Live music at our events

Many of our dances feature live music by some of the great talent that we have in the Boston area. Live music at dances helps to recreate the community feeling of dances in their original cultures. With its surprises and variations, live music at its best is a collaboration between dancers and musicians that can immeasurably enrich an evening of dance. See the Calendar for upcoming live music events.

The All Girl Band

The All Girl Band plays music for international folk dancing, and specializes in singing some of the loveliest Balkan songs from that repertoire. Band members also perform with the Bulgarian women's chorus Divi Zheni, the International Music Club, The Pinewoods Band, and/or other Boston-area musical groups.

Suzanne Costanza: flute, vocals
Karen Edwards: vocals
Lisa Geller: bass, vocals
Barbara Pixton, director: accordion, vocals
Julia Poirier: guitar, vocals
Paula Rosenstock: tupan, dumbek, vocals
Elaine Winic: flute, vocals

All-Girl Band

Balkan Fields

Balkan Fields, led by accordionist Melinda Fields, brings the rich and diverse musical styles of the Balkans to dance parties and festivals, with dynamic instrumentals and vocals from the Bulgarian, Serbian, Romani, Macedonian, Albanian, and Romanian traditions.

Dean Brown: tambura, guitar, vocals
Melinda Fields: piano accordion
Melika Fitzhugh: electric bass
Henry Goldberg: tuppan, dumbek, riq, vocals
Melinda Hunt: vocals
Ralph Iverson: gadulka, violin, saxophone

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Blajini plays music for international folk dancing from a variety of traditions.

Dan Salomon: violin
Ariel Weinberg: vocals, flute
Barry Shapiro: accordion
Yaron Shragai: percussion, recorders, vocals

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Cambridge Folk Orchestra

The Cambridge Folk Orchestra has been playing for international folk dances and performances in the Boston area since the 1960s. All of CFO’s members are active in a variety of traditional dance music fields, and bring not only wit and variety to their gigs, but also an astonishing number of instruments, most of which get played at least once during an evening.

Aubrey Jaffer: trumpet, dulcimer
Carol Kycia: clarinet, fiddle
David Skidmore: tupan, dumbek, kaval, clarinet, whistles, vocals, banjo, bass
Dean Brown: tambura, guitar, voice, dumbek, drums, bass
Jack Martin: tuba, trombone, brasses, bass
John Chambers: accordion, fiddle, mandolin, whistle
Jonathan Finger: dumbek, recorder
Patrick Yacono: clarinet, gajda, keyboard, kaval, vocals
Ralph Iverson: gadulka, tambura, kaval, saxophone, violin

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Divi Zheni

Divi Zheni (Wild Women), founded in 2000, is a Bulgarian chorus and orchestra of women from the Boston area, directed by Tatiana Sarbinska, acclaimed Bulgarian singer and teacher. Comprised of around twenty regular members, Divi Zheni rehearses once a week and performs at festivals, dances, concerts, and workshops. Their repertoire includes multi-part pieces, village songs, a cappella pieces, and urban dance songs.

Divi Zheni
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The Goats

The Goat bands originated in a Sue Rose workshop at NEFFA called “Dances with Goats,” Balkan dances that feature music on the gajda (goatskin bagpipe). Patrick Yacono played the gajda, accompanied by friends. A success, the workshop was repeated in following years, with a different name each time. Eventually the Goat bands escaped NEFFA and started appearing in other places. Some traditions have accrued - Rehearsals? No. Playlist? Goats are rumored to eat anything. There is usually a fresh name; some past favorites - “The Goat Whisperers,” “Goats Without Borders,” “The Silence of the Goats,” “Three Goat Night,” “Goat Dynasty,” “The Scapegoats,” “The Goats of Christmas Past.” When the final twilight of the goats arrives, it will be “Goatterdammerung.” Patrick is always the head goat, of course, and it could not be the Goats without him. Many folks have helped out with supporting roles, including Brian Wilson, David Traugot, Dana Sussman, David Skidmore, Julia Poirier, Heather Lee, Ralph Iverson, Colin Ferguson, Niki Yeracaris, and Dean Brown.

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International Music Club

The International Music Club (IMC) is a professionally directed group of amateur musicians who enjoy learning international folk dance music in the styles and spirit of its ethnic origins. Workshops are open to instrumentalists and singers at all levels of experience, for single sessions or the entire season. Led by Patrick Yacono (instrumentals) and Julia Poirier (singing), IMC members play and sing for FAC Friday dances once a month and occasionally at other local dance events. Please visit the International Music Club webpage for the workshop schedule and more information.

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The Next Generation

The Next Generation is a band of talented teens who debuted in March 2017 at the FAC Friday folk dance and the FAC Benefit Gala. They bring their youthful energy and enthusiasm, along with strong instrumental and vocal skills, to their music for international dancing.

Miranda Johnston: vocals, violin
Anna Bogstad: vocals, piano
Maeve Tyler-Penny: vocals, percussion
Masha Schmitt: vocals, saxophone, ukulele
Sarah Bustin: vocals, clarinet

The Next Generation
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Orkestar Banitsa

Orkestar Banitsa plays traditional music from Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece in many styles.

