New recordings and books by folks in the EEFC community.
Blato Zlato’s second album features both modern interpretations of Balkan folk traditions and new, original compositions written in Bulgarian about the band members’ lives in New Orleans, highlighting such themes as the omnipresence of water in their home town, intense-yet-magical stormy periods of light and darkness, and having one's heart torn between two places. Learn more at www.blatozlato.com.
Lou Carrig - accordion, vocals; Ian Cook - violin; Ruby Corbyn-Ross - vocals, riq; Janie Cowan - upright bass; Annalisa Kelly - vocals; and Boyanna Trayanova - tapan (percussion).
Stream, or purchase the digital album ($10) or a CD ($15), at: blatozlato.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-wake
This is a compilation of folkloric songs from all over Eastern Europe, including songs from Bulgaria, Georgia, Croatia, Albania, Serbia and Hungary. The recurring theme is weddings and marriage, in joys and in sorrows. These songs feature a variety of musical and vocal traditions, from dissonant duets to masterful arrangements. More at www.dunava.org.
Dina Trageser (director), Stephanie Boegeman, Teodora Dimitrova, Fiore Grey, Olivia Gunton, Hila Lenz, Raisa Kreek, Ramona McDowell Wijayratne, Jen Morris, Christi Proffitt, Jenny Sapora, and Meredith Selfon.
Stream the album on Spotify, or purchase a digital album ($12) or order a physical CD ($15), including an 8-page booklet, at dunava.bandcamp.com.
This book explores the musical legacy of the Anatolian Greek diaspora following the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, through the music and dance practices of Greek refugees and their descendants over the last hundred years.
According to the author, the book “explores the legacy of the late Ottoman ethos of pluralism and intercommunality through the music and dance practices of Greeks from the Aegean coast of Asia Minor, Lesvos, and their descendants both in Greece and the US, particularly the greater Boston area. . . .And there are some explicit EEFC connections: the book features quite a bit of conversation with and reflections on the work of several folks who you all know and love, including Sophia Bilides, Joe Kaloyanides Graziosi, Dean Lampros, and a few others.”
Hardcover, $65. University of Michigan Press
Romani clarinetist Ibryam Hapazov was forced to change his name to Ivo Papazov in the mid 1980s as part of the Bulgarian socialist government’s policy that targeted Muslims (Turks, Roma, Pomaks).
Romani and Turkish music, dress, languages, customs (such as circumcisions and calendrical holidays) were all prohibited. Ibryam/Ivo, as well as Yuri Yunakov (birth name Husein Huseinov), and other famous musicians went to jail for performing the Romani genre kyuchek.
This book chronicles four decades of Bulgarian wedding music. “The book is part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series that focuses on significant albums, their history and their impact,” the author says. “I chose the album Balkanology because it has become a classic, because it crossed over to world music audiences and because I was able to revisit the liner notes I wrote back in 1991.”
Published by Bloomsbury, available in paperback or ebook for $16.52 (website pricing), or hardback for $72 at Bloomsbury.com.
Janam (My Soul) blends Balkan and American roots and original music to create “rapturous acoustic textures, whirling rhythms and stunning vocal harmonies.” This is a collection of original tunes and traditional melodies from Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Bosnia, Armenia and the U.S.
Dan Auvil - tupan, daire, doumbeleki, voice; Tom Farris - guitars, laouto, riqq; Juliana Graffagna - voice, accordion; Gari Hegedus - oud, mandocello, mandolin, saz; and Shira Kammen - violin, medieval harp, voice.
Stream, or purchase the digital album ($7) at janam.bandcamp.com/album/venus-landing, or order a hard-copy CD by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A cinematic journey of unusual, danceable, highly syncopated compositions with instruments ancient and modern. Features eight original compositions by the band and two traditional folk songs, Na Khelav, Na Gilavav and Sandansko Horo.
Drew Schmieding - drums; Ben Rolston - electric bass;
Bethanni Grecynski - trombone; vocals, kaval; Eric Schweizer - reeds; Derek Worthington - trumpet. Guest artists on the album include Adam Good, Riste Tevdoski, Jordan Shapiro, Molly Jones and Abby Alwin.
Available streaming and as a digital album (“name your price) at ornamatik.bandcamp.com.
After 33 years of being a staple in the Balkan music and dance scene in the Seattle area, Orkestar RTW has recorded a CD.
The five-piece band started in 1987 as the house band for the Radost Folk Ensemble. Named in the tradition of post-World War II Balkan radio and television house bands (such as Orkestar Radio-Televizije Beograd), Orkestar RTW (Orkestar Radio-Televizije Washington) plays the music of those bands, primarily traditional dance and folk music from Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia. Read more at www.orkestarrtw.com.
Tim McCormack - drums; Ronald Long - accordion; Teodora Dimitrova - vocals, tambura; Jana Rickel - bass, vocals; and Steve Shadle - clarinet/vocals.
Stream or purchase the digital album ($10) at orkestarrtw.bandcamp.com/album/orkestar-rtw. For a physical CD, send an e-mail with your address to email@example.com, and PayPal $15 to that same address. Shipping and sales tax are included.
New and Notableby Martin Koenig
Between 1966 and 1979, educator, cultural documentarian and sometime EEFC workshop instructor Martin Koenig made half a dozen trips to Bulgaria.
Working in villages throughout the country, Koenig filmed, recorded, and photographed the lively, yet endangered, aspects of Bulgaria’s traditional culture. The results are indelibly gathered in Sound Portraits from Bulgaria: the vibrant rural life he experienced, the virtuosic musicians and dancers he met, the extraordinary music they made, and the joyous rituals and festivals he witnessed. This collection, published by Smithsonian Folkways, celebrates a way of life that has largely vanished due to industrialization, technology, globalization, and emigration. 109 minutes of music in 2 CDs; 144-page book with photographs and extensive bilingual notes.
Buy two-CD book set ($49.98) or download the album for $19.99; download the liner notes (no charge) and see all the lyrics in Bulgarian and English translation. The tracks are also available for individual purchase and you can sample them here: folkways.si.edu/sound-portraits-from-bulgaria
In this album, Teslim's second, Kaila Flexer and Gari Hegedus are joined by numerous special guests in a tribute to Kaila's parents, Abe and Bobbie, who met when they were 11 years old and have been together for over seven decades.
The musicians of Teslim come from different musical worlds, but all share a love of Turkish and Greek folk music, Turkish classical music and other Balkan and Middle Eastern traditions. They thrive on study and rehearsal, and as composers love working collaboratively arranging one another's work.
Gary Hegedus - oud, saz, mandocello; Elana Brutman - Cretan lyra with sympathetic strings; Josh Mellinger - frame drum, tonbak, cajon, table; and Kaila Flexer - violin, tarhui.
Available streaming or as a digital album ($7) or as a CD ($15) from kailaflexer.bandcamp.com/album/7-decades