Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal June 12

Do NOT miss this one! Not only is it the last show of the 2015 winter/spring season (the BBB will be off until September), not only are a bunch of folks returning from musical excursions in the Balkans, not only are there two kick ass local bands…but there we have a special guest all the way from NYC!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday June 12, 2015
Edessa
MWE
Eva Salina
Doors at 8:00pm, Music at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door ************************************************************
EDESSA is a legendary Bay Area Balkan band who’s members have delved deeply into the roots of Balkan music since the 1970s. Edessa reigns supreme in the Balkan dance world!

edessa ************************************************************

MWE_2

Their name is enigmatic, but MWE’s magical sounds are no mystery…a Middle-Eastern marching band consisting of one zurna, one davul, one saxophone, and two clarinets and 1 million decibels! With nearly half the band returning from gigs and workshops across the Balkans you can expect a super-charged MWE experience.

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©2014 Reuben Radding

©2014 Reuben Radding

Joining MWE on stage as well as opening the night with a solo set of her own, EVA SALINA makes her first appearance at the Bacchanal! Eva hails from Brooklyn, but is originally from The Bay Area (Santa Cruz). Her showstopping brand of singing and accordion playing will be sure to captivate with creative and intimate arrangements of songs from the Bulgarian, Greek, and Romani traditions.

Balkan Bacchanal May 8!

Special guest opener just added…Rumen Sali Shopov & Friends!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday May 8, 2015
Balkalicious Fire Drive (11pm)
Orchestra Euphonos (10pm)
Rumen Sali Shopov & Friends (9pm)
Doors at 8:00pm, Music at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door ************************************************************

Rumen

Rumen Sali Shopov is a renowned Rom artist from Gotse Delchev  in Southwest Bulgaria. He is one of the greatest living exponents of the southern Bulgarian/northern Greek style of ceremonial and celebratory tapan, a large double-headed drum that is the lead percussion instrument driving the rhythm of Romani Balkan processional brass band music and dancing. He also is known for his virtuosity on the tambura (long-necked mandolin), bouzouki, and doumbek, and as a vocalist.

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OrchestraEuphonosSubt

Orchestra Euphonos is a Bay Area-based Eastern European folk and klezmer band. Their uplifting sound is characterized by a brass and woodwind melodic front line. Orchestra Euphonos performs songs and melodies from old world Romania, Ukraine and Moldova and modern day Macedonia, Serbia, and Greece. Their performances are joyous occasions filled with wild takes on old favorites, group improvisations and more than a few opportunites to dance. ************************************************************

Balkalicious Fire Drive

Balkalicious Fire Drive

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.

Three Flavors of Klezmer – April 10

We’re stoked to present “Three Flavors of Klezmer,” 3 amazing Bay Area bands that have mined deep into different veins of traditional Jewish/Balkan music…do not miss!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday April 10, 2015
Ghost Note Ensemble (11pm)
Veretski Pass (10pm)
gonifs (9pm)
Doors at 8:00pm, Music at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door ************************************************************

gonifs Rob Reich, Richard Saunders, Sheldon Brown, Aaron Kierbel, Jeanette Lewicki

Once again we’re happy to present the inimitable sounds of the gonifs! The gonifs began as the house band for the pirate radio station, Radio Libre. Started by Peter Jaques & Jeanette Lewicki around 1996, as a vegan anarchist bicycle-powered marching klezmer band, this group is a loosely-knit collective that expands & contracts, adding instruments as needed to play raucous, frolicsome, soulful dance tunes & yiddish songs about love, anarchy, gangsters & potatoes. You can hear more of the gonifs at http://www.portofrancorecords.com/artists/the-gonifs/
In case the dog ate your Yiddish dictionary, a gonif is a thief, a rascal, or a very smart mischievous kid. Old folks sometimes say “Oy, Amerike gonif” — meaning something like, “Only in America!”

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VP

Another Bacchanal favorite, Veretski Pass are our resident Klezmer virtuosos! Taking its name from the mountain pass through which Magyar tribes crossed into the Carpathian basin to settle what later became the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Veretski Pass offers a unique and exciting combination of virtuosic musicianship and raw energy that has excited concertgoers across the world. 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. Veretski Pass recently performed at the Concertgebouw Concert Hall in Amsterdam, and their CDs have repeatedly been on the 10-best recording lists of journalists.

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Gyimes-kozeplok

Stay tuned for the Bacchanal-debut of  the Ghost Note Ensemble. Ghost Note Ensemble weaves music from Hungarian, Moldavian, Ukrainian, and Jewish folk traditions into a tuneful time traveled tapestry, a requiem for borders of future past.

Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal – March 13

Greek underworld songs followed by two sets of wild Balkan brass!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday March 13, 2015
Fanfare Zambaleta (10pm)
Disciples of Markos (9pm)
Doors at 8:00pm, Music at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door ************************************************************

The Disciples of Markos will open the evening with their latest batch of Greek Rebetika songs, extracted from the dusty grooves of 1930s shellac and brought back to life. Along with songs by their inspiration, Markos Vamvakaris, you can expect classic underworld ditties by Vamvakaris’ bandmates; Batis, Stratos, and the tragic Delias, as well as other Rebetika classics.

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Fanfare Zambaleta was incubated in the Zambaleta Music and Dance School in San Francisco and has since hit the streets as a full-fledged 11 piece juggernaut of a band playing exciting Romani, Serbian, Macedonian, and Greek Brass music with passion and dedication and featuring some of the Bay Area’s most exciting young players and seasoned veterans.

Balkan Bacchanal February 13

2015 is off to a great start! February continues the good times with our favorite Serbian/Roma party band, Mano Cherga, with the lush Balkan sounds of Sabaya and La Pêche!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday February 13, 2015
La Pêche  (11pm)
Mano Cherga (10pm)
Sabaya (9pm)
Doors at 8:00pm, Music at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door ************************************************************sabaya pic

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 guest Morgan Nilsen on clarinet– Sabaya (meaning “the girls” in Arabic) is more than just the girls!

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ManoCherga2

Ladies and gentlemen, we welcome you to The Mano Cherga Band experience! Wailing of the accordion, violin trills, clinking of the glasses, wind from the skirts on the dance floor, sweat running down your back, a smile on your lips, and tears in your eyes. That’s what it’s all about for us, and we love to share those moments with you. We are Haluk, Beodan, Sasha, Ed and Zhenya – violin, guitar/voice, accordion, drums, bass. Folk and Roma songs from all over the Balkans, played with a lot of heart.

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LaPeche2

La pêche is an ensemble of young Bay Area musicians, coming from backgrounds as diverse as hard rock, philharmonic orchestra or balkan brass. Out of this collaboration comes a music that is at the crossroads of European folkloric traditions and jazz & improvised performance.
“La Pêche” refers to a witty French expression for a heighten physical and spiritual state ; which the group aims to convey with their wild improvisations, deep soundscapes and fiery compositions.

January 2015 – more Bacchanal!

Thanks for joining us for another year of great local Balkan music! We’re excited about this show, gonifs was the first klezmer band I saw in the Bay Area back in the 1990s when San Francisco was still fun. Taraf de Locos is a new band that really blew me away last time they played the Bacchanal. And Radio Istanbul keeps getting better and better with their latest line up!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday January 9, 2015
Radio Istanbul (11pm)
Taraf de Locos (10pm)
gonifs (9pm)
Doors at 8:00pm, Music at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door ************************************************************

gonifs Rob Reich, Richard Saunders, Sheldon Brown, Aaron Kierbel, Jeanette Lewicki

The gonifs began as the house band for the pirate radio station, Radio Libre. Started by Peter Jaques & Jeanette Lewicki around 1996, as a vegan anarchist bicycle-powered marching klezmer band, this group is a loosely-knit collective that expands & contracts, adding instruments as needed to play raucous, frolicsome, soulful dance tunes & yiddish songs about love, anarchy, gangsters & potatoes. The gonifs’ breakout CD features Peter, Jeanette, Aaron Kierbel, Darren Johnston, Daniel Fabricant, & all the members of Veretski Pass. Since Peter is now travelling in Greece, the current lineup will be: Sheldon Brown (clarinet), Aaron Kierbel (drums), Jeanette Lewicki (vocals), Rob Reich (accordion), & Richard Saunders (bass). You can hear more of the gonifs at http://www.portofrancorecords.com/artists/the-gonifs/
In case the dog ate your Yiddish dictionary, a gonif is a thief, a rascal, or a very smart mischievous kid. Old folks sometimes say “Oy, Amerike gonif” — meaning something like, “Only in America!”

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Taraf

Taraf de Locos is a group of talented young musicians who grew up together. They met as children at a magical music camp in the heart of California, where traditional music from all over the world showered them every minute for ten days every year. Their sound is very natural and diverse. They play a mix of songs and tunes from Spain, Romania, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Tajikistan, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba and Mexico. As best friends, they bring a fun-loving energy that is genuinely contagious. Taraf de Locos features Aya Safiya on violin and vocals, Cecilia Cassandra Peña-Govea on trumpet, guirra and vocals, Miguelito León on percussion and vocals, and Tano Brock on guitar, saxophone and vocals.