Becky Ashenden: accordion, percussion
Barbara Blumenthal: tambura
Joe Blumenthal: string bass
Addie Rose Holland: clarinet, vocals
Gawain Thomas: accordion

Orkestar Banitsa
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Pajdaši (buddies, friends) is a Boston-based group of American and native-born Croatian singers and instrumentalists who have come together to share the joy of learning and performing Croatian village songs and popular folk songs, as well as dance tunes. They will warm your heart with a drmeš or a polka and will touch your soul with wistful ballads. Pajdaši have a great time with great music and with each other!

Members of Pajdaši are Mirena Bagur, Janet Baker, Allan Chertok, Colin Ferguson, Vesna Flanagan, Ira Gessel, Henry Goldberg, Ralph Iverson, Julie Kingman, Ken Maser, Bob Parr, Joan Shear, Matt Shear, David Skidmore, Irena Stanić-Rašin, Jerry Starcevic, Rebecca Starcevic, Goga Strouch, and Mari Young.

Divi Zheni
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The Pinewoods Band

The Pinewoods Band showcases the far-reaching talents of an eclectic and spirited group of musicians who have been playing together at home in Greater Boston and throughout the US and Canada since 1991. Their energy, wit and enthusiasm are matched by an amazing breadth of repertoire and instrumental command.

Over the decades, The Pinewoods Band has worked with many popular folk dance teachers, either at Pinewoods Camp or at other camps and festivals.

Susan Worland: violin
Ralph Iverson: violin, gadulka, saxophone, flute, tambura, kaval
Brian Wilson: violin, clarinet, vocals
Patrick Yacono: clarinet, kaval, gajda, vocals
Julia Poirier: guitar, vocals
David Skidmore: percussion, clarinet, kaval, whistle, vocals
Barbara Pixton: bass, vocals
Tom Pixton: band leader, accordion, vocals, arranger

The Pinewoods Band is in residence at the FAC International Pinewoods Weekend and at the FAC Oktoberfest Dance Weekend.

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Rakiya is a Boston-based band whose members bring varied musical backgrounds in Balkan, rock, folk, and jazz to an exciting blend of electricfied Rom (Gypsy) songs and dance music very popular in contemporary Balkan cultures. Rakiya is also the name of the fiery fruit brandy that is brewed in the Balkans, and mentioned in many songs lyrics of the region. Though it is sold in stores, the best rakiya is home-made. This particular batch was brewed secretly in an undisclosed location.

Dean Brown: guitar, dumbek
Colin Ferguson: keyboards, accordion, dumbek
Marnen Laibow-Koser: violin, viola
Heather Lee: vocals, tambura
Tim McNerney: bass
Grant Smith: drums

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Shining Moon

Shining Moon is a group of musicians from the Boston area playing and singing some of their favorite tunes from the Balkans and beyond. They are also performers with other local groups. Dancing to Shining Moon’s beautiful vocal harmonies is a thrill not to be missed!

Dean Brown: tambura, guitar, dumbek, vocals
Colin Ferguson: vocals, keyboards, accordion, guitar, tambura, dumbek
Heather Lee: vocals, guitar
Dana Sussman: vocals, percussion, tambura
David Traugot: bass, vocals, tambura, percussion
Brian Wilson: clarinet, violin, vocals, tambura
Patrick Yacono: clarinet, vocals, keyboards, kaval, gaida

Shining Moon
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Skorosmrtnica (Fast Death, a Balkan brandy) is a Boston-based group of musicians playing and singing a repertoire of international dance favorites.

Dan Salomon: violin
Ariel Weinberg: vocals, flute
Sandy Theodorou: laouto, vocals
Barry Shapiro: accordion
John Chambers: accordion
Gabe Weiss: bass, percussion
Yaron Shragai: percussion, vocals, recorder

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Sladka plays and sings dance music from the Balkans and beyond.

Dean Brown: tambura, guitar, vocals, dumbek
John Chambers: accordion, fiddle, mandolin, whistle
Colin Ferguson: vocals, keyboards, accordion
Heather Lee (contact person): vocals, guitar, tambura
David Skidmore: tupan, dumbek, kaval, clarinet, vocals
plus occasionally a special guest

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Zdravets, Boston’s friendly neighborhood Balkan band, has been performing at concerts, dances, festivals, parties, etc. (including radio and television in Bulgaria) since 1989. Most of its repertoire of traditional dance music and unaccompanied singing is from Bulgaria, with occasional forays into neighboring countries. Zdravets holds a monthly Saturday dance party in Newton, MA.

Chaya Bromberg: vocals
Dean Brown: tambura, dumbek, vocals
Bennett Clifford: tambura, drum
Martha Forsyth: vocals
Ralph Iverson: gadulka, tambura, kaval, saxophone, violin, vocals
David Skidmore: dumbek, tapan, kaval, clarinet, vocals
Dana Sussman: vocals
Patrick Yacono: gaida, kaval, clarinet, vocals
Janet Yeracaris: vocals

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Zornitsa (Morning Star), founded in 1992, is a Bulgarian chorus and orchestra of men from the Boston area, directed by Tatiana Sarbinska, acclaimed Bulgarian singer and teacher. Zornitsa rehearses once a week and performs traditional and urban Bulgarian songs at folk dances and festivals. For more information, contact Ira Gessel.

Dean Brown: tambura, vocals
Ira Gessel: tambura, vocals
Henry Goldberg: dumbek, tapan, vocals
Peter Hobbs: vocals
Ralph Iverson: gadulka, violin, vocals
Tom Macdonald: vocals
Brad O'Neill: vocals
Patrick Yacono: gaida, kaval, vocals
Jonathan Young: vocals
Jordan Young: vocals

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