Bay area balkan bands

Listed in Alphabetical Order- All names of ensembles are linked to their official page.

Agapi Mou is a four-piece ensemble that plays Greek traditional music, with an emphasis on tradition -- no modern sound effects or drum machines, just violin, clarinet, hand drums, laouto, and voice.

Balkalicious Fire Drive brings you the intoxicating energy, sound and spirit of the Balkans and beyond. The band members carry with them long and vibrant histories from the Bay Area world music scene.

Dan Cantrell: Playing mainly piano, accordion, musical saw, harpsichord, and various organs, Dan Cantrell’s unique sound can be heard on the albums of Tom Waits, Joanna Newsom, Beats Antique, Kitka, and the Toids, as well as in Major Motion Pictures such as Paramount Pictures’ Mean Girls, and Roberto Benigni’s The Tiger and the Snow.

Disciples of Markos - Classic Rebetiko music from the hazy hash dens of the Greek underworld. The Disciples play in the style of Markos Vamvakaris, the most famous songwriter, singer and the heaviest bouzouki player of the 1930s.

"Edessa: has a huge following among aficionados of Balkan music, both here in the U.S. and around the world. To their credit they are "... people who really know the music, know the dances, and have ears tuned to the subtleties of composition and performance." - David Stuart, Los Angeles

Fanefare Zambaleta: Emulating the great Balkan brass bands of the past and present, they play Romani, Serbian, Macedonian and Greek brass band music with passion and dedication.

Inspector Gadje Balkan Brass: The San Francisco Chronicle describes them as “An instant party atmosphere..."     ..Oakland based dance orchestra that plays brass music from the Balkans, performs an upbeat and infectious brand of music." - TEDMED

Istanbul Connection: A Bay Area musical collective formed when thirteen members of the hottest Balkan and Latin bands were gravitationally pulled to visit the city of Istanbul.

Janam: “An innovative ensemble that explores a dizzying range of styles, from Appalachia and Asia Minor to Eastern Europe. They play swirling, hard-driving music that always seems to end up inunexpected places.” The San Francisco Chronicle.

 “Kitka’s songs are hauntingly beautiful, simple, yet otherworldly. The rich sound these women produce resonates as if energized by the universe itself, as if it were calling all live beings and still matter into togetherness and unity.”  TheSan Francisco Chronicle

Kugelplex is the West Coast's most rockin’-est purveyor of klezmer and old-world party music. Formed in 2001, the group plays wild, soulful dance music at concerts, festivals and jewish lifecycle events throughout the United States.

Levoná combines flamenco, Arab, Jewish, and other musical traditions and weaves them together with stories, both ancient and new. They began as the band for the highly acclaimed Bay Area musical Love Sick, and have continued to perform as an independent group, keeping the same energy alive in both dance and concert halls.

Manu Cherga is a band in love with traditional Balkan music. They play traditional Balkan music revisited and accommodated to new arrangements.

MWE plays traditional and original songs with the rarely paired clarinet and the double-reeded zurna.  Add one more clarinet, a saxophone , and a davul (a shoulder slung marching drum), and you’re about the closest to heavy metal you can get without amplification. 

Orchestra Euphonos is a Bay Area-based Eastern European folk and klezmer band. Their uplifting sound is characterized by a brass and woodwind melodic front line. Orchestra Euphonos performs songs and melodies from old world Bessarabia and the Balkans. 

Radio Istanbul Radio Istanbul combines a traditional Istanbul sound with modern sensibilities. Inspired by the diverse music heard in the streets, bars and nightclubs of Turkey, Radio Istanbul's hypnotic melodies and driving rhythms draw on Turkish, Rom (Gypsy), Balkan, and Arabic grooves.

Ruman Shopov and Meraklii pick you up and spin you around with their energetic wedding-style and arranged traditional Balkan and Romani dance tunes. The band makes music "with merak" - for the love of the experience, with passion and heart - and so they are "Meraklii."

Sabaya plays original and traditional melodies inspired by the music of the Balkans and Near East. With rich harmonies, danceable grooves, and soulful improvisation, Sabaya (meaning “the girls” in Arabic) is more than just the girls!

Stellamara Internationally acclaimed world music ensemble Stellamara premiers electro-acoustic sets emphasizing their signature passionate rhythms and eastern melodies with dramatic orchestral sections, otherworldly ambience and deep bass grooves

Taraf de Locos is a group of talented young musicians who grew up together. Their sound is very natural and diverse. They play a mix of songs and tunes from Spain, Romania, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Tajikistan, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba and Mexico. 

True Life Trio performs riveting vocal harmonies from Eastern Europe, the Americas & beyond. This innovative trio explores the creative possibilities of cross-fertilization of different traditions with unlikely timbres connecting Bulgaria to the Bayou.

Vadalma. Led by Zina Bozzay, this collaborative project explores vibrant, intimate arrangements of old Hungarian village folk songs.

Zabava! means Party! Izvorno means a traditional, folk instrument band from Fyr Macedonia. Together they name a group of some of the finest Balkan Musicians in the country who aim to recreate the vibrant interplay of music and dance from this cultural crossroad.