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Eastern Europe meets the Orient in Balkanik Festival, largest and most vibrant world music festival in Romania.

 

 Band of Gypsies (Taraf de Haidouks + Kocani Orkestar), Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Omar Souleyman, on the big stage in the heart of Bucharest, at the 6th edition of Balkanik Festival – 9th, 10th, 11th of September, 2016

 

Balkanik Festival proved its status as an event dedicated to new experiences, cultural exchange and discoveries that go beyond the continental borders, to its Romanian and international audiences. It is an annual festival of concerts, art exhibitions, crafts and performances of different artists belonging to a variety of cultures, who meet in this cultural melting pot in the heart of the capital city of Romania. The festival takes place for 3 days, on the 9th, 10th and 11th of September, in the historical Uranus Garden in Bucharest, an abandoned memorial reminding of the old Uranus neighborhood, demolished by ex-dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, in order to build the House of the People, second largest building in the world. The 6th edition focuses on the culture and fascinating nature of the minorities in the Balkans and Europe. The exciting line-up will bring together incredible musicians and rare shows that will mesmerize the audience and make it an unforgettable experience. The magic of the Oriental vibes will meet the passion and emotion of the Balkan sounds. The first headliners announced for the big stage of Balkanik Festival are Band of Gypsies – legendary Taraf de Haidouks and Kocani Orkestar together with a new and ravishing repertoire, Omar Souleyman, the great star of Syria, and Bollywood Masala Orchestra, bringing the effervescence and craze of the Indian Gypsies’ music, dances and a theatrical show never before seen in Romania. Antwerp Gypsy-Ska Orkestra, Cumbuș Cemaat  and Orange Blossom are vibrant bands, combining traditional music from Turkey, Egypt and the Balkans with electronic, ska and contemporary sounds.

 

The 6th edition of Balkanik Festival will witness and extraordinary meeting, one of the most special events in the world of Gypsy music. TARAF DE HAIDOUKS, the most emblematic Gypsy band in the world, coming from the village of Clejani and discovered in the 90s by the Belgian sound engineer Stephane Karo, comes together on the same stage with the spirited KOCANI ORKESTAR from Macedonia. Both bands will join their instruments and forces in a never before heard repertoire meant to demolish all prejudice, walls between people, countries, ethnicities and continents. The new playlist is written and arranged for a 26 musicians orchestra and explores the contrasts between the intensities of each band. The wild violins, cimbaloms and accordions of Taraf de Haidouks clash with the trumpets and percussion of the Kocani Orkestar. The show BAND OF GYPSIES will gather musical elements from the Balkans, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Orient.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvOdjAL3Ffk

 

 

BOLLYWOOD MASALA ORCHESTRA will take the audience on a colorful and musical journey from Rajasthan to Mumbai. Directly from India, the Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India will make their Romanian debut on the stage of Balkanik Festival. Spirit of India is an original theatrical event in which 17 lavishly costumed dancers, acrobats, fire-eaters and sword dancers perform an eclectic repertoire on Western and traditional Indian instruments. This lively unique show is the bold vision of Artistic Director Rahis Bharti, who invites audiences to the world of music, dance, dynamic rhythm and spirituality that characterize India, the Indian Gypsies and, of course, the irresistible scores of Bollywood film soundtracks. A veritable feast of sight and sound, both the rich traditions and modern interpretations capture the signature sound and vision of India.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDPcz2auJAs

 

OMAR SOULEYMAN “was a prolific wedding singer with more than 500 live albums to his name before civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. As his country became increasingly unstable, Souleyman fled to Turkey, where performing for couples tying the knot was no longer an option. Yet he continued to write songs of love and positivity as a welcome distraction from the horrors of war, and in the process found himself something of a star in the west.” (The Guardian) Omar Souleyman will bring his electric Syrian folk to Bucharest, not only to spread the contagious Oriental incredibly danceable rhythms, but also to humanize the image of a country that is now suffering more than ever. Omar Souleyman performed at the Nobel Peace Award Ceremony in 2013 and had various collaborations with Western artists, like Bjork (for her album Biophilia), Dan Snaith aka Caribou. "My music is from the community I come from – the Kurdish, the Ashuris, the Arabic, they're all in this community. Even Turkish because it's so near, it's just across the border. And even Iraqi." (Omar Souleyman)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVlgMEFu1PI

 

ANTWERP GYPSY-SKA ORKESTRA A steamy brew of Eastern European gipsy music and Jamaican ska, seasoned with a rebellious spirit, that has been Antwerp Gipsy-Ska Orkestra’s trademark for the last decade. The trailblazing band now finishes it off with Kilo Gipsyska, their third album. Following Tuttilegal (2007) and I Lumia Mo Kher (2011), this one really accentuates these musical globetrotters’ pioneering role.

Antwerp Gypsy-Ska Orkestra is formed by 7 traveling musicians from all the corners of the world, rising from ska and hardcore punk bands, who chose to bring together the music of the Gypsy orchestras in South-Eastern Europe and the dynamic ska/ reggae-ska rhythms. Their concerts are incredibly danceable and frenzied.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl8bAfZi6lI

 

CUMBUȘ CEMAAT is one of those bands that, if listened to in one of the famous world music clubs in Istanbul, makes your journey to the city spread on 2 continents unforgettable. Their music was born on the banks of the Bosphorus from songs gathered around the Balkans and the Middle East. For the last couple of years, they have been frequent guests at World music bar Araf in Instanbul, quickly gaining popularity especially in the famous Beyoglu quarter. They first performed in a festival in 2015, at the anniversary edition of Balkanik Festival and they kept the audience dancing for 3 hours, without pause. The most numerous encores ever seen led to their return to Balkanik Festival in 2016, this time, on the big stage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiL_sYCoiO0

 

 

ORANGE BLOSSOM and their heavy-electronica music infused with Oriental vibes will be performing in Romania for the first time, on the stage of Balkanik Festival. Once upon a time. There was a French band called Orange Blossom who, from the mid 90s onwards, created a musical concoction that married suspense-heavy electronica with Arabic rhythms – think Portishead relocated to the Maghreb.  Having seduced the ears of one Robert Plant, with whom they subsequently toured, the Nantes-based collective then vanished off the radar.  But they’ve been busy, traversing the planet in search of new adventures and new collaborators.  The result of these extended travels is Under the Shade of Violets, a record that draws from all over, but from Egypt in particular.  It’s also a more urgent sound these days, underscored by a refusal to stand still.  “You have to travel,” they say.  “You have to move”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9IUzvBuclw

 

Further bands, artists, exhibitions and parallel events will be announced on the official website www.balkanikfestival.ro and on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/balkanikfestivalro/ in July and August.

The Balkanik Festival poster is painted by artist Paul Hitter, pioneer of the Balkan Expressionism movement.

 

Early bird festival passes are available on www.eventbook.ro at the price of 25 eur.

 

Balkanik Festival is organized by Metropolis Cultural Association.

 

 

 

 



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