Unza Unza Orchestra • Amsterdam Klezmer Band • DAAN
Balkan Trafik festival is proud to announce an exceptional musical collaboration, bringing together for the first time on stage the Unza Unza Orchestra aka No Smoking Orchestra, the Amsterdam Klezmer Band, and iconic Belgian rocker, DAAN as special guest.
For almost 30 years, the No Smoking Orchestra has set the world on fire, fusing South American rhythms, gypsy fanfares and traditional Balkan sounds with their protest rock base. Their music, which has featured in some of Emir Kusturica’s best-known films such as Black Cat, White Cat, Time of the Gypsies and Life is a Miracle, can best be described as lively Balkan garage.
The No Smoking Orchestra becomes the Unza Unza Orchestra, following the departure of Emir Kusturica, who decides to devote himself to other projects.
The Amsterdam Klezmer Band brings its vibrant energy and traditional melodies, while the No Smoking Orchestra injects its Balkan punk-rock spirit. Special guest DAAN brings a unique Belgian touch, fusing his alternative rock style with klezmer and Balkan rhythms.
This performance will be an unprecedented musical experience where the infectious joy of klezmer music fuses with the rebellious energy of the Balkans, all enhanced by the boldness and charisma of iconic Belgian rocker DAAN.
Unza Unza Orchestra aka No Smoking Orchestra
A long time ago, in a distant land, a group of friendly guys named THE NO SMOKING ORCHESTRA put themselves at the service of a great cinema mage: EMIR KUSTURICA, to together create a music at their image : unheard , joyful and colorful.
Fruit of their dreams, their experiences, or their respective influences; step by step, day by day, song by song, they created their own music ; Improbable mix of country rhythms, Turkish marches, Italian classical, gypsy trumpets, South American sounds, techno-pop loops, musette, Balkan base-punk, kolo, gypsy tradition… UNZA UNZA was born.
After two and a half decades of travel, countless concerts given on the most prestigious stages around the world, their spiritual leader, decided to add a new masterpiece to his already very rich cinematographic work. Understanding that he had to devote himself entirely to it, EMIR KUSTURICA decided to leave band, for a while.
So with the blessing of the “boss”, the group decided to extend the journey and continue to carry the flame of this very specific music. Driven by the same idea, their enormous experience and their insatiable appetite for music, THE NO SMOKING ORCHESTRA, joined on vocals by Alexandar Bijovic, now becomes :
THE UNZA UNZA ORCHESTRA
On the program, new compositions, Balkan standards, but also, and always, music from EMIR KUSTURICA’s movies.
Discover Unza Unza Orchestra
Amsterdam Klezmer Band
Mix a dose of klezmer with a pinch of jazz, add a shot of Balkan and a smidgen of Gypsy, et voilà, you’ve got the recipe for Amsterdam Klezmer Band. Brass, double bass, accordion and percussion all bolster each other with pulsing grooves full of subtle yet raw energy. They really like to make an audience sweat, but they can make you dream away on a soulful lament as well.
The Amsterdam Klezmer Band started out on the streets in 1996 as a group of buskers playing internationally as a celebrated band with a rock-solid live reputation. During all this time the band managed to stay on the radar non-stop, touring all over the world. Their impressive tour list containing far over a 1500 shows by now. They built an audience of connaisseurs that have been loving them for many years, and there’s always a young crowd merging. Their music is inspiring fellow musicians from Latin America to Russia resulting in colorful AKB-song covers you will find on Youtube.
AKB re-energizes the sound of klezmer by throwing contemporary styles and techniques in the mix. Balkan and oriental Music are gratefully used as key influences. The band manages to keep their music fresh, urgent and often highly danceable wherever they take the stage.
DAAN is an atypical self-made musical & visual artist with a love for cult pop-music with a rock attitude.
In a tradition of writers as Serge Gainsbourg, Peter Gabriel, Beck, Sparks or even Robert Palmer he combines all genres, from electronic dance to country or indie lofi rock.
But he’s a songwriter in the first place, with a passion for twisted metaphoric lyrics, packaging his expression with pop-art like simplistic titles as “Icon”, “Victory”, “Exes”, “Housewife”, “Friend”. Sounds like Bach after a heavy night out and only a cheap little synth to tell the story. Even if Daan started out as a New Beat backing vocalist in the eighties, he sees no problems into combing this with his love for Randy Newman or George Brassens’ cynical romanticism.
He first had significant indie success, late 90’s, with his band Dead Man Ray, formed with ex dEUS guitar player Rudy Trouvé, touring Europe with their filmic krautrock sound. But his solo career really took off in 2002, with his first hit “Swedish Designer Drugs”, followed by a string of award-winning golden records, appreciated by a bizarrely mixed audience.
Besides his many studio albums and intense live appearances, he also writes soundtracks for films, or acts himself like in the 2020 Hungarian film “Eden”. From his early years as a celebrated graphic designer, he keeps on designing his album covers and directing his own videos.