Balkanalia showcases the teachers and performers from the East European Folklife Center's (EEFC) Balkan Music and Dance Workshops and captures the sweep of Balkan music in the United States. With music from Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Roma ("Gypsies"), Balkanalia is an auditory journey through the Balkans that features traditional instruments, stunning vocals in various languages, complex rhythms and the passionate energy that has inspired people of all ages and origins.
The workshops originated in the 1970s in intimate weekend gatherings of Balkan enthusiasts in the California woods. From this they have grown into week-long instructional programs on both coasts, staffed by some of the finest Balkan music performers/teachers to be found anywhere. Each summer EEFC programs draw hundreds of dancers, singers and instrumentalists.
For all their diversity in skill, age and origins, they share a love of Balkan music. They also tend to share, as the title of this CD suggests, the inclination to have a really good time. Days of lessons and practice-flutes in the cabin, bagpipes in the woods-give way to culture corners, group sings and dance parties that can go till dawn.
Some of the musicians featured here were born and musically trained in the Balkans, some in North America's ethnic communities. Others are connected by their passion rather than their heritage. Whatever their background, they make up a remarkable circle, and this CD brims with their energy.
Still, it is only a sampling. If you enjoy Balkanalia, consider attending an EEFC workshop. There you can hear music like this day and night, and there, with enough time, you can learn to make it for yourself.