Summer Vacation!

Yes, once again the Bacchanal will take a break for the summer as musicians head off to camps, festivals, and distant lands to jam, learn, teach and gather new material and inspiration. The Bacchanal will kick off the Fall season on September 12, hope to see you then!

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Balkan Bacchanal – Friday June 13

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday June 13, 2014
Incognito Orkestar (11pm)
Janam (10pm)
Sabaya (9pm)
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door, $8 in advance (advance tix here)

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SABAYA

sabaya pic

One of the goals of the Balkan Bacchanal has always been to provide a space for musicians to try new things and in new combinations, and Sabaya is a perfect example of why that’s important. Sabaya is Diana Strong (accordion), Briana Di Mara (violin), and Faisal Zedan (percussion), a newly formed trio of accomplished Bay Area musicians performing traditional and original melodies inspired by the music of the Balkans and Near East. With rich harmonies, danceable grooves, and soulful improvisation– joined by special guests Jake Leckie on bass, Gary Hegedus on oud, Gregory Masaki Jenkins on clarinet– Sabaya (meaning “the girls” in Arabic) is more than just the girls!

 

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JANAM

Janam2

It’s been awhile since Janam have played at the Bacchanal, so we’re psyched to hear them with their new lineup! Janam (My Soul) blends Balkan, Near Eastern and American roots and original music, creating rapturous acoustic textures, whirling rhythms and stunning vocal harmonies. Led by Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble veteran Juliana Graffagna, Janam unites some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most imaginative and devoted practitioners of Balkan and Near Eastern music, who weave together Eastern exoticism, gritty Appalachian folk melodies and their own inspired compositions. The resulting music is transcendent and irresistible. Janam features: Dan Auvil (percussion and kaval), Tom Farris (laouto and guitar), Juliana Graffagna (vocals and accordion), Gari Hegedu  (oud, saz, mandocello and violin), and Lila Sklar (violin and vocals).

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INCOGNITO EXPRESS

The Balkan Bacchanal is excited to welcome the newly-formed Incognito Express, featuring some of the hottest players in the Bay Area’s Balkan scene! Incognito Express will take you on a trip through Eastern Europe with exciting Romani, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Macedonian music as well as Balkan-inspired originals. The band features Darren Johnston (trumpet), Gregory Masaki Jenkins (clarinet and alto sax), Dan Cantrell (accordion), Paul Marini (sousaphone), and Marco Peris (tupan).

Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal – May 9

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday May 9, 2014
Plovdiv Party Bus
MWE
Balkalicious Fire Drive
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $8-12 sliding scale

Party bus

Plovdiv Party Bus is a Bay Area Balkan Folk Dance Band that plays music from all over the Balkans including the music of the Bulgarian, Macedonian, Greek, Swedish, and Romani people. The Bus driver is Greg Jenkins, master clarinetist and familiar to all Bay Area Balkan fans through his many projects; MWE, Fanfare Zambaleta, Agapi Mou, and others.

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MWE_2

One zurna, one davul, one saxophone, and two clarinets. MWE always kicks ass at the Bacchanal and you’ll be dancing when the band hits the floor to play in the middle of the dancers. Part Turkish marching band, part belly dance party band, MWE is a force of nature not to be missed!

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With searing instrumentals and sultry, gut-wrenching vocals soaring over hard-hitting grooves, Balkalicious Fire Drive rocks you with the raw and intoxicating energy, sound and spirit of the Balkans.  Band members are infused with long and vibrant histories from the Bay Area world music scene and beyond.  They are: Leslie Bonnett on vocals and violin; Stuart Brotman on bass; Shea Comfort on clarinet; Dennis Demakos on laouto and vocals, and Haig Kassabian on percussion.

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BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL – ARPIL 11

Greek hashish songs, virtuosic Jewish mountain music, and a rockin Romani birthday bash!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday, APRIL 11
Mano Cherga Birthday Bash
Veretski Pass
Disciples of Markos
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $8-12 sliding scale

Begin the evening by traveling back in time to the smoke-filled night clubs of Athens! The Disciples of Markos continue to mine the incredible repertoire of 1930s Greek underworld music.

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The incredible Veretski Pass returns to the Bacchanal with their virtuosic klezmer roots music. The trio plays Old Country Music with origins in the Ottoman Empire, once fabled as the borderlands of the East and the West. In a true collage of Carpathian, Jewish, Rumanian and Ottoman styles, typical suites contain dances from Moldavia and Bessarabia; Jewish melodies from Poland and Rumania; Hutzul wedding music from Carpathian-Ruthenia; and haunting Rebetic aires from Smyrna, seamlessly integrated with original compositions.

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Mano Cherga is our favorite Balkan Romani rock band, and tonight they headline with front man Beodan’s birthday bash. Expect plenty of guests and wild fun!

