REVENGE–a band from the past for the future, presently playing tunes from throughout the Balkans in a modern context. Members of this group are Christos Govetas (clarinet and voice), Ruth Hunter (accordion and voice), Adam Good (electric guitar), and Jamie Moore (drums and percussion.)
back to the top
Trei Arcuşi(2008, 2009, 2010)
TREI ARCUŞI, wtih Miamon Miller (violin), Becky Ashenden (bass & santuri) and Chuck Corman (kontra & guitar) plays the folk music of the Carpathian Mountains and Greece. From the sophisticated meters of the Romanian învîrtitas to the dance cycles of the Hungarian tánzház, Trei Arcuşi is delighted to bring their Transylvanian village music to the Balkan Night festivities in Concord, MA.
TURLI TAVA takes its name from the meat and vegetable stew, the Macedonian gumbo, that accordionist/ vocalist Sasho Dukovski ate back home in Bitola. Through that city, along the ancient trade road called the Via Egnatia, history brought waves of travelers and settlers to make the unique cultural blend of Macedonia; the mix that is reflected in Turli Tava’s repertoire. The musicians in the group have been playing for Macedonian communities in North America and overseas for decades. Turli Tava plays the music of all regions of Macedonia, as well as neighboring Balkan countries, and has a repertoire that includes the old-time Macedonian sound as well as new.
Bitola-born Sasho Dukovski (accordion/keyboard/vocals) first learned Macedonian music at the knee of his grandfather, a traditional clarinetist, and from his parents, both professional singers in Europe and the US. Sasho’s father’s family is from Bitola and his mother’s family was from Aegean Macedonian. From age seven, he lived in two worlds – Cleveland and Bitola – and soon was performing in both. He graduated from Bitola’s music school and is a veteran of the five-night-a-week hotel and restaurant gigs, weddings, military send-offs, and other private parties that, on a good night, fill Bitola and the surrounding villages with music. He has played with Heraklea, Elita, Pelagoniski Biseri, and many other well known Macedonian groups and also accompanied the vocal duo Selimova/Zhelcheski, Zoran Josifovski, and clarinetist Slave Naumovski.
While still in high school, Sasho began playing with Turli Tava’s clarinetist, Walt “Vlado” Mahovlich (clarinet/sax/gajda), an accomplished multi-instrumentalist in a variety of Eastern European styles and also currently leads the East European folk group Harmonia. Vlado has played for Macedonian and other East European communities since his teenage years. He began playing clarinet originally with traditional musicians who immigrated from the Lake Prespa region of southwest Macedonia. Early on he seriously studied and began playing the music of the old time Macedonian master clarinetists, particularly the late Kime Nachoff. In the 1970’s he was performing with such noted old-timers as Paul “Spaso” Vangeloff and Chris Athans. He has appeared on concert stages throughout North America and Europe, including performances the Smithsonian’s 1976 bicentennial Festival of American Folklife, Smotra Folklora in Zagreb and at festivals in Sofia and Zlanitite Piasotsi in Bulgaria. He has also frequently taught Macedonian clarinet at the summer workshops of All that said, Vlado is really in his element playing for dancing late night at Macedonian weddings and vecherinki.
A Roma born to a singer mother and a folk dancer father in Prilep, Macedonia, Seido Salifoski has played tarabuka and tapan for over 30 years. With his extensive experience playing Turkish, Greek, Balkan, and Middle Eastern percussion combined with flare of jazz from studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, his unique virtuosity has set him apart from the pack worldwide. Seido has played extensively for Macedonian, Roma, Albanian and other community weddings and events. He has played with such notable artists as Tarkan, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, and Ivo Papazov. He’s played extensively in Middle Eastern and Balkan Nightclubs in the New York area as well as being an influential mainstay of the downtown Balkan Jazz movement. Among many other projects, Seido leads his own ensemble, Romski Boji.
Turli Tava’s music is strongly rooted in Macedonian dance traditions; it’s filled with the energy and creative surprise. Rooted, free yet traditional – Turli Tava is bonafide Balkan gumbo!
Village Harmony(1998, 2002, 2007)
VILLAGE HARMONY, founded in 1989 by Larry Gordon, includes young singers and instrumentalists from within Vermont as well as from nearby New York, Connectic, and Massachusetts. It draws atypical teenagers who are looking for serious and intensive musical and community experience. Village Harmony’s repertoire features shape-note, Balkan, South African, renaissance and contemporary music. Their travelling summer camp involves participants from throughout the world and includes performances up and down the US east coast and mid-west, throughout eastern Canada, and in the UK, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Bulgaria and the Republic of Georgia.
back to the top
.WAV’s eclectic mix of traditional Balkan music, surf rock, and jazz has been mezmerizing audiences for over a year and a half. These six people from five different countries reverently warp and mix Balkan rhythms, jazz, rock, Latin, and classical styles & traditions, and give it all a 21st century seal of approval.
West Constantinople Squeezebox All-Stars(2012)
The WEST CONSTANTINOPLE SQUEEZE BOX ALL-STARS pays tribute to the Grand Porte from the Bessarabian fringe of the Ottoman Empire; Jewish and Moldavian music made for dancing from a trio musicians equally at home on a chamber music stage or at a down-home old timey stomp.back to the top
Xopo(2007, 2008, 2010, 2012)
Xopo (and friends) is a tri-state collection of musicians from MA, VT, and NH. who play a mix of Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian tunes. The band features accordions, fiddle and a driving rhythm section. The name Xopo (pronounced zopo) is derived from the lp labels from earlier Bulgarian recordings. Most of the band members danced to those recordings years ago and were ultimately inspired to play the music.
Yale Slavic Chorus(1988, 1990)
The YALE SLAVIC CHORUS, founded in 1969, is made up of women from the Yale and New Haven community. They tour the U.S. extensively during the school year and have toured Bulgaria and Yugoslavia in recent years. The latest of their four albums, “When Women Gather”, is available nationally on the Meadowlark label.
Yuri Yunakov(1996, 1997) YURI YUNAKOV, born in Haskovo (southern Thrace), is Bulgaria’s best known saxophonist. For ten years he played and toured with Ivo Papazov’s band Trakija. Now residing in the Bronx, he continues to perform in a contemporary style known as “wedding music”. You can expect virtuosic technique, improvisation, fast speeds, and daring key changes in this music drawn from a wide variety of sources including jazz, rock, and village folk music.
(2001) The YURI YUNAKOV ENSEMBLE, based in New York City, plays dazzling yet soulful Rom and wedding music from Bulgaria. Featuring the Bulgarian virtuoso saxophonist Yuri Yunakov and the show-stopping accordionist Ivan Milev, the band is renowned for its bold improvisations, tight arrangements and tradition-bending Roma, Bulgarian and Turkish fusion. The band also includes George Petrov (drums), Catherine Foster (clarinet), Carol Silverman (vocals), and Lauren Brody (synthesizer and vocals).
(2004) Yuri will be joined tonight by singer Svetla Angelova and others.
(2007) Tonight . . . Gypsy music!
Zdravets(1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
ZDRAVETS, “Boston’s Friendly Neighborhood Bulgarian Band”, has been performing at concerts, dances, festivals, parties, etc. (including radio and television in Bulgaria) since 1989. Most of its repertoire of traditional dance music and unaccompanied singing is from Bulgaria, with occasional forays into neighboring countries. Zdravets holds a dance party and concert, one Saturday each month, in Arlington, MA.
Zhabe i Babe(1994, 1995)
ZHABE I BABE (“Frogs ’n’ Grandmas”), formerly known as The Yugotones, performs music of Bosnia in its many forms, from traditional rural polyphonic singing to contemporary urban popular styles. This evening members Mirjana Lausevic, Ingi-Mai Loorand and Sara Snyder will perform women’s vocal music from the mountains surrounding Sarajevo.
Zhok Therapy(2007, 2008)
ZHOK THERAPY is the “unruly alter-ego” of the Casco Bay Tummlers, a klezmer band that has been performing in Maine and around the world for over fifteen years. The members of Z.T. love to take musical elements from the Middle East, the Balkans and eastern Europe as starting points for danceable improvisations and arrangements that range from reflective to rowdy. (Plus, we're probably the only band here tonight that features bass flute). The band is Carl Dimow, flutes and guitars, Julie Goell, bass and vocals, Steve Gruverman, clarinet and sax, and Hayes Porterfield, percussion. (Sitting in tonight for Hayes is Eric LaPerna).
Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band(1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012)
ZLATNE USTE (“Golden Lips”) Balkan Brass Band, based in New York City, is an internationally known group of American-born musicians performing in the Romany (Gypsy), Serbian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian brass band traditions. Five-time invited guest at the Dragačevo Brass Festival in Guča, Zlatne Uste is among the foremost presenters of traditional Balkan dance music in the United States. Each year Zlatne Uste hosts and produces the Golden Festival, New York’s biggest and best Balkan music festival.
Zornitsa(1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
ZORNITSA (“Morning Star”), formed in 1993, is reported to be America’s first performing group of men who sing traditional and urban Bulgarian songs. Directed by Tatiana Sarbinska, the group specializes in music from south-western Bulgaria and Macedonia. Its performances in Bulgaria in the summer of 2000 (in Blagoevgrad, at the Koprivshtitsa Folk Festival, and on Bulgarian national television) were received with great acclaim. Tonight, Zornitsa presents selections from several regions of Bulgaria for your dancing enjoyment, hoping that their tunes transport you to a far-away village square where everyone dances until the music stops.
With help from their friends, Demetrios Tashie and Jerry Kisslinger have been dishing out the ultrasonic soup since January of 1999. ZOURNADES has performed at the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, events of the Greek American Folklore Society (GAFS), the EEFC Ramblewood camp and other events.
Zurli Društvo(1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2007, 2008, 2010)
ZURLI DRUŠTVO was formed in 1985 in response to the insatiable demand for the amazing sound of paired zurlas with tapan accompaniment. Currently, Zurli Drushtvo is the only revivalist zurla team in the Western hemisphere. The group has appeared at various folk music and dance events on the East coast, including the U.S. Constitution Bicentennial in Philadelphia, where they literally blew the audience away. After a hiatus of 11 years, Zurli Društvo has made a come-back! The current ensemble—Drew Harris, Laine Harris and Jerry Kisslinger—blends traditional Macedonian and Albanian dance music with modern Roma tunes in a compelling experience. No one stands by idly while Zurli Društvo plays!