Continuing with our Golden Festival 2012 week, let’s take a look at Ansambl Mastika. Dubbed “the new Balkan uproar,” Ansambl Mastika features a collective of musicians who play in other bands. The group includes Greg Squared (Hungry March Band, the Zagnut Cirkus Orkestar, Veveritse Brass Band, Raya Brass Band, Staggerback Brass Band and Astoriani), Ben Syversen (Ben Syversen Trio, Knucklebean, Harry Lime and Poludaktulos Orchestra), Matthew Fass (Zagnut Cirkus Orkestar), Joey Weisenberg (The Amazing Frosen String Quartet, Michael Winograd’s Klