Who doesn’t love a brass band? The horns, the drums, the crash of the cymbals. In most parts of the world brass bands are THE preferred party music for weddings, festivals, baptisms, and pretty much anything you’d want to throw a party for.
If you’re a fan of brass bands, you know that Balkan brass bands provide some of the best dance music out there. Balkan brass evolved out of the military bands of the Ottoman empire, formed during the First Serbian Uprising in the early part of the 19th century. Brass instruments were used as a way to gather soldiers for battle and when the war ended, the soldiers went home, the music entered everyday life and became the preferred soundtrack for celebrations. There has been a recent resurgence of interest in Balkan brass bands and you can hear elements of the music in modern-day indie rock bands like Beirut and world-dance bands like Balkan Beat Box.
If you haven’t experienced this music live, we got three events, two in Seattle and one in New York City, that will give you the opportunity to expand your horizons and, of course, dance your brass off! Just be sure you wear comfortable shoes.
Saturday, February 25
HONK! Around The World! – Seattle, Washington This is HONK! Fest West’s first sponsored event of 2012. Join HONK! as they celebrate the amazing artistry and noise which comes when music and dance from all over the world slams together in a burst of powerful intensity! HONK! is pleased to present musical sets from Tubaluba, VamoLá, Nu Klezmer Army, and the brilliant gypsy-inspired Makedon, alongside performances from Lesley Rialto, Whisper De Corvo, Skin Deep Dance, Lynnette Day Kanelos, award-winning bellydancers Mecia and Melody Anderson, and the Emerald Rain dance troupe.
Saturday, March 10
Balkan Night Northwest – Seattle, Washington Seattle is home to an astonishing number of Balkan music groups, both played by Americans and by people who grew up in the array of cultures that make up the Balkans. This year, for the first time, many of those groups will be brought together for a powerhouse night of music and dancing at the Russian Center on Capitol Hill. With over a dozen bands representing the music of Croatia, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and popular Roma (Gypsy) brass-band music, there will be something for everyone.
Saturday, March 31
Balkan Shout Out – New York, New York “The Balkan Shout Out” is a fundraising event to benefit the EEFC (East European Folklife Center). The EEFC has been a home to Balkan music, dance and culture in United States for over 25 years. The Balkan Shout Out, has been conceived to do just that: give a shout of thanks out to those who have helped in nurturing New York’s thriving Balkan cultural community. This year will feature the hip-swiveling, dancefloor-filling, rural party music of Brazil’s northeastern states of Forro in the Dark a NYC-based Brazilian ex-pats. Raya Brass Band does it on the dance floor, mashing up the music of Eastern Europe with American dance grooves, they will grace us with their exuberant Balkan brass dance music. Eva Primack will also be debuting her brand new brass band that is sure to get you dancing.