2024 Performers

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

Sophia Bilides

  • Award-winning vocalist Sophia Bilides leads a musical double-life: She has been named Best Female Cabaret Performer (Independent Reviewers of New England) for her delightfully eclectic explorations of the past and present Great American Songbook, and she has also been called the foremost practitioner of Smyrneika (Boston Globe) for her stunning renditions of the songs of the Greek Asia Minor refugees. Whether Greek or American, she brings to her singing a passion for telling the stories in the lyrics, conveyed in one fantastic alto (SingOut! Magazine).
     
    A second-generation Greek-Italian-American, she was raised in New Haven, Connecticut, absorbing the Asia Minor folk songs of her father's Greek community, the Neapolitan ballads of her mother's Italian family, and the Broadway musicals which came through town at the Shubert Theater, alongside classical, jazz, R&B, and pop music. After receiving a degree in Voice and Music Education from New England Conservatory, she focused on her Greek and Broadway musical influences, tailoring both genres for the intimate, first-person format of cabaret.

Conical Cacophony

  • Conical Cacophony is a Boston-based brass band delivering Balkan-inspired dance jams. Dazzling horns! Blazing beats! With heavy influence from the music of Macedonia, Serbia, and Bulgaria, and a penchant to party, these rabble rousers will light up any stage or street.

Beth Bahia Cohen & Friends

  • Beth Bahia Cohen is a violinist of Syrian Jewish and Russian Jewish heritage. Inspired at a young age by the sounds she heard at family gatherings, she went on to study with master musicians from Hungary, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. She plays the violin, viola, Greek lyras, Turkish bowed tanbur and kabak kemane, Norwegian hardingfele, and Egyptian rababa.

Grachanitsa Serbian Folk Dance and Song Ensemble

  • Grachanitsa, or Gračanica, is a dance ensemble based in Boston, Massachusetts dedicated to the performance of traditional folk dance and song from the Balkans. The group is named after the famed Serbian Orthodox monastery in Kosovo, built on the remains of a 13th century church and classified as a UNESCO world heritage cultural site in 1993.
     
    This year, Grachanitsa is proud to be celebrating its 25th anniversary, having performed over one hundred and forty times across the North America and Europe since its inception.

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.
  • Band Members:
    Kasia Sokalla - voice
    David Golber - Balkan-style clarinet
    Gawain Thomas - accordion
    Henry Goldberg - Balkan drum tapan

Iveria

  • Iveria are a group of men who sing Georgian liturgical and folk music. The group was originally formed as an offshoot of the Yale Russian Chorus in 1985, when a few members decided to further pursue the music of the Republic of Georgia. They are are based in the greater Boston area, and have a sister group based in New York state, the Kartuli Ensemble.
  • Band Members:
    Jim Sloan - Conductor, and First/Second Tenor
    John Burt - First Tenor
    Mark Little - First Tenor
    David Gillman - Second Tenor
    Sam Kendall - Second Tenor
    Matthew Abbate - Second Tenor
    Glenn Allin - Second Tenor/Bass
    Marc Butler - Bass
    Aram Hollman - Bass
    Endre Jobbagy - Bass
    Hugh Olmsted - Bass

Kavala Brass Band

  • Kavala Brass Band plays traditional music of Northern Greece, with an exceedingly danceable repertoire that reflects the rich brass band practices of the region.
  • Band Members:
    Catherine Foster – clarinet and trumpet
    Michael Ginsburg – trumpet
    Morgan Clark – accordion
    Belle Birchfield – baritone horn
    Paul Brown – electric bass
    Jerry Kisslinter – daouli.

Mladost Folk Ensemble (youth dance group)

  • Mladost Folk Ensemble will take you on tour to the corners of the earth with an exploration of the different cultures and ethnicities of the world, learning of each through song and dance. The members of Mladost draw their inspiration from the lives of Conny and Marianne Taylor, co-founders of Boston's Folk Arts Center of New England, and their dances from folk dance experts around the world, combining both in extraordinary performances selected for their style, footwork, and presentation.

Niva

  • Niva is a four-woman band that plays and sings Macedonian roots music— alternately lyrical, mournful, ecstatic, and spooky music that used to be the soundtrack of everyday life back in the day.
  • Band Members:
    Bridget Robbins – kaval
    Corinna Snyder – tambura and vocals
    Emily Geller – tapan and vocals
    Kristina Vaskys – tambura and vocals.

Members of Pontic Firebird

  • Pontic Firebird plays traditional Greek dance music from the Black Sea area of Turkey (Pontos). Pontic Firebird came to life in 2011 at the EEFC Balkan Music & Dance Workshops and has been performing for dancers throughout the U.S. ever since.
  • Band Members:
    Beth Bahia Cohen – violin
    Adam Good – oud
    Jerry Kisslinger – daouli
    Paul Brown – upright bass

REVMA

  • REVMA plays the living art of traditional Greek music (“Dimotika”), for listening and dancing audiences. Mesmerizing pentatonic and polyphonic Epirot mountain laments and celebrations, lyrical melodies and the “springing” sousta and ballos dances of the Aegean, Dodekanese, and Ionian islands, powerful odd-metered Macedonian and Thracian rhythms, and the delicate modal tones of urban Smyrnaika, are all shaped by a history drenched in struggle, war, migration, resilience, and philotimia, and charged with hellenic life-embracing passion and wit.
  • REVMA has played for international folk festivals and Greek cultural events including the Flurry Saratoga Springs, Folk Arts Center Balkan Night, Jose Mateo Dance for World Community, Lowell Lantern Festival, Fresh Beets Concert Series Lowell, Maliotis Cultural Center Annual Music Festival, Tarpon Springs Epiphany Celebration, Hellenic Dance Federation national competition, Boston Lykeion Ellinidon Karnavale, and multiple festivals, concerts, dances, and private music and dance events.
     
    Band Members:
    Sandy Theodorou – accordion, laouto, vocals
    Rohan Gregory – violin
    Fabio Pirozzolo – percussion, vocals
    REVMA guest musicians include:
    Mark Pattison – bouzouki, baghlama, guitar
    Dean Lambros – santouri
    Mal Barsamian -oud, clarinet
    Harry Bedrosian – oud
    Stephanos Karavas – oud
    Phil Papadopoulos – bouzouki, vocals
    Georgios Galanakis – guitar

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 (mostly) monthly Saturday dance party in Waltham, MA.
     
    Band Members:
    Chaya Bromberg: vocals
    Dean Brown: tambura, dumbek, vocals
    Ralph Iverson: gadulka, tambura, kaval, saxophone, violin, vocals
    Julia Poirier: vocals, tambura
    David Skidmore: dumbek, tapan, kaval, clarinet, vocals
    Dana Sussman: vocals
    Patrick Yacono: gaida, kaval, clarinet, vocals
    Janet Yeracaris: vocals

Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band

  • The foremost presenters of traditional Balkan brass music in the US, Zlatne Uste's repertoire spans the most important stops in the traditional music of the Balkans. ZU has been a six-time invited guest at the Dragačevo Brass Festival in Guča, Serbia.
     
    Band Members:
    Belle Birchfield
    Morgan Clark
    Marian Eines
    Sarah Ferholt
    Catherine Foster
    Emily Geller
    Michael Ginsburg
    Don Godwin
    Emerson Hawley
    Melinda Hunt
    Jerry Kisslinger
    Seido Salifoski
    Matt Smith
    Daniel Stern.