Tag Archives: Balkan music

Blato Zlato at Podkrepa Hall, Portland Oregon, 9 June 2019

Whenever I hear live Balkan music, I find myself wondering, “Why do I ever listen to anything else?” The wild rhythms, the insane harmonies, the tunes that leap in an instant from the depths of despair to the tallest mountaintop … Continue reading

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Elina Duni’s Partir

“We’re all leaving. Bound to be torn away, one day or another, from what we love.” With those words Elina Duni welcomes her audience in to her latest project, a cycle of songs from around the world about love, loss … Continue reading

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Eva Salina and Peter Stan’s Sudbina

This review is different from nearly every one I’ve ever written, in that it draws more from the album’s publicity and background than my opinions about the recording itself. The publicity material is uncommonly well-written and presents quotes from the … Continue reading

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Damir Imamovič’s Sevdah Takht’s Dvojka

This album was actually released in 2016 but only recently came to my attention. My ear has wandered away from Balkan music for a while, and Damir Imamovič turns out to be a great attention-getter. Imamovič is the scion of … Continue reading

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Amira Medunjanin’s Damar

I haven’t listened to a lot of sevdah, but I am familiar with Mostar Sevdah Reunion, probably the best-known sevdah group outside of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Amira Medunjanin sang on their 2003 album A Secret Gate before going on to … Continue reading

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Boiled in Lead’s 17 March 2001

Boiled in Lead are, without any doubt, one of the best live Celtic/punk/balkan fusion bands on the planet bar none. Confused yet? Well, let’s have Chuck Lipsig in his essential Boiled In Lead omnibus give a go at explaining them: ‘The problem … Continue reading

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Boiled in Lead’s Silver 

Before commenting on Boiled in Lead’s Silver, CD, let me stress one point: “punk” is a general descriptive term denoting, most often, a subgenre. Thus we have celtopunk, Christian punk, glam punk, and any number of other punks in music. In … Continue reading

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Boiled in Lead’s The First Decade of Recordings

Chuck Lipsig penned this review. The problem when writing about Boiled in Lead is how to describe them. Rock and Roll? Punk? Blues? Jazz? Traditional? Which tradition? They’ve done everything from Irish to Albanian to Vietnamese to American Traditional. Indeed, there … Continue reading

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Various artists’ Hungarian Noir, A Tribute to the Gloomy Sunday

If you’re familiar with the song “Gloomy Sunday” it’s probably from Billie Holiday’s version of it, which popularized it in the U.S. in 1941. The BBC banned that record from the airwaves because its mood was deemed too somber for … Continue reading

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Various Artists’ Balkans without Borders

Brendan Foreman wrote this review. When the lights go out, when the food disappears, when death is ever-present, you still find music. — David Wilson, director Pavarotti Music Centre, Mostar In response to the extreme violence and poverty that has been visiting the … Continue reading

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Boiled in Lead’s Songs from The Gypsy

Boiled in Lead‘s Songs from The Gypsy is a collision, of sorts. That’s a metaphor, of course, but then, if you can’t speak in metaphor, you can’t talk about music. First, the basics, for those who, like yours truly, are not familiar with … Continue reading

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Timothy Rice’s May It Fill Your Soul: Experiencing Bulgarian Music

Timothy Rice, folk-dancer turned ethnomusicologist, did field work in Bulgaria for his masters degree (1971) and PhD (1977) at the University of Washington. He later hosted gaida (bagpipe) player Kostadin Verimezov and his wife, singer Todora Verimezova, for a residency … Continue reading

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Eva Salina’s Lema Lema

Lema Lema: Eva Salina Sings Šaban Bajramović is an amazing recording of Balkan Romani (Gypsy) music that’s filled with contradiction and paradox. Šaban Bajramović was the king of Balkan Romani music in the 1960s and 1970s. Apparently a larger-than-life, somewhat … Continue reading

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Balkan Clarinet Summit’s Many Languages, One Soul

If you at all like instrumental music from southeastern Europe, if you enjoy the sound and versatility of the clarinet, or if you just like wildly eclectic international music – personally, all three describe me – then this Balkan Clarinet … Continue reading

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Elina Duni Quartet’s Dallëndyshe

The Elina Duni Quartet returns with its second outing on ECM, asumptuous and stirring follow-up to 2012’s Matanë Malit. ComprisingAlbanian-born, Swiss-raised singer Duni, Colin Vallon on piano, Patrice Moret, bass, and Norbert Pfammater, drums, the quartet has raised to a … Continue reading

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Elina Duni Quartet’s Matanë Malit (Beyond The Mountain)

This is a very special album, one that combines two forms of music that I appreciate immensely, Balkan folk music and jazz. I don’t claim any particular expertise in writing about either, so bear with me if I make mistakes … Continue reading

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Various artists’ Music from Montenegro

Music from Montenegro is a single-disc collection that showcases the variety of Montenegro’s folk music styles, with 28 tracks covering nearly 76 minutes. Variety is the key word here, and the musical variety echoes Montenegro’s ethnic and geographic diversity. With … Continue reading

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Makam’s Almanach

Makám has been putting its own stamp on Hungarian folk music for more than 20 years now. Or rather, Zoltán Krulik’s stamp. Almanach is the first album by this group I have heard, but they’ve been making recordings since 1984. … Continue reading

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Balkanarama’s Balkanarama Live

Seattle band Balkanarama plays mostly Rom or Gypsy music, largely dance music of the type you’d hear at wedding celebrations in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Albania and Greece. In addition to traditional instruments like violin (Matty Noble), saxophone (Ferko Saxmanov) … Continue reading

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Ion Petre Stoican’s Sounds From A Bygone Age, Vol. 1

This record has quite a back-story. Ion Petre Stoican was a relatively unknown musician in the lively Bucharest scene of the 1970s. He had played professionally, particularly for weddings and such, in a port town for some 15 years, but … Continue reading

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