Posts filed under ‘Slavic’

Join in the Celebration of Bulgaria’s Special Day with Fabulous Folk Song and Dance: May 13th, Sunday @ 5:00 p.m.

Participate with Boston’s Bulgarian-American community as they celebrate the 8th Bulgarian Cultural Festival in New England in recognition of their native homeland’s independence as well as the establishment of the Slavic alphabet. Presented by the Bulgarian-American Center (MADARA), this well-established popular event promises attendees an evening of colorful folk music and dance originating from a wide variety of  local regions throughout Bulgaria. Featured performers will include the folk dancers of Ensemble “HORO” from Chicago, women’s chorus Divi Zheni, and men’s chorus Zornitsa. I know that I have posted about this event before, however, this year activities appear to have been expanded a bit to include native food and games, making it a more family friendly event. So, why not bring the kids along too! This long-running ethnically inspired event is sure to please crowd members of all ages.   

About the Performers

Ensemble “HORO” (The Ensemble for Bulgarian Folk Dances) is comprised of 40 or so very passionate adults and teens dedicated to the promotion of their native culture’s performing arts here in the United States and beyond. Artistic directors Irena Gotcheva and Todor Gotchev, both formerly of the highly esteemed Bulgarian troupe Ensemble “Silven”, established this Chicago-based troupe in 2003, assuring that their repertoire would represent all of Bulgaria’s main cultural sects in authentic folk music and dance including, Severniashka, Trakiiska, Shopska, Dobrudjanska, Pirinska and Rodopska. In addition to frequent local appearances throughout the Chicago area, the ensemble has also performed in St. Louis, Toronto, and Montreal. 



Divi Zheni (Wild Women) is an all-female chorus which performs a most authentic repertoire of Bulgarian  folk songs either a capella or accompanied by ethnic instruments such as the tambura, dumbek, and tupan. Members of this group come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and range in age from young to old.  Their repertoire includes both village and more popular dance songs which they perform at concerts, festivals and dance events. Founded in 2000, they not only appear locally, but nationally and overseas in Bulgaria as well.



Zornitsa, the male counterpart to Divi Zheni, was the first group of its kind to perform Bulgarian folk and popular songs. In addition to appearances at folk music events around the New England area, they have also performed in Bulgaria where they were aired on Bulgarian National television.

Tatiana Sarbinska, internationally renowned Bulgarian folk artist,  is the artistic director of both Divi Zheni and Zornitsa. As a recipient of the prestigious honor of National Treasure status, compliments of the Bulgarian government, she is recognized as instrumental in the preservation of her country’s native music culture. Thus, it is under her tutelage that Divi Zheni and Zornitsa are able to perform so successfully in the true Bulgarian folk style.  She has had and still enjoys an illustrious career as a vocalist and has recorded her own cds,  Makedonsko Devojche  and Katerino Mome.  Since 1991, she has shared her numerous artistic talents in the United States through the direction of various ensembles, music events, and workshops.


Event Details:

When: May 13th, Sunday @ 5:00 p.m.

                      Doors open at 4:30

Where: ACAS Center (Woburn)

Tickets: $20.00 (Advanced purchase) / $25.00 (At the door) / $5.00 discount for students and seniors / Kids under 12 are free

   Purchase online (scroll down) Or at the Six Stars Market (Woburn) (9 – 5)

More Info: 617-283-4543 OR OR

May 6, 2012 at 2:29 am Leave a comment

Discover a Whole New Side of the Music of Eastern Europe with the World Renown Guitarists of the Trio Balkan Strings: April 22nd, Sunday @ 8:30 p.m.

Zoran, Nikola, and Zeljko Starcevic are a father and son team that together have formed the Trio Balkan Strings, a highly successful group showcasing the talents of three of Serbia’s best guitarists. Inspiring audiences with their own special brand of  world fusion, they share with the rest of the world a version of Balkan-inspired instrumental music that is not only electrifying and exhilarating but also most contemporary and innovative as well. The group’s uniqueness of sound stems in a large part from a masterful blending of an extensive array of various Eastern European and other world music styles including, Serbian, Romani, Macedonian, Romanian, Moldavian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Mediterranean, Greek, Oriental, and more. Add to that elements of Western style genres such as jazz, swing, classical and rock, and you have a whole new interpretation of what actually began as Balkan folk music. The Starcevics regard each of the many diverse styles of Balkan music as  individually unique in character, and yet quite similar in many ways. This viewpoint is reflected in their music which can be appreciated as  unique over-all blending of many such genres and at the same time a well constructed collage of diverse stylistic elements, each of which stands out in the mind of the listener as a distinct part of the whole. The guitarists of Trio Balkan Strings are also known for their leading-edge instrumental technique, often displayed in the form of breath-taking improvisational passages or in the execution of musical ornamentations never before performed on a pectoral stringed instrument. 


Each member of the trio brings their own special set of talents to the over-all mix. Zoran has recorded countless cds totaling over a million copies, while sons Nikola and Zoljko both graduated from music school and teach classical guitar. As a group they have won international awards in both performance and composition. They have graced the stages of  jazz, classical, and ethnic music events throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States, and  have conducted workshops with American music students. The  Trio Balkan Strings have two cds to their credit entitled Balkan Guitars and Watermill.  So, are you ready for a new take on Balkan music? Just come on out to Johnny D’s and spend a unforgettable evening with the Trio Balkan Strings.





 Event Details:

21+ (In some cases minors can attend with an adult and a dinner table reservation – please call and inquire)
When: April 22nd, Sunday @ 8:30 p.m.

Where: Johnny D’s Uptown (Somerville)

Tickets: $12.00  (Online purchase highly recommended – $3.00 fee) (Seating may not be guaranteed– see website for further details) 

                           Dinner/Appetizer  Menu

More Info: 617-776-2004 OR 617-800-9720   


April 10, 2012 at 2:20 am Leave a comment

Enjoy Two Great Balkan Music Events for the Price of One Each and Every Month!: Saturdays (8:00 – 11:00 p.m.)

This is one highly entertaining Balkan inspired event to be sure! Since 1997, the Zdravets folk ensemble has been faithfully providing the public with a dance party, concert, and social get together all in one, each and every month. Hit the dance floor, mix and mingle, or just sit back and chill out to the wonderful and intriguing sounds of purely authentic traditional music originating from Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonea, and their Balkan neighbors. Zdravets, who refer to themselves as “Boston’s friendly neighborhood Bulgarian band”, is well known for their ability to throw a good party with music that naturally lifts the attendees’ spirits, keeping one and all in  a festive and fun-loving mood all evening long. The dancing is performed group-style so no partners necessary. In addition, I would point out this is a very laid back event, so dress comfortably and rest assured that dance steps will be less complex in nature and will be demonstrated for the sake of any beginners in the crowd. Dancers with all levels of experience are happily accommodated for!!! Now here’s the added bonus that comes with this particular event. During the rest periods, dancers will actually be treated to a mini concert, compliments of Zdravets of course! There will also be a refreshment table on the premises where you can meet your fellow party guests. Culinary donations made in honor of the party feast are welcomed. 


The name Zdravets refers to a wild species of geranium which thrives year round on the mountain-sides of Bulgaria. To the native population, this bloom represents health and endurance. And appropriately so, such is the state of the band’s music which has itself been thriving for over 20 years! Much of their repertoire is representative of Bulgarian folk genres, which are characterized by their irregular rhythms, tightly spaced harmonic structures, and sonic intensity. The bands instrumental selections literally beckon one to get up and dance while the sharply vivid harmonies of the vocal numbers cannot help but grab ones attention. They take the authenticity of their traditional music very seriously as many of their interpretations are based on actual field recordings of native folk musicians. In addition, Zdravets performs for the most part on ethnic instruments including: kaval, gadulka, tambura, tapan, tarabuka, and gaida. Aside from regular local appearances throughout New England, this nine-member folk ensemble has appeared oversees in Bulgaria at such prestigious events as the National Folklore and Petrova Niva festivals and on native national television and radio as well. Their latest recording is entitled “Late Harvest“. Thanks to the enthusiastic and dedicated efforts of Zdravets, Bostonians can enjoy first-rate Balkan music and dance virtually every month of the year!



Event Details:

When: Saturdays (Monthly) (8:00 – 11:00 p.m.)

   Confirm schedule

Where: Church of Our Savior (Arlington)

  Confirm location

Admission: $7.00

More Info: 617-964-2003 OR            

January 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm Leave a comment

Get Set for an Evening of Premier Balkan Inspired World Fusion as Theodoshi Spassov’s North American Tour 2011 Comes to Boston: October 21st, Friday (7:30 – 9:00 p.m.)

Listen to Theodoshii Spassov and Vlada Tomova with Balkan Tales. (Scroll down)
Join Theodoshii Spassov in the celebration of Bulgarian National Revival Day honoring the very forefathers of an all important movement that sparked a sense of cultural pride within a nation once struggling under Ottoman rule, a movement so effective that it would eventually lead to Bulgarian independence. And a fitting role it is indeed for a musician who is widely recognized as a cultural role model in his homeland, to be leading a North American tour honoring this all important event in Balkan history. It also just happens to be the great kaval virtuoso’s 50th anniversary as well.  Joining him on the Boston tour stop will be world fusion ensemble Balkan Tales, lead by vocal virtuoso Vlada Tomova and featuring guitarist and sitarist Chris Rael. It promises to be an evening of first-rate world fusion music. Spassov will be showcasing his own special brand of Bulgarian folk music both as an instrumentalist and a vocalist, blending the genre in a most creative fashion with elements of  various other diverse ethnic styles, jazz and classical music. His guests, Balkan Tales, will present their own modernized versions of traditional songs not only from the Balkan regions, but also from the Mediterranean, and Middle East, as well, further embellished with smatterings of pop, jazz, funk, and additional world music influences.


Featured Performers
Theodoshii Spassov – This Bulgarian super star/nationally acclaimed cultural hero has been successfully touring worldwide for over 20 years. He has recorded over 20 cds either as a contributing performer or on his own. As a recipient of multiple national and international artistic awards, including a Grammy, he was credited in Newsweek’s “Best of the East” article with actually having introduced to the rest of the world his own entirely new and unique genre of music. Active also in the world of film music, Spassov has succeeded both as a composer and performer, having participated in the recording of soundtracks for some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Ennio Morricone and Carlos Silliotto.
Vlada Tomova – In addition to leading the group of internationally recognized musicians that is Balkan Tales, she also established the Bulgarian women’s choir  Yasna Voices, which was at the time, the only ensemble of its kind in New York City. She has also very successfully collaborated  with world music super stars Balkan Beat Box and continues to perform at major music festivals across North America. 
Chris Rael – As an established virtuoso of the sitar and the Portuguese and 12-string guitars, he has performed at major entertainment venues across the globe and worked with some of the world’s top musicians. He also founded the wildly popular group Church of Betty as well as his very own record label, Fang Records. He is the producer of a number of cds as well as a whole host of live New York City events. 
Also joining this special group of world fusion artists will be local guest stars, jazz vocalist Elena Koleva and jazz fusion soloist Plamen Karadonev. This show is expected to sell-out, so don’t be left out, and order your tickets as soon as possible. 


 Event Details:
21+ (Minors can attend with an adult and a dinner table reservation)
When: October 21st, Friday @ 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

(Doors open at 6:30)

Where: Johnny D’s Uptown (Somerville)

Tickets: $20.00  (Online purchase highly recommended – $2.00 fee)

                           Dinner/Appetizer  Menu

More Info: 617-776-2004 OR 617-800-9720  


October 16, 2011 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

Come and Hear Some of the Latest Versions of Traditonal Folk Music of Eastern Europe with World Fusion Ensembles Dark, Dark, Dark and A Hawk And A Hacksaw: October 1st, Sunday @ 9:00 p.m.

American world folk sensations Dark, Dark, Dark and A Hawk and a Hacksaw will bring 2 new and different perspectives of Eastern European folk music to Boston’s Brighton Music Hall next month. Although I must warn you at this point that this is a standing room only event, I can also assure you that the experience should be well worth the lack of a seat as both bands are well-seasoned performers who have attained much success with adoring fans world-wide.

A Hawk And A Hacksaw (More Info/ Sound Clips) – This dynamic twosome consists of none other than accordionist Jeremy Barnes and violinist and vocalist Heather Trost. Sporting their own special blend of traditional genres from Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Romania, and other regions of Eastern Europe, they produce a lively and uplifting repertoire, steeped in tradition yet embellished with a distinct contemporary flair. The pair maintain a highly unified artistic relationship as they perform, such is the style that always was and still is so very characteristic of this ancient musical art form. Although currently from Albuquerque, both Barnes and Trost took up a two-year residency in Hungary, honing their musicianship skills in the company of some of the nation’s top folk musicians. They have since produced their very own recording label centered solely around the promotion of Eastern European folk music. One of their latest most notable ventures has been their performance on a newly re-made soundtrack to the 1964 documentary film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. 








Dak, Dark, Dark (More Info/Sound Clips) – This world fusion band beckons audiences to take a fresh new look at their everyday living environment in order to gain a different perspective on what might otherwise seem like a rather ordinary existence. With their own avant-garde interpretation of New Orleans style jazz blended with, Americana, pop, and Eastern European folk genres, they will introduce you to a new and exciting world around you full of whimsy and enchantment as they stimulate your perceptive senses. The fact that these artists play so well together as one superb musically cohesive unit, explains their uncanny ability to combine a wide array of styles and elements within each of their compositions, the end effect of which often times possesses a haunting quality quite capable of penetrating the listener’s very soul. Dark Dark Dark has toured heavily worldwide in addition to many other ambitious pursuits. Their smash hit Daydreaming has been included on the soundtracks of  notable TV productions Greys Anatomy, American Idol, and Degrassi: the next generation.







So come on out to Boston’s Brighton Music Hall and find out the latest progressions in the world of  Slavic folk music with premier artists Dark, Dark, Dark, and A Hawk and a Hacksaw.

Also appearing will be Americana ensemble Pillas and Tongues bringing you more first-rate leading edge music!

Event Details:

18+ only

When: October 2nd, Sunday @ 9:00 p.m.

Where: Brighton Music Hall

Tickets: $14.00 (Online – Standing Room Only – In advance)

More Info: 617-876-4274 OR 617-779-0140

(Area Restaurants)                   


September 27, 2011 at 3:11 am Leave a comment

Aquire an Authentic Taste of Central European Roma Culture with the Rajko Ensemble @ Johnny D’s: September 15th, Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.

Listen to the Rajko Ensemble.

The ensemble’s website is mostly in Hungarian.

Prior to 1952, the only real place for a professional gypsy musician to perform for a living was in a local drinking establishment. But then a native Hungarian with big dreams came along and changed all of that. Gyula Farkas established the now prestigious Rajko Music School of Romani performing arts in order to professionally train young gypsy musicians and dancers from the tiniest remote villages in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and the Ukraine. Only a very select group of young people are invited to Budapest to come study at this very special school from the tender age of eight until they are eighteen or nineteen years of age and well prepared to perform as members of professional ensembles of all sizes in the best of entertainment venues all over the world. The key to the students’ success, especially with respect to their amazing technical proficiency, is a constant exposure to an extensive training regimen centered around their natural inate ability to improvise music.

A major product of the Rajko School is the highly acclaimed 50 member Rajko Orchestra. Of course, there will not be nearly that many musicians on stage at Johnny D’s, but rather a small eight piece chamber group. Each and every member is a true virtuoso on the specific instrument which they play and some of them have been performing together for vitually 20 years or more!  They will be bringing Roma traditional music of 19th and 20th century central Europe to the Boston audience, soley on authentic instruments matching both the appropriate time period and culture, so you know you are hearing the real deal here in its purest form. This premier folk ensemble has played in the most well-known and respected entertainment settings all over the world, performing for enthusiastic crowds in Europe, Australia, the Far East, and both North and South America. They have also accompanied the performances of top solo artists and dance companies, appeared on national broadcasts both on radio and television, and recorded an impressive number of cds. This highly revered ensemble has not appeared in the US in a very long time, which makes this particular performance all the more special for Boston area listeners.


Event Details:

21+ (Exceptions are made for some shows during the week or early evening on the weekend  – call in advance)

                 General Underage Policy

When: September 15th, Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.

 Where: Johnny D’s (Davis Square)

Tickets: $16.00 (Purchase online here)

More Info: 617-776-2004 (Inquiries regarding upcoming shows, the restaurant, and the dinner reservations policy)

               Additional Contact Info  


September 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

Travel Back to “Old” Armenia with the Arev Armenian Folk Ensemble: January 17th, Monday @ 8:00 p.m.

The Arev Armenian Folk Ensemble are a group of musicians with a heartfelt mission to bring traditional Armenian music to audiences at large in its very purest and  most authentic form. This is the folk music of the ancient, once free and independent, Armenia of 3000 years ago, before it’s culture was diluted at the hands of the country’s oppressors who infused it with Turkish, Russian, and Arabic influences. Luckily, the loyal citizens of the Armenian diaspora have started a worldwide cultural trend aimed at “purifying” the performances of their native music, rendering them free of these outside influences.

Under the capable leadership of director Martin Haroutunian, the virtuosos of the Arev Ensemble employ the use of both ancient folk and more modern native instruments in order to effectively recreate the truly authentic sound of Armenian music in its original form. Founded in 1989, the group continues to develop and increase its popularity. Haroutunian credits this success to their involvement with the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational Society’s Boston chapter where they have been active since 1999. The current membership includes Martin Haroutunian on dap, duduk, zurna, kopal dhol, shviparkapzuk, pku, and sring (blul), John Kozelian on oud, Ani Zargarian and Tamar Melkonian on vocals, and Markos Shahbazyan on dhol. The Arev Ensemble holds a strong belief in the ability of music to inspire positive social change, as do I and countless others. In recognition of this they have recorded a cd in memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, in the hope that their music will remind the world of the old peaceful and prosperous Armenia that once was,  while serving as a beacon of hope for the country’s eventual return to its original state of existence. So, why not come on out to the Club Passim and be not only entertained but also inspired both musically and philosophically by the message behind the powerful and refreshingly authentic music of the Arev Armenian Folk Ensemble.








Event Details:

When: January 17th, Monday @ 8:00 p.m.

Where: Club Passim (Harvard Square)

Tickets: $15.oo (General admission) / $13.00 (Members)

  Purchase tickets and/or reserve a table online

  Purchase tickets by phone: 617-492-7679 

More Info: OR 617-492-5300

(Area Restaurants)


January 11, 2011 at 4:01 am Leave a comment

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