A very rare Northwest visit from two legends of Albanian music: Merita Halili and The Raif Hyseni Orchestra. Merita Halili is one of the most popular voices in Albania, known for her stunning voice, which can reach to the back of a room, her superb vocal technique, and her mastery of the complex ornamentation of Albanian song. Raif Hyseni is one of the best accordionists in the world, a virtuoso known for his rapid-fire ornaments and blazing speed. The New York Times even called him a “speed-demon!” Merita and Raif will be playing the Russian Community Center Saturday evening and a special full set at The Triple Door on Sunday evening.
Watch Merita and Raif in Action:
Master Musicians (in addition to Merita and Raif): Renowned Greek clarinetist and family band-leader Christos Govetas, his wife Balkan singer and teacher Ruth Hunter, Bulgarian kaval master player and maker Alexander Eppler, Macedonian singer and radio star Dragi Spasovski, Croatian community leader, teacher and tamburitza master John Morovich, and Ukrainian powerhouse singer Nadia Tarnawsky.
Dancing until the wee hours! Balkan parties are participatory events, so be prepared to be swept along into the swirling circles of dancers.
Guerrilla Brass Bands: Few Balkan brass bands can stay confined to a stage! It’s a long-standing tradition for brass bands and bagpipers to break off into the audience to lead the dancing.
Two Stages of Music: Full-bore performances on the main stage for a dancing audience. Intimate performances on the second “Kafana” café stage that will let the audience get closer to the traditions.
Fascinating musical instruments unique to the Balkans! Like the kaval, a Bulgarian wooden flute that’s wickedly difficult to play, but flows beautifully. Or the gaida, the traditional bagpipes of E. Europe that are made from the hide of a goat and feature razor-sharp ornamentations. Or the gadulka, a beautiful pear-shaped fiddle with origins in the Byzantine Empire and a soft, wooden tone, performed with complex fingering patterns.
Food – Enjoy Balkan food expertly prepared by members of the Seattle Junior Tamburitzans. You can sample food from some of the different Balkan cultures represented in Balkan Night Northwest.
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