Balkan folk and Romani dancing is currently a highly popular entertainment for special occasions.
Balkan Express features the vibrant music of traditional rural Balkan weddings, Gypsy Romani festivities, and evergreens from Kustorica's movies, performed by violin, vocals, accordion, guitar and percussion, with virtuosity, passion and pure human energy, amplified on occasion but without electronic elements. We choose the musical treasures from each region, songs and instrumentals which are cherished by insiders, and catchy to new comers. The experience may be enriched by our Balkan Romani dancer with Gypsy Romani dance performances and led Balkan Ceilidh dancing.
“A Gypsy consommé with a satanic pulse”
- Garth Cartwright, Froots.
“Thanks again for making our wedding very special !”
“Their energy is contagious and that carried across the audience tonight”
Our most memorable events were commissioned by clients and promoters who envisioned 'that something different’ for their event, that something which is not quite as familiar as pop music, not quite as cool as jazz, not quite as formal as classical, with a power similar to rock music; an entertainment with elements of the above in addition to an innovative and exotic touch. Sometimes we provide a warm feel-good atmosphere with a slightly exotic touch for dinners and receptions, performing some of our moving ballads and slow dances from Macedonia, Russia and Hungary. On most occasions, however, clients or festivals are interested in the hot kick of Balkan dance music from Serbia, Bulgaria and frantic fiddle music from Romania. On those occasions we play our most vibrant dance pieces with full power.
“Bavarian-born violinist Gundula could well have been raised in the Balkans, for her playing imparts the true soul of Gypsy music, full of colour and passion, an explosion of energy…” Vesti News, Serbian diaspora newspaper
“Gruen’s band swirl and flow fascinatingly around her, in obvious thrall to her fearless and commanding playing.” – Froots
Balkan Express provides professional entertainment in a variety of settings:
A surprise show of colourful and vibrant Romani music and dance, usually performed in the full 6-piece line-up; suitable as a staged performance or on the floor amongst the guests.
A Balkan Ceilidh, currently highly fashionable for parties, involves guests actively and ensures a cultural experience as well as a long-lasting memory of the event. Line and circle dances are led in Ceilidh-style to live music from many Eastern European and Balkan traditions.
Two or three 45-min sets of vibrant dance and/or soulful listening music, performed by a minimum 2-, maximum 5-piece line-up.
Personalised entertainment: Performance sets of flexible length and energy, combinations of music and dance can be individually designed for your function. Special requests of certain music pieces may be included.
Performances can be completely acoustic for intimate locations, semi-amplified, or fully amplified for large festivals and functions.
About the performers:
Tatcho Drom are a London-based quintet, and considered one of the UK’s leading exponents of Balkan Romany Gypsy music. The ensemble has been working together for more than 10 years, performing at music festivals, Arts centres, Universities, TV and Radio as well as private and corporate functions. More info @ www.tatchodrom.com.
Gundula Gruen, the leader of the group is a virtuoso violinist and singer, and with Bmus, postgraduate degrees and a MA in Ethnomusicology. Described by Songlines Magazine as ‘a shining star in the UK’s Balkan music scene’, she learned first-hand from Romani and folk musicians on her extensive musical travels, regularly learning, jamming and performing with native local musicians.
“ … most of all I loved her playing and singing: unaffected and full of life… with her musicality and lifelines she is giving out something so precious and important in this muddled world!”
“London-based, German-born violinist Gundula Gruen has long been a shining star in the UK’s Balkan music scene” … ‘huge musical talent and impressive energy" – Songlines Mag
Alexandar Ivanov, Tatcho Drom’s accordionist, brings along a huge bag of energy and experience from his native Bulgaria, where he performed Eastern European, Balkan and Russian music for more than 15 years. The line-up is completed by guitar (Jeremy Halliwell), Balkan percussion (Sass Hoory) and cello (Fraser Parry), a powerful quintet which produces both vibrant Balkan dance rhythms as well as soulful melodic music.
Balkan Romani dancer Linda Gjojgeva Toteva is London’s only Romani dance performer with authentic Balkan Romani roots. She has learned her first dancing from her Grandmother in Bulgaria, and since then studied and performed various Eastern dance styles around the globe. Linda delivers exciting and exotic dance performances and is known for her infectious leading of Eastern European and Balkan line and circle dances.