ManoCherga

MARCH 14 – Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal

Another amazing line up…read on!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday, MARCH 14
Fanfare Zambaleta
Zoyres
Radio Istanbul
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $8-12 sliding scale

We’re happy to welcome back Radio Istanbul! Radio Istanbul combines a traditional Istanbul sound with western sensibilities. Inspired by the diverse music heard in the streets and nightclubs of Turkey, Radio Istanbul’s hypnotic melodies and driving rhythms draw on Turkish, Romani (Gypsy), Balkan, and Arabic grooves. In existence for over ten years, the musicians are among the best in the S.F. Bay Area. Ahmet Cagin on Kanun, Greg Jenkins on Clarinet, Faisal Zedan and Sean Tergis on Rhythm, and Haluk Kecelioglu on Oud and Violin.

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Zoyres live at Rickshaw Stop SF 9-11-2008a

Zoyres Eastern European Wild Ferment packs Eastern European folk music, free improvisation, jazz, rock, drum-n-bass, and a bit of noise into the pickle jar.  The name “Zoyres” derives from the Yiddish term for fermented vegetables, “zoyers,” foods transformed by culture and community (of the microbial sort). Such culinary “cultural” transformations underlie our own cultural development, as humans have relied and reveled in fermented foods for millennia.  Zoyres’ music represents the geo-social analogue to the biochemical ferment.  Zoyres’ music, of Eastern European origin, brined in the contemporary cultural milieu, is akin to the pickle, still evident in its cucumbral origin, but with a taste and texture transformed.

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FANFARE ZAMBALETA needs no introduction to fans of the Bacchanal. These guys tear it up every time they play! Fanfare Zambaleta was incubated in the Zambaleta Music and Dance School in San Francisco and has since transformed into a full-fledged juggernaut of a band, featuring some of the Bay Area’s most exciting young players and seasoned veterans. Emulating the great Balkan brass bands of the past and present, they play Romani, Serbian, Macedonian and Greek brass band music with passion and dedication. FZ’s potent musical concoction of wild improvisation, meticulous ensemble coordination,  earth-shaking low brass, thunderous drumming and jubilant vocals will move your feet and lift your soul.

A KLEZMER VALENTINE’S DAY!

What does Klezmer have to do with Valentine’s Day you ask? Klezmer is the Jewish music of Eastern Europe, and Jewish immigrants from those areas who landed in New York in the early 20th Century. It’s a music full of exuberance and deep passion…perfect for romance!

February’s Bacchanal falls on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) and we’re going to celebrate with a special Klezmer showcase featuring three bands that are appearing for the first time at the Bacchanal, although you’re sure to recognize many of the players from other bands…read on!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday, February 14
Orchestra Euphonos
Saul Goodman’s Klezmer Band
Yiddishe Serenaders
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $8-12 sliding scale

1Yiddishe

The Yiddish Serenaders are an Oakland based Klezmer band which celebrates Yiddish Song and fiddle music. Inspired by singers such as Molly Picon & Theodore Bikel and fiddle players such as Leo Schwartz and the unknown violinists of the “Early Yiddish Instrumental music” recordings they have unique sound which is old and contemporary at the same time. Imagine a fiddler an accordion player and a singer walking out of the mountains of Transylvania and onto the stage in Bucovina: this is the Yiddish Serenaders.

 

Saul Goodman

Saul Goodman’s Klezmer Band comes from a musical tradition tracing back to the old world shtetl of Szrensk.  Incorporating post-immigrant sounds rooted in klezmer, Saul Goodman’s music moves the spirit and the dance. It’s always a simcha with Saul!

 

OrchestraEuphonosSubt

Orchestra Euphonos is the newest klezmer band in the Bay Area, founded by Peter Bonos in 2013.  Their distinctly classic-yet-modern sound is characterized by an exuberant melodic sensibility and boistrous brass frontline. Their repertoire includes energetic Moldovan folk instrumentals plus familiar klezmer favorites.  This performance will feature Peter Bonos, euphonium and trumpet; Annie Cilley, saxophone & violin; Travis Hendrix, clarinet; Kalei Yamanoha, accordion; Aaron Kierbal, drums and the debut of Juliana Frick on upright bass.

A New Year and a New Monthly Slot!

Happy New Year Everyone!
Good news from the Bacchanal…starting this month we’ll be switching to the 2nd Friday of each month. That’s right, stay out late and sleep in on Saturday!
The start time stay the same (9pm) but the music will run longer.

This year will be off to a great start. We’ve got two bands that are new to the BBB and one that we haven’t had for quite awhile. hope to see you there!

Also, the Starry Plough has invested in a new mixing board which should yield some improvements in the sound. And the food has been getting good reviews too.

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday, January 10
Balkan Evenings
Zabava
La Pêche
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $8-12 sliding scale

http://berkeleybalkanbacchanal.com/

We’re happy to welcome back La Pêche! Based around a common love for traditional musics, notably from the Balkans, La Pêche mixes, fuses and distillate the best of all musical worlds, including its own compositions.
The songs, at times vast and contemplative, at times furious and ecstatic, are a captivating blend of old and new melodies sublimed by the quintet’s wild improvisations.

