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Amsterdam Klezmer Band & Söndörgő (21.04)

Netherlands/Hungary SZIKRA is an amazing collaboration between the Amsterdam Klezmer Band from the Netherlands and the Söndörgö group from Hungary. They form an ensemble whose scale, sound quality and stage presence are truly exceptional. The Dutch group has built up a strong international reputation for its performances combining klezmer or gypsy traditions with modern music and dance. Collaborating with the Söndörgö group was an obvious choice. The group has revitalised traditional Balkan music and works wonders with its acoustic string instruments. The sensational result has been immortalised on CD, and you can now hear them live thanks to Balkan Trafik! This will be a performance you won’t forget.

Ceylan Taci Quartet (21.04)

Albania/Belgium Ceylan Taci, auteure-compositrice-interprète, Albanaise d’origine en passant par la Macédoine et puis Istanbul, est née à Bruxelles. Baignée depuis son plus jeune âge dans la culture des Balkans, le chant, les rythmes et la fête n’ont pas de secret pour elle. Sa Mère, ses cousins, ses oncles chantent et jouent d’un instrument, ils se rassemblent pour célébrer les moments de vie en rythme et en chant. En plus de ses propres sources musicales albanaises, turques, son tambourin’térieur, Ceylan s’ouvre aux rythmes africains, au jazz, au gospel, aux chants polyphoniques bulgares, géorgiens, aux chants ethniques, aux chants Yoruba. Son amour des rythmes et du groove imprègne ses compositions. Ses textes en albanais, en anglais et en turque dévoilent un univers très personnel. Sa voix est touchante et généreuse, elle nous invite à découvrir ce qui l’anime profondément, ses émotions, ses moments de vie à elle et son retour aux sources… l’Albanie.

Svetlana Spajic (20&21.04)

Serbia more info soon 

Fanfare Ciocărlia (21.04)

Romania Henry Ernst founded Fanfare Ciocărlia (literally: the song of the lark) in 1996, after discovering the brass band in Zece Prajini, a small, secluded Romanian village. Having selected a dozen of its musicians, the German world music fan organised the band’s first tour in his home country. It was a major success and since then the brass band has doubled in size and now consists of 24 musicians who perform around the world, maintaining traditions inherited from their forefathers and keeping the authentic spirit of gypsy music alive. The incredible speed of its interpretations, rhythm changes and tones of its brass set this band apart. They have been blasting out Balkan grooves for more than 20 years but are equally at home playing gypsy music, popular Romanian songs, jazz standards, rock or funk. In order to celebrate their 20th anniversary, which marks their first major milestone, they have released a new CD entitled “Onwards to Mars” which was named “best European album released in 2017” at the Songlines Music Awards. In it, Fanfare Ciocărlia explore both Romanian folklore and contemporary Balkan music. The album includes exceptional collaborations, with the likes of Puerto Candelaria, one of the best Colombian cumbia groups.


Czechia Tomáš Liška´s “Invisible World“ is a truly unique venture within the landscape of contemporary Czech music. The project´s own musical compositions combine elements of Jazz, chamber music and World Music from the Mediterranean and South-Eastern regions of the European continent. Their approach is not based on individual exhibitions, but rather on a philosophy where music is a clear and crystalline medium which irradiates a rich palette of emotional hues. These are inspired by strong melodies which are adorned by a subtle and seemingly effortless lacework of improvisation. Invisible World performed on World & Jazz Festivals and venues across Europe, Africa and Japan. In 2017 was awarded the Audience Award on the international music conference Ostrava Music Crossroads and recieved the invitation on Ritmo Festival in Budapest. Efe Turumtay (violin) was born in Istanbul, Nikola Zarić (accordion) in Serbia and Kamil Slezák (drums) in Moravia. Tomáš Liška (upright bass) met all three in the course of his musical journeys around the world, while tirelessly searching for fascinating interactions between instruments and cultures which would enthrall both him and his audiences. “A sophisticated blend of New and Old World influences, including Turkish violin, Balkan accordion and a pinch of tango nuevo. The result leaves as much space for listeners as for the musicians. A great opportunity for music adventurers.” (Petr Dorůžka, world music journalist & explorer)

Albanian National Ensemble of Folks songs and dances (20&21.04)

Albania The National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dancing was established as a professional ensemble in 1957, having all the artistic and technical components of an artistic troupe. The Ensemble includes the solo singers, the dance troupe, the vocalists and the small orchestra. Its artistic goal is to elaborate, develop and propagate ancient and contemporary Albanian folk treasures, which include a great musical, instrumental and choreographic richness from various folk areas, generating a great harmony of motifs. The Albanian folk is distinct from that of other countries for its originality, long existence, as well as for the variety of artistic genres. Albania has a lot ethnographical areas, each having its specialties in costumes, songs, dances, rites and costumes, which our people have inherited generation after generation. Because the Ensemble depends on this grassroots richness and because it has been on expeditions to all areas where that richness sprang, not only it has become the pride of the Albanian traditional culture but it has also stunned folk researchers from all over the world with its values. Another important element that emphasizes the values of our Ensemble is the talent of its artists. Hundreds of the best artists of Albania have been part of it: dancers, musicians, choreographers, singers and costume-makers. Costumes are perhaps, the Ensemble’s greatest richness, with both their originality and the variety of their colors, designs and ornaments. They have been estimated as rare values of traditional culture of a nation.

