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Transpacific Sound Paradise
Saturday, February 10, 2007
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Ansambl Mastika was formed by saxophonist Greg Squared as a vehicle for his original Balkan music. It features a powerhouse rhythm section including Matt Moran on percussion, Reuben Radding on electric bass, Joey Weisenberg on electric guitar, and Matthew Fass on accordion; as well as a whirlwind two horn front-line with Catherine Foster playing sax and trumpet, and Greg Squared on sax and clarinet.
Coming from such influential New York City-based groups as Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band, Slavic Soul Party, Zagnut Cirkus Orkestar and Romashka, these musicians are a group of dedicated performers whose efforts have brought the music of Eastern Europe to a broad audience in the New York City area. It is their willingness and ability to dig into a style, to learn the tradition, that gives these players the instinct to bring their own personal expression to it.
With song styles ranging from the plaintive clarinet 'miroloi' of northern Greece to the funkier grooves of the Serbian and Macedonia Roma (gypsies); from the oriental mystery of Turkish chalgija ensembles to the driving power of Bulgarian wedding bands, the Balkan character of the music is undeniable. It is made all the more powerful and authentic for its originality. Bandleader Greg Squared wasn't born or raised in the Balkan region, but he writes his music as if he spent his entire life there.
The band’s next NYC area gigs:
Sat Feb 17 at Zebulon, 258 Wythe Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn http://zebuloncafeconcert.com
Sat Mar 17: Barbes, 376 9th St at 6th Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn http://www.barbesbrooklyn.com
Ansambl Mastika's debut cd Gde Si, Bre? on Chamsa Records is available via http://cdbaby.com/cd/ansamblmastika.
East European Folklife Center:
Portal for the North American Eastern European / Balkan music and folk dance scene, with info on concerts, festivals, music and dance camps, learning about the music, an email list etc: http://www.eefc.org
Balkan Cafe, Folk Dance Fridays and more:
Concerts, dance parties and workshops by local and visiting East European at Hungarian House, 213 E. 82nd St in Manhattan (and, sometimes, other venues): http://www.nycfolkdance.org.
This Week's Playlist:(* = new)
Live at WFMU
Live at WFMU