Following La Pêche Zabava Izvorno!
Zabava means Party! Izvorno means a traditional, folk instrument band from FYR Macedonia. Together they name a group of some of the finest Balkan musicians in the country who aim to recreate the vibrant interplay of music and dance from this cultural crossroad.
And to make a great Party!

And finally, a new concept in Balkan music – Balkan Evenings. Drawing from many of the great musicians from the Bay Area, Balkan Evenings is a composed of a 5 member core that allows for musicians who know the tunes to sit in. The goal is to play great music while enlarging the Balkan musician community. With members of some of the best Balkan bands around, this free-wheeling jam session should be hot!

Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal – December 19

Please join us on the 3rd Thursday of every month for 3 local Balkan bands at an affordable price! Also, check out the great article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

THE BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
Balkalicious Fire Drive
Edessa
Disciples of Markos
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $8-12 sliding scale (support the bands yo!)
Questions? Contact us here!

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When the hashish smoke from the arghile fills the room and the ouzo glasses are clinking, it’s time for the Disciples of Markos. The Disciples are dedicated to mining the forgotten Rebetika songs of the 1930s. From heavy, stoned-out bouzouki jams by Markos Vamvakaris to the light-hearted hasapikos of Tsitsanis, the Disciples dig deep into the underworld sounds of an earlier era.

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edessa

We’re super pleased to welcome back the Bay Area Balkan legends EDESSA. Edessa are loved by Balkan dancers for the incredibly wide range of styles and dances, as well as their soulful and fiery playing. Featuring clarinet (George Chittenden), accordion & santouri (Lise Liepman), violin (Ari Langer), and percussion (Rumen Sali Shopov), this is a rare chance to hear them in a small pub setting…don’t miss it!

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With searing instrumentals and sultry, gut-wrenching vocals soaring over hard-hitting grooves, Balkalicious Fire Drive rocks you with the raw and intoxicating energy, sound and spirit of the Balkans.  Band members are infused with long and vibrant histories from the Bay Area world music scene and beyond.  They are: Leslie Bonnett on vocals and violin; Stuart Brotman on bass; Shea Comfort on clarinet; Dennis Demakos on laouto and vocals, and Haig Kassabian on percussion.

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BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL NOVEMBER 21!


Please join us on the 3rd Thursday of every month for 3 local Balkan bands at an affordable price! Also, check out the great article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

THE BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
Dan Cantrell’s Odd Jobs Conspiracy
Mano Cherga
Plovdiv Party Bus
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $8-12 sliding scale (support the bands yo!)
Questions? Contact us here!

Party bus
Plovdiv Party Bus is a Bay Area Balkan Folk Dance Band that plays music from all over the Balkans including the music of the Bulgarian, Macedonian, Greek, Swedish, and Romani people. The Bus driver is Greg Jenkins, master clarinetist and familiar to all Bay Area Balkan fans through his many projects; MWE, Fanfare Zambaleta, Agapi Mou, and others.

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ManoCherga

Mano Cherga is a regular at the Bacchanal and their raucous and rocked up Balkan tunes are not to be missed. They’ve got everything you need for a crazed Balkan party – but bring your own slivovitz!

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Dan Cantrell is the king of Balkan accordion styles in the Bay Area, and tonight he’ll be bringing his latest project to the BBB – Odd Jobs Conspiracy. Get ready for his unique mix clever composition, lush arrangements, and hot playing!

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The Bacchanal Fall season!

We’re excited to back from our summer break, and pleased to announce that we’ll kick off the fall season of the Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal with our first touring act, the Raya Brass band from NYC! They’ll be playing two sets and joining them for their own set will be MWE. Sounds awesome, right?

Please join us on the 3rd Thursday of every month for 3 local Balkan bands at an affordable price! Also, check out the great article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

THE BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Thursday, SEPTEMBER 19, 2013
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
RAYA BRASS BAND (NYC)
MWE
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $8-12 sliding scale (support the bands yo!)
Questions? Contact us here!

Raya-Brass-Band-Promo-Shot-June-2013-04

You might catch them wailing mid-span on the Brooklyn Bridge under a full moon. Or making partiers on a Bushwick rooftop dance so hard that the roof bounces. Raya Brass Band bursts with a frenetic joie de vivre that powers the high-energy party. Digging into black-market compilations, Eastern European carnival traditions and their own eclectic musical pasts (New Orleans brass, punk, out jazz), Raya Brass Band has the chops to match their irrational exuberance.

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MWE

One zurna, one davul, one saxophone, and two clarinets. MWE always kicks ass at the Bacchanal and you’ll be dancing when the band hits the floor to play in the middle of the dancers. Part Turkish marching band, part belly dance party band, MWE is a force of nature not to be missed!