From East to East (21.04)

Poland more info soon

Bubliczki (20.04)

Poland more info soon

Mitsoura (20.04)

Hungary Mitsoura was the most characteristic Hungarian world-music/etno electronic band of the 2000s, famous for its unique approach to seeking a special sounding experience that is embedded in limitless artistic complexity. After 7 years of break, we can first hear them again at the BalkanTrafik Festival. The singer, Monika -Mitsou- Miczura claims one of the most prestigious places amongst Roma performers in the world, with her unmistakable voice and distinctive talent. She has worked for example, with film director Tony Gatlif (Gadjo Dilo), was a lead singer in AndoDrom and went on tour with Fanfare Ciocărlia. We could last see her perform as a guest for YallahBye here, in Brussels. From the original band, Mark Moldvai (music director, live electronics, keyboards, percussion) remained part of the performance next to Mitsou. They are complemented by Andras Jeli (electric and bass guitar, visual director), Barna Gabos (kaval, ney, bamboo flutes) és Sandor Fodo (drums, percussion). Imagine ancient traditions, contemporary sounds, authentic folk elements mixed with 21st century cinematic-electro-ambient sound collages, supported with a strong visual background. With all certainty, MITSOURA’s multimedia concert promises to be a special event.

Wata Wata (20.04)

Belgium Un virus ravageur venu d’ex-URSS ? Une boisson pétillante coupée au raki et à la țuică ? Un pas de danse asymétrique qui n’existe que dans nos têtes ? Un navire légendaire échoué au large de la Vieille Europe ? Wata Wata c’est un peu tout ça à la fois… et c’est aussi sept musiciens bruxellois au service d’une musique festive et émouvante, bariolée et enivrante, qui nous parle de l’humanité la plus universelle dans les langues les plus singulières. En grec, en romanès, en yiddish ou en arabe, la plainte et les pleurs finissent souvent en larges éclats de rire, la détresse se fait promesse puis caresse. Une déclaration d’amour et de révolte, souffles et frottements, cordes et lames, sang et miel.

Academie Plovdiv (20&21.04)

Bulgary/Romania Academic folklore ensemble at Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts- Plovdiv was established in 2008 – a young ensemble, with already approved authority who takes its worthily place in Bulgarian national folklore culture. An interesting fact is that, the folk choir, folk orchestra and dance ensemble are with educational statute, which means their main activity is directly related to preparation of students in “Performing Art” (folk instrument or folk singing), “Conducting folk group” and “Choreographic staging production”. The Academic folk ensemble is the outer appearance of the Academy. Every performance on Bulgarian or foreign stage rises the Academy to eminence because musical and performing qualities are incarnated by its students. A big part of them are also lecturers in different folk instruments. In spite of its “youth” The Academic folk ensemble has many concerts in Bulgaria and abroad. The ensemble has wone many awards, but the most prestigious is a “Grand prix” in 2009 from Agrigento, Italy. The Academic folk ensemble participates for second time in the review of the professional folk ensembles in Bulgaria which has been held at Pazardjik , Bulgaria. This in itself is a great appreciation of the Art of this young group of musicians, dancers and singers.

Brussels Balkan Orchestra (20.04)

Belgium The Brussels Balkan Orchestra is a group of professional and amateur musicians with its origins in the Balkan music workshops given in Brussels by Nicolas Hauzeur. The group essentially performs gems from the folk repertoire gleaned during musical journeys through Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. They then reconstitute an orchestral version rich in refinement and sensuality. In keeping with their openness to different cultures, the group will be present at the Vino Zirkus and will be ready to welcome soloists to share a festive moment in keeping with the spirit of the Balkan Trafik Festival. The amateur and professional musicians of the Brussels Balkan Orchestra perform major classics from the folk music of the Balkans.

The Somos Ensemble (21.04)

Hungary The Somos Ensemble has been playing the traditional folk music of Csango-Hungarians since 2002 in its current formation. The speciality of the ethnic music of Csango-Hungarians is that this group has lived isolated from Hungarians of the Carpathian Basin, and this isolated environment has left its mark on their traditional music as well. Famous Hungarian composers Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály have also studied and collected both traditional instrumental music and folksongs of Csango-Hungarians. Csangos have maintained a rich folklore and folksong repertory, the performance style of their ballads and laments represent the most ancient layer of Hungarian culture. The members of the ensemble approach the music of Csango-Hungarians with a great respect. Their performances aim to reproduce the art of the traditional folk musicians, whom they regard as their masters; the sound of ancient music is played to the liking of the contemporary listener. Their instruments comprise the shepherd’s flute, the kaval flute, tilinko (holeless flute) and the violin as well as the koboz (folk lute), the drum, the gardony (hit cello), and Jew’s harp as accompanying instruments.

Savína Yannátou & Primavera en Salonico (21.04)

Greece Studying in her home country and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, the Greek singer Savina Yannatou fell in love with traditional song and founded the group Primavera en Salonico with musicians from Thessaloniki. Together they have recorded eight CDs for the ECM label and have performed all over the world. Savina Yannatou has also composed her own songs and has recorded 21 albums in total. She has collaborated with the likes of bass player Barry Guy, percussionist Baby Sommer and the Canadian ensemble Constantinople, and works with renowned orchestras and Greek composers. Accompanied by an exceptional group of musicians, she performs traditional songs from Thessaloniki, nicknamed the Jerusalem of the Balkans and home to numerous Greek, Jewish, Turkish, Bulgarian, Serbian, Armenian and Pontic communities. Taking old songs as a starting point, they go on a musical journey to recreate the spirit of each community, thanks to the exceptional arrangements of Kostas Vomvolos.

Džambo Aguševi Orchestra (20.04)

Macedonia The Džambo Aguševi Orchestra is no doubt the best orchestra in Macedonia. Džambo’s fame and talent owes nothing to chance. Born into a family of musicians, he was a child prodigy on the trumpet. Having joined his uncle’s orchestra at the age of 11, that same year he recorded his first CD! Winning all the major music competitions – including Serbia’s prestigious Guča Festival that brings together the best musicians in the Balkans – Džambo was soon lending his name to his own brass band. After going on to win every prize imaginable with this band, he was even asked to give other musicians a chance by no longer competing in international competitions! Today he has a large following in the Balkans and other countries where his popularity continues to grow. He is frequently invited to perform in Turkey where he can already boast a brilliant career stretching back a number of years and has played in countries including Australia, the United States, Mexico and throughout Europe.

Eda Zari & Byzantine Project (20.04)

Albania The collective murmur in these hymns is much more important than the song itself, as is the bordun (the sound sang in unison by many voices at the same time, like a cluster pedal), or the magical iso of the Albanian polyphony. The iso is the affrmation of unanimity, similar to the artistic message in this album. This journey resembles a melodic-rhythmic odyssey, where, after a series of chaotic labyrinths, infuxes of creative ideas and thoughts on music and words, triumph arrives in the form of the emotional energy of the moment. The novelty suggested by Zari and her musicians starts with the title: Entropy! “Entropy” is the measure of transformations caused by certain occurrences according to the principles of thermodynamics and energy; in this case, entropy is located inside a musical universe in motion. The melody detaches itself from its past and gains the momentum to create the present tunes, where language is the spiritual guide that conveys the holy message (a signifcant portion of this repertoire expands the Divine Word, translated into Albanian by his Eminence Theofan S. Noli). Regardless, every religious music culture, just as the Byzantium one, originates in folk music. Music helps humans to express the challenges, the joys and the laments of life. Along with words, music helps us to exalt our faith toward the holy. This banquet of tunes and words is brought to us by exceptional musicians. They come to this project from multicultural backgrounds, and every performance is executed in the name of music and artistic honesty.

Candan Erçetin (19.04)

Turkey To open this year’s Balkan Trafik Festival, the Turkish singer of Albanian origin Candan Erçetin is proposing a concert of music from Turkey and the Balkans. This now legendary Francophile figure on the Turkish scene debuted with the group Klips ve Onlar when she represented her country in the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest. After studying classical opera at the Istanbul Conservatory she quickly became a household name in Turkey as a host of television and radio programmes. Her first album Hazırım (I am ready), on which she sings songs from Thrace and Macedonia, shot to the top of the charts on its release in 1995. Over the years, success and prizes have followed, including two MCM awards for her video clips. While continuing her television work, in 2009 she was appointed lecturer at Galatasaray University and began to work more closely with international film production. After a career spanning more than 20 years she is now firmly established worldwide as one of the best interpreters of Balkan songs, whether accompanied by historical arrangements or contemporary sounds.

Salonika trio (21.04)

Greece With Savina Yannatou : Yannis Alexandris – voice, guitar, Kyriakos Gouventas – violin and Kostas Vomvolos – accordion

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