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Mini-Feature – Balkan Beat Box

15th November 2020

Someone messaged me to ask if I had ever featured Balkan Beat Box. I certainly have and I promised to Glen that I would track it down. Happily I keep a spreadsheet of what I posted when (I’m such a Virgo!) and found the piece I did in March. As I have a bit of a work deadline looming I have chosen to re-share some info and tracks of one of my favourite live outfits. Enjoy!

Charismatic frontman Tomir Yosef wowing the crowds at WOMAD

It was my housemate who introduced me to Balkan Beat Box (BBB) a few years back and I did feature one of their tracks a few months ago. I have chosen three tracks from their 2013 New York live concert, not because there is a shortage of any other clips on YouTube, but because they are just so much fun to watch perform.

BBB was born of a fusion of the two co-founders particular styles of music. Ori Kaplan was a Klezmer clarinetist (Klezmer – traditional Jewish music), and Tamir Muskat who was the drummer of a Punk Rock band. As odd as it may seem, their sound is a unique incorporation of Mediterranean and Balkan traditions with Dancehall beats.

If you have never heard the Balkan Beat Box before, maybe it’s time you did. Here’s Dancing With the Moon. Enjoy! 😎

As children, the co-founders of Balkan Beat Box felt that their traditional music was outdated and didn’t reflect their experiences of world culture, and with the enthusiasm that kid’s have they set about putting that right. Among their inspiration and influencers, they include Charlie Parker, Manu Chao and Jamaican Dub

BBB released their first album in 2005 and by 2006 had included the well-know Tel Aviv artist, Tomer Yosef, as the frontman for the band (now a core member), so bringing an element to their live performances that they had been missing.

Both the first and second album (2007) received global acclaim, with the track Bulgarian Chicks becoming a Dancehall and Club hit in 2008. Here is the live version from the 2013 New York live show. These fellows know how to build up a sweat.

The Balkan Beat Box have released six albums to date and have toured extensively bringing their Mediterranean/Balkan fusion to a global audience. Their 2012 album ‘Give’ was influenced by the Arab Spring, Occupy movements, and the spirit of change around the world. Spin Magazine dubbed the band “a global peace-keeping mission that you can dance to”.

I’m closing today’s selection with a composition that showcases some of the traditional Klezmer roots that underpin so much of their music. Here’s Kabulectric.

Thanks for doing the Balkan Beat Box boogie with me today. If you are looking for some fun, upbeat viewing to cheer up these troubling times I can highly recommend the full Balkan Beat Box New York performance. I’ll post a link in the comments section for you.

Until next time, keep safe and keep positive. 😎

This article was first published on The Design Train website for Loving the Music

Published by Loving the Music

I am a music-lover who has been fortunate enough to live through six-decades of ever-changing musical styles and genres. Loving the Music is my eclectic collection of regular music-related mini-features and whatever else tickles my musical fancy. You can also find me on the Loving the Music Facebook group and page. Happy listening - Andrew Knapp

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