Caffeinated Balkan music in Seattle

Balkan bands outside the Balkans

Thousands of musicians play Balkan music outside the Balkans. Many are not of Balkan ancestry and fell in love with a tradition not their own. Either way, if you’re a Balkan band outside the Balkans and have a Web site, or are already on the list and have a new URL, contact us and we’ll update the directory (which went dormant for a while, but is alive and well again). Since no band lasts forever, some links below may no longer be active.

Alphabetically by country



  • Nefes, the “one and only Finnish-Turkish-New-Zealander acoustic band playing Turkish music in Finland”.


  • 17 Hippies
  • Jerewan brings a modern sensibility to music of the Balkans and Caucasus — “Balkanblues und Kaukabilly”.
  • Dragan Trio is a quartet from Rome playing Balkan and klezmer music. In Italian.
  • Kraski Ovcarji from Trieste plays Balkan-flavored rock
  • Opa Cupa is mostly Italian musicians, with a Bosnian guitarist and Albanian accordionist.
  • Sniper – Balkan music in the Venice area.
  • Balkanswingband Sultan
  • ?arlama Orkestar – Exuberant brass party band
  • Csókolom, based in Amsterdam and Berlin, plays Hungarian, Romanian and Rom music.
  • Iduna, an 11-member band, plays music from the Balkans, Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
  • Lautareasca plays Balkan, Irish, Scots and klezmer music.
  • Mista plays Balkan and other folk music for dancing and listening.
  • Farmers Market, who did a concert with Ivo Papazov.
  • Ulaband plays “music from all over the world, but mostly Balkan,” Torstein Ruud tells us.
New Zealand
  • Tsârvuli are an Edinburgh-based group specialising in Bulgarian and Macedonian folk music played on traditional instruments
  • Ssassa plays Balkan, Rom and Middle Eastern music and has several CDs.

Alphabetically by state


  • Big Rock Balalaikas, starring Judy Sherman from Odessa Balalaikas and Andy King from every famous L.A. Balkan band of the ’70s and ’80s, heighten the cultural consciousness of the Central Coast.
  • Brass Menažeri – San Francisco’s powerhouse Balkan brass band
  • Chubritza performs Balkan music in idyllic Arcata.
  • Danubius, including my old pal Barbara Deutsch, plays Eastern European and Balkan music in the Bay area.
  • Drita plays Albanian music in Los Angeles.
  • Edessa plays hot music from the Balkans, Greece and Turkey in the Bay area and beyond (no Web site).
  • Fishtank Ensemble – “deliriously international” Gypsy jazz
  • Kitka, a women’s choir in the San Francisco Bay area, performs songs from the Balkans and beyond.
  • Nevenka women’s Balkan choir
  • Slavonian Traveling Band plays tamburica and Rom music.
  • Sviraci plays Balkan village music (and a little Scandinavian on the side) in the Bay area.
  • CA and Washington and Massachusetts: Ziyiá, an excellent traditional Greek ensemble with bicoastal roots, has released two fine CDs.
  • Planina sings songs of Eastern Europe.
  • Eastern Blok , from Chicago, plays Balkan jazz fusion
  • Izgrev plays Bulgarian wedding music in Chicago.


  • Divni Zheni, a Bulgarian women’s chorus and band directed by Tatiana Sarbinska in Boston.
  • Gogofski Trio, with David Golber, plays music from the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia and surrounding areas.
  • Rakiya plays Rom music in the Boston area.
  • Tom Pixton in the Boston area
  • Zdravets is “Boston’s friendly neighborhood Bulgarian band.”


  • The Ethnic Connection in Ann Arbor, featuring David Owens, formerly of the L.A. band Nama.
  • Immigrant Suns in Detroit: “Balkan village indie-rock, or improvised pop hooks with topical lyrics? Arabic garage folk or avante world beat?”
  • Katun – Acoustic Balkan fusion in Ann Arbor


  • Ethnic Dance Theatre in Minneapolis has a folk orchestra and women’s choir, Mila, that perform music from Eastern and Central Europe.
New York
  • Ansambl Mastika – Original Eastern European Music.
  • Balkan Beat Box Israeli/American meetup where gypsy brass meets ska
  • Frula Show, a Serbian band in New York
  • Merak, an excellent Macedonian dance band in Syracuse.
  • Raya Brass Band – exhuberant Balkan music from Brooklyn
  • Romashka is a New York based band playing Romanian and Russian Gypsy and folk music.
  • Slavic Soul Party is “downtown’s answer to Balkan party music: brash and strong as slivovitz.”
  • The Yuri Yunakov Ensemble is led by Yuri, a Bulgarian emigre who played sax with Ivo Papazov.
  • Zagnut Circus Orkestar plays Balkan brass band music, with mp3s available on their site.
  • Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band, North America’s leading Balkan brass band, has released several fine recordings and hosts noteworthy Balkan music events in the NY area.
  • Hajde, in Columbus, plays Macedonian and Bulgarian folk music for dancers.
  • Harmonia, led by the legendary Walt Mahovlich, plays music from Eastern and Central Europe.


  • Kef plays Balkan dance music in Eugene.
  • Kafana Klub plays Balkan music in Portland.


South Carolina
  • Turku plays music from the Balkans to Iran
  • Zivio performs music and dance of the Balkans.
  • Balkanarama plays Balkan nightclub music in Seattle, hosts this site
  • Bucharest Drinking Team
  • Dromeno – Greek and Balkan music with the Govetas family.
  • Dunava is a women’s Balkan choir affiliated with Radost.
  • Folk Voice plays music from all over Europe, including the Balkans
  • Hejira plays world jazz from the Balkans and Middle East.
  • Kafana Republik plays Balkan and Rom music wedding band style.
  • Kultur Shock plays killer Balkan punk in Seattle.
  • The Makedonians are a free-floating Balkan band in the Olympia-Tacoma area.
  • Mary Sherhart is a Balkan vocal soloist and teacher in Seattle and performs with Nisava as Balkan Cabaret.
  • Orkestar Radio-Televizija Woodinville (RTW), good buddies of ours, plays Bulgarian and Macedonian music in Seattle.
  • Orkestar Zirkonium a large drum and brass ensemble in Seattle
  • Pangeo, with Christos Govetas, Ruth Hunter and friends, plays superb regional Greek music.
  • Pasatempo, featuring Christos Govetas, Ruth Hunter, Dave Bartley and friends, specializes in Greek rebetika.
  • Radost is Seattle’s leading ethnic dance company and often is accompanied by live musicians.
  • Sandra Layman is an excellent violinist playing klezmer, Balkan and Turkish music.
  • Seattle Junior Tamburitzans have been playing Croatian music since 1970.

Washington, D.C.

  • Modal Music plays klezmer, Romany, Balkan, Greek and more



The East European Folklife Center sponsors memorable Balkan music camps on the West and East coasts of the U.S. every summer and runs an e-mail discussion group on Balkan music and folklore.

Northwest Folk Dancers Incorporated offers a guide to international dance in the Pacific Northwest.