(Big thanks to Marchette Dubois for this guest post! You can see our full lineup of bands at the Festival website, www.nwfolklife.org/festival.)
At 2009’s Folklife Festival, in a jam-packed VERA Project, hundreds of sweaty, ebullient people linked hands and line-danced at the first Balkan Misfits Showcase. Though it was called the Balkan Bridge in those days, it was showcasing the same community. Five years on, our misfit contingent is doing well and we have held out our hands to new friends and met many new and lovely people. My name is Marchette and I am the volunteer coordinator for the Balkan Misfits showcase – I am also the Artistic Director of one of the misfit bands – The Bucharest Drinking Team.
This year’s Showcase will highlight four amazing and genre-stretching bands: Olympia’s Erev Rav will open the show with their fantastic fusion of traditional Klezmer and funk – Daniel Landin, the leader and manager of the band described their music as “World Klezmer Fusion.” And goes on to explain: “We take gorgeous Eastern European Jewish folk songs, and lay them atop funk rhythms. …Or we might have a traditional bulgar rhythm with a tune, but then we add a bebop solo on clarinet. And our arrangements are influenced by Led Zeppelin.” Check out their brand new video: “The Funk Tash”.
The second band will be your host band, Seattle’s Bucharest Drinking Team – Our music rises form the wells and stills of the Romanian taraf, Balkan Brass bands, Europop, and a variety of other Balkan and Eastern European party music. We also put our own spin on everything we do. Hear for yourself our reggae take on the classic tune Opa Cupa.
If that’s not enough brass, stick around for Seattle’s favorite Balkan-inspired Brass party: Orkestar Zirkonium, whose sensibility for creating music is securely planted in the world of FUN. Their representative Kevin Hinshaw describes their process this way: “…Balkan Brass [is] our core, for sure. But if somebody in the band loves a Latin tune or a Bollywood soundtrack, that’s fair game too as long as we like playing it.” He continues: “Sometimes we do straight transcriptions. But some arrangers get inspired and will try to be more creative. (Like Whitney squishing Ederlezi from 4/4 into 7/8, or Jerry’s raucous-down-to-tiny rendition of Zaspo Janko.)”. I hope we get to hear some of these inspired arrangements! You can also look forward to seeing OZ opening for Romania’s Fanfare Ciocarlia July 24 at the Triple Door!!! Get tickets here.
Closing out this year’s show is Portland’s Russian powerhouse: Chervona. Their bandleader André Temkin describes their music: “…you can find elements of gypsy punk, klezmer, balkan brass, slavic polka and more. There are many bands in Europe playing similar music, but what makes Chervona different from all the bands in this genre? I think the biggest difference is our unique personality and artistic approach in creating and playing music…” He talks about their high energy and audience participation, and I think you will not be disappointed with how they will keep your feet moving.
We Invite you all to the party on the Fountain Lawn Stage Saturday night. Where we will bring you Balkan and Eastern European inspired music interpreted with our own 21st century voices.
Love these bands? Support them by buying their music!
Erev Rav: http://erevravmusic.com/store-2/
Bucharest Drinking Team: http://music.bucharestdrinkingteam.com/album/bucharest-drinking-team
Orkestar Zirkonium: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/zirkonium/