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11Photo

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 Rythm, and Haluk Kecelioglu on Oud and Violin.

DECEMBER BALKAN BACCHANAL!

Another great line up, come by for the final show of 2014!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday December 12, 2014
Balkalicious Fire Drive (11pm)
MWE (10pm)
Disciples of Markos (9pm)
Doors at 8:00pm, Music at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door ************************************************************

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 with the addition of vocalist Gregory Masaki Jenkins.

IMG_8110sml

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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!

MWE

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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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Bacchanal November 14

Balkan Folk Dance Extravaganza! November features three bands that specialize in different regional folk dance music…come get your circle dance on!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday November 14, 2014
Orchestra Euphonos (11pm)
Agapi Mou (10pm)
Plovdiv Party Bus (9pm)
Doors at 8:00pm, Music at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door ************************************************************

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. Party bus ************************************************************

Agapi Mou is a four-piece ensemble that plays Greek traditional music, with an emphasis on tradition — no modern sound effects or drum machines, just violin, clarinet, hand drums, laouto, and voice. The name Agapi Mou means “my love” in Greek and describes the group’s feeling for the music they play. Formed in 2009, the group performs in the San Francisco Bay Area at festivals, restaurants, dance venues, concert halls, and private parties. AgapiMou ************************************************************

Orchestra Euphonos is a Bay Area-based Eastern European folk and klezmer band. Their uplifting sound is characterized by a brass and woodwind melodic front line. Orchestra Euphonos performs songs and melodies from old world Romania, Ukraine and Moldova and modern day Macedonia, Serbia, and Greece. Their performances are joyous occasions filled with wild takes on old favorites, group improvisations and more than a few opportunites to dance.
This performance will feature Peter Bonos, trumpet, Annie Cilley, saxophone and vocals; Travis Hendrix, clarinet & mandolin; Juliana Frick, upright bass, Kalei Yamanoha, accordion, Aharon Wheels Bolsta, percussion plus special guests Yoshie Fruchter and Jeremy Brown of Pitom.OrchestraEuphonosSubt

Balkan Bacchanal – October 10

daaaaaaaaamn, that was a crazy, wild night of music in September! We’re anxiously awaiting October because we’ll be featuring two of our favorite bands; the virtuosic klezmer of Veretski Pass and the unhinged Serbian party band Mano Cherga. But that’s not all! One of our favorite local musicians, Aya Sofia, is making her first appearance with her latest band , Taraf de Locos. Read on!

BERKELEY BALKAN BACCHANAL
Friday October 10, 2014
Mano Cherga (11pm)
Taraf de Locos (10pm)
Veretski Pass (9pm)
Doors at 8:00pm, Show at 9:00pm
The Starry Plough (3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley)
Admission $10-15 sliding scale at the door

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Veretski Pass will open the show with their sublime and intricate interpretations of obscure Jewish music. Taking its name from the mountain pass through which Magyar tribes crossed into the Carpathian basin to settle what later became the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Veretski Pass offers a unique and exciting combination of virtuosic musicianship and raw energy that has excited concertgoers across the world.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. Veretski Pass recently performed at the Concertgebouw Concert Hall in Amsterdam, and their CDs have repeatedly been on the 10-best recording lists of journalists.

VP

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Taraf de Locos is a group of talented young musicians who grew up together. They met as children at a magical music camp in the heart of California, where traditional music from all over the world showered them every minute for ten days every year. Their sound is very natural and diverse. They play a mix of songs and tunes from Spain, Romania, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Tajikistan, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba and Mexico. As best friends, they bring a fun-loving energy that is genuinely contagious. Taraf de Locos features Aya Safiya on violin and vocals, Cecilia Cassandra Peña-Govea on trumpet, guirra and vocals, Miguelito León on percussion and vocals, and Tano Brock on guitar, saxophone and vocals.


Taraf

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Growling of the tuba, wailing of the accordion, clinking of the glasses, wind from the skirts on the dance floor, sweat running down your back, a smile on your lips and tears in your eyes. That’s Mano Cherga! An Eastern European party band, Mano Cherga always take things to the brink of sanity. Now featuring Haluk Kecelioglu (of BBB favorite Radio Istanbul) on violin.

ManoCherga2

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The Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal is a music series held on the 2nd Friday of each month at Berkeley’s Starry Plough Pub. Each month we feature 3 local bands that showcase the diversity of Balkan music and Bay Area musical talent.