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    Lots of Klezmer at 12th edition of Balkan Trafik!

    The 12th edition of Balkan Trafik! will run from 19 – 22 April 2018. The festival celebrates the cultures of South-Eastern Europe and their relationship with Brussels, the capital of Europe. The programme includes Candan Erçetin, exceptional ‘urban arts’, the best of klezmer music and dub, powerful brass bands and great masters. This year, Bulgaria is given the place of honour in the programming.

    Constantly evolving, the festival is bringing more than 400 artists from the Balkans, covering all musical styles. This year, Bulgaria will play a starring role, providing around 100 artists from both Sofia and Plovdiv. Plovdiv, the country’s second largest city, is home to the prestigious Academy of music, dance and fine arts, and has been named European capital of culture for 2019.

    Candan Erçetin, the Turkish singer of Albanian origin, will open the festival on Thursday 19 April. On Friday 20 April, “Urban Chapter” will showcase the best of urban sounds from Bosnia Herzegovina (Frenkie), Serbia (Marčelo), Bulgaria (SkilleR beatboxing), Romania (Benji Horvath’s amazing slams) and BimBimma from Kosovo. They’ll be joined by talented local Belgian artists such as Hexaler, Youssef Swat and Convok, among other headliners like DJ Odilon, all providing unique sets of beatbox, slam, hip-hop and urban dance.

    The organisers are happy to announce the attendance of Mitsoura, a Rom singer from Hungary with a unique sound who will premier her latest album.

    On Saturday 21 April, klezmer music will dominate the stages with the unrivalled Amsterdam Klezmer Band accompanied by the Hungarian Tambura band Söndörgő, and the acclaimed Romanian brass band, Fanfare Ciocărlia. Living legends like Savína Yannátou, the embodiment of Albanian iso polyphony of the Albanian National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances and Bulgarian and Serbian polyphonies will also perform.

    Finally on Sunday 22 April, Brussels’ Grand-Place will host a giant ‘horo’ dance, the traditional communal dance of the Balkans and the Middle East. Open to all, the event will celebrate the diversity of Belgium’s capital.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times