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.

FAC is fortunate to have these groups providing music for many of our dances:

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 other Boston-area musical groups.

Band Members

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

All-Girl Band

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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.

Band Members

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

Balkan Fields
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Blajini

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

Band Members

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

Blajini
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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.

Band Members

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

CFO
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The Dark-Eyed Devojki

The Dark-Eyed Devojki is a new international dance band, led by Niki Yeracaris. Comprised of young up-and-coming international dance musicians, the Devojki play tunes from all over Europe, with a focus on Balkan music. “Devojki” (meaning “girls” in Macedonian) might not describe everyone in the group, but their love of Macedonian music demands a salute to the dark-eyed girls in many folk songs. The Devojki are bringing fresh energy, enthusiasm, and their own unique sound to international dance music.

Band Members

Julian Drumwright: percussion
Ben Powell: guitar, vocals
Sammy Wetstein: accordion, violin, mandolin
Niki Yeracaris: violin, vocals
Taylor Yeracaris: piano, vocals

devojki
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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 Flying Squirrel Orchestra

The Flying Squirrel Orchestra formed to play at an FAC Pinewoods session in 2021. At the time, there was a nest of flying squirrels in the woodwork above the band shell in the big pavilion at Pinewoods, and now those little rodents will always be remembered fondly.

The band is another configuration of some of the formidable musical talent in the Boston area, with Patrick Yacono at the helm. They play a spectacular variety of international dance music.

Band Members

Ralph Iverson
Robert Penny
Julia Poirier
David Skidmore
Dana Sussman
Brian Wilson
Niki Yeracaris
Patrick Yacono

Flying Squirrels
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The Goats

The band 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.”

Band Members

Many folks have helped out with supporting roles, including:

Patrick Yacono: always the head goat, of course, and it could not be the Goats without him.
Brian Wilson
David Traugot
Dana Sussman
David Skidmore
Julia Poirier
Heather Lee
Ralph Iverson
Colin Ferguson
Niki Yeracaris
Dean Brown

the Goats
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Gogofski

Gogofski plays music of the Balkans. Not the loud and fast brass band. Not the massive thirty-voice choir. We bring you other great music from the Balkans, from the complex dance rhythms of Macedonia to the heart-wrenching Sevdah song tradition of Bosnia.

Gogofski plays for a dance evening the way they do in the old country: the musicians on the floor playing right in front of you, to you, for you. A Gogofski club evening gives you a feast of comic songs and intimate ballads, traditional and modern, and brings you to understanding, to sharing, and to feeling. And at an outdoor festival, Gogofski brings a new sound and a new excitement that brings the audience out of their seats to dance in front of the stage. See the band in action on YouTube.
 
For more information, please visit Gogofski.com.

Band Members

Kasia Sokalla - voice
David Golber - clarinet
Gawain Thomas - accordion
Henry Goldberg - drums

Gogofski
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Orkestar Banitsa

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

Band Members

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

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!

Band Members

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
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.

Band Members

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

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


 
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The Pixton Poirier Band

The Pixton Poirier Band has been playing international folk dance music for over thirty years as members of The Pinewoods Band and other groups. As a trio, they have been featured musicians at Mainewoods Dance Camp since 2018.

Band Members

Tom Pixton: accordion, vocals
Julia Poirier: guitar, vocals
Barbara Pixton: bass

More about the band on their homepage.

Pixton Poirier Trio
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Rakiya

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.

Band Members

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

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.

Rakiya
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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!

Band Members

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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Zdravets

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.

Band Members

Chaya Bromberg: vocals
Dean Brown: tambura, dumbek, vocals
Ralph Iverson: gadulka, tambura, kaval, saxophone, violin, vocals
Julia Poirier: tambura, vocals
David Skidmore: dumbek, tapan, kaval, clarinet, vocals
Dana Sussman: vocals
Patrick Yacono: gaida, kaval, clarinet, vocals
Janet Yeracaris: vocals

Zdravets
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Zornitsa

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.

Band Members

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

For more information, contact Ira Gessel.

Zornitsa
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