Friday, June 12: Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal


Berkeley Balkan Bacchanal

MWE 10:00pm-10:45pm, 11:00pm-11:45pm

Based in San Francisco, CA, MWE puts a modern and eclectic twist on Turkish and Balkan folk music. As a five member acoustic wind ensemble, 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.  MWE’s shows are loud, wild, and raucous affairs known for drawing entire audiences to their feet in one song or less.

Edessa 9:00pm-9:45pm

Edessa began with a student model 10-button accordion and a room full of revelers in 1991... These particular revelers were gathered together to enjoy the fruits of their cultural heritage; a long and continuous, very rich expression of music and dance. A group of musicians was also gathered together because of a shared love for the incredible music, and revelers and musicians alike were getting deeper into it all. There was the suggestion that perhaps we could play music from yet another corner of this tapestry/crossroads of history. Out came the squeeze box.. We had so much fun doing it, and were met with such enthusiasm, that a new door opened for us.

We were initially called "Edessa Power Block," in reference not only to the town in northern Greece where this music was from, but also to a subset of these very same revelers who were insisting that we play again and again.

Édessa has continued to explore the intersection of music and dance. Not only are there endless possibilities for music improvisations on top of incredibly interesting grooves, but there is the possibility of a kind of larger improvisation, a group synergy, that includes everyone in the room. Anyone who has witnessed an Édessa gig in full swing gets an idea of what a cool expression this is.

Check out how Andrei Codrescu describes this phenomenon in the Villager:

"Mesh: The music of what's coming"

"...Édessa 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. I write this to the band not as one of those people, but as a casual listener with an appreciative ear for many varieties of world music."

David Stuart, Los Angeles

$10 Adv./$10-$15 Sliding Scale Door

Music Starts at 9pm