Edessa captures the passion and vitality that is at the heart of Balkan music. This often rambunctious band plays the intricate time signatures and highly ornamented modal music that is characteristic of the Balkans with authority and joy. An understanding of the unique connection between this music and it's expression in Balkan dance informs the ensemble's performances and derives from decades-long involvement as both musicians and dancers. Using both traditional and modern instruments, they play a variety of styles featuring long sets that interweave melodies and improvisation with a big Balkan beat.
The sounds of this SF Bay Area ensemble include the ancient and mesmerizing music of the zurna and davul; the lyrical and sweet music of the Greek islands; the haunting, trance-like pentatonic music of Epirus; and-at the other end of the acoustic spectrum-the sizzling, contemporary Bulgarian fusion known simply as "wedding music." The new recording, Bereket, features music from Serbia, Turkey, Macedonia, Albania and Greece.
Edessa travels nationally and internationally and is in constant demand for events ranging from American-style folk dance camps, workshops, and parties to a variety of ethnic celebrations including Greek glendia (festival), Rom (Gypsy) spring celebrations, Armenian parties, Kurdish wedding celebrations, and Bulgarian national holidays.
George Chittenden - clarinet, saxophone, zurna (shawm), tambura
Ari Langer - violin
Lise Liepman - santouri (hammered dulcimer), accordion
Paul Brown - acoustic and electric bass
Dan Auvil - davul (double-headed drum), darabuka (hand drum), defi (frame drum)
Rumen Sali Shopov - percusssion
Edessa is joined by guest singers Christos Govetas, Brenna MacCrimmon and Eva Salina Primack. On Bereket Edessa is also joined by percussionists Tobias Roberson and Bryan Bowman, with Eric Oberthaler on trumpet.