The 5th anniversary edition of the annual Balkan Sessions is a broad festival covering several cultural domains, exploring the incredible versatile faces of Eastern music and its ability to fuse genres and people – whether it is balkan, Roma rap, gypsyswing, flamenco, Middle-Eastern hiphop or the Turkish and Persian heritages behind it.
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◔ FOOD | DOCU | ACOUSTIC CONCERTS
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❦ Bulgarian catering (meals/snacks/sweets) by Sisi Food / 18:30 - 21:00
☄ short documentaries about Albania, Croatia and Bulgaria / 18:45 - 19:45
☄ balkan (hi)stories by Charlotte Moyersoen / 18:45 - 19:45
▎TRIO PLETENITSA ▎ ♫ BE/BUL / 19:00 - 20:00
Three young women sing Bulgarian and Balkan folk music polyphonic and fully a capella. Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares revisited.
웃 Bulgarian dance demo by Bulgarian folk group Zdravets + initiation contemporary dance on balkan party tunes by Tchi-ann Liu / 20:15 - 20:45
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◑ HEADLINER CONCERTS | DANCE SHOWS
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▎KERMESZ A L'EST ▎ ♫ BE / 21:00 - 22:15
Fanfare Punk Muzette? Bitolsko oro + dubstep? Klezmer Orchestra on speed? Balkan Brass to a new level of craziness!
▎'NO TENGO PATRIA' ▎ ♫ + 웃 A Gipsydance Journey / 22:15 - 22:45
Proud to present the very first unique festival project: a symbiosis of Indian gipsy dance and flamenco puro re-imagening the diaspora of people and music without a homeland.
◄ Maya Sapera Dance Company - MSDC ► 웃
Gipsy dance choreographies with Persian, Turkish and Egyptian flavors.
◄ Khan Brothers ft. Nathan Daems & Robbe Kieckens ► ♫
Mahabub en Sattar Khan, true inheritors from a well-known Rajasthan musical family, are joined by Gent's most exquisite wind instrument player and percussionist.
◄ Sofia Yero ► 웃
Flamenco dance choreographies reveal the Eastern gipsy link.
◄ Jose El Titi (cante) y El Juanele (guitarra) ► ♫
Cante flamenco y guitarra flamenca rhythms blend with the Eastern melodies from the other side of the journey through homeless lands.
▎PAD BRAPAD ▎ ♫ FR / 23:00 - 00:30
Violins and machines. Accordeons and turntables. Mandolins and electronical witchcraft. Meet the most solid innovative band the Balkan scene has ever known. Tonight our headliner will present their brand new album.
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◕ ACROBATIC SWINGBALKAN DJ-SET PARTY
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▎ACRO-SWING SHOW ▎ 웃 / 0:15 - 00:45
Be surprised, thrilled and mesmerized. You can take the swing literally.
▎MNSR ZÉR0 (resident binair01) ▎ ☊ / 00:30 - 03:00
balkan x gipsy x klezmer x arabtech x dabke x swing x party
Earlybird tickets are not available anymore
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➀ FOOD, DOCU & STORIES |
The festival starts with a combination of Bulgarian cuisine delicacies (served by Sisi Food) and documentaries alternated with the live music of Trio Pletenitsa. Charlotte Moyersoen, young millennial graduated at the Gent university in Slavic studies with a natural born affection for and built-up knowledge about the Balkan region, sheds a new light on long forgotten spots and events: the Tyrant’s pyramid in Tirana, capital of Albania, a magnificent architectural masterpiece of brutalism called the UFO in Bulgaria, and finally Tito’s ‘last folly’, the 1981 megalomaniac Soviet ‘Monument to the uprising of the people of Kordun and Banija’ (sic).
➁ TRIO PLETENITSA | ▷ tinyurl.com/s2jp9cn
Three young women. Just their voices, no instruments. Marvellous traditional Bulgarian and Balkan folk songs. Fully a capella, magically polyphonic and crystal clear, they wrap their vocals around contrarious, irregular rhythms typical for eastern music. Even if we’re not sure they will show up on stage with braids in their hair, we can already tell their voices will weave through each other like real long Bulgarian pletenitsas. For this occasion they prepare a premiere and bring two special guests. Enjoy this unique concert with a typical Bulgarian meal.
➂ BULGARIAN DANCE DEMO + INITIATION CONTEMPORARY DANCE ON BALKAN DANCE TUNES |
The Balkan Sessions festival harmonizes tradition and innovation. The dance demo quite literally puts tradition against contemporary; at one side Bulgarian folk group Zdravets, at the other side contemporary dancer Tchi-ann Liu. Specialized in the relation between dance and music, she will hand you over some basics of contemporary dance techniques on new Balkan party tunes in an open workhop.
➃ KERMESZ À L’EST | ▷ tinyurl.com/wm7oss9
Above all KermesZ à l'Est is an adventurous bunch of artists avoiding all beaten paths. This eight-piece band connects Balkan brass, free jazz, polka and dislodged gypsy with the power and attitude of a rockband and the contagious animation and humour of a circus act. They mix electro, Balkan partybeats and a hilarious retro-futuristic stage performance with disarming anarchistic flair into an explosive, extremely danceable show full of post-apocalyptic energy. Fanfare-punk-muzette, bitolsko oro + dubstep, klezmer Orchestra on speed: this is a balkan band 2.0 with a healthy dose of nutty craziness.
➄ NO TENGO PATRIA (a gypsy dance journey) |
Nomadic tribes like the Indian Kalbelia travelled direction South of Spain and Northern Africa passing through Turkey and Eastern Europe, where a fertile exchange with Roma music took place. The fruitful result became an important element in the development of flamenco in Andalucia, where gypsy rhythms and Eastern melody patterns blended with a.o. traditional Spanish music and Arabian sounds. It is this image becoming a figure, with its diverse influences and junctions, being expressed in this show. For this unique festival project we gathered the most talented Belgian specialists, each in their own league. Kalbelia style: Maya Sapera, Aaricia Ponnet, Sattar Khan, Mahabub Khan. Turkish gypsy style: Maya Sapera, Robbe Kieckens, Nathan Daems. Flamenco syle: Sofia Yero, José El Titi, El Juanele.
➅ PAD BRAPAD | ▷ tinyurl.com/sbzzopq
Pad Brapad might be the most relevant and solid innovative ‘balkan’ band of the current decennium. This concert will present their second album ‘Strikes Again’ – a marvellous example of cross-over between authentic and contemporary sounds and rhythms only few lesser gods are able to deliver in such a convincing manner. The surprising result is a furious confrontation of traditional melodies and instruments with banlieue hiphop and oldskool hightech electro. Violins and machines. Accordeons ad turntables. Mandolins and electronical witchcraft. An unprecedented fusion of irresistible Balkan grooves and a sound they call ‘Urban Tzigan’. Just wait until you experience their magic live.
⑦ ACRO-SWING SHOW |
We won’t give away too much. Leave it to the surprise and the astonishment of the moment. Trust the two acrobats, each in their own competence. Raquel Sanchez (COL) enhanced her experience with all kinds of educations in circus, dance, theatre and acrobatics around the world. JoVan Jazz-Ey Ken was able to dance before he could breathe. Born entertainer, he’s particularly skilled in lindyhop, acroswing, hiphop and contemporary dance. Tonight they shine in duo.
⑧ DJ-SET PARTY | ▷ mixcloud.com/mnsr_zér0
A steaming mix of balkan, gypsy, swing, arabtech and other bhangra will push the dance floor to its final heights. Resident dj Mnsr Zéro's sets are surprising blends of the latest innovative cross-over partysounds from all corners of our planet. Think exciting balkan hiphop-trap, Arab dabke from Beirut's pulsing nightclubs, Belgrado's evolutions of crazy balkan and gypsystyle dancing, swingrhythms mixed up with Scandinavian rap, Eastern moombahton and electro-bollywood, klezmerwhirls, and maybe some variation from the south: AfroLatin grooves like reggaetón, electrocumbia or faster kuduro- and afrobeats. The list of names and styles is endless, we'd rather call it move-your-body music; an elixir through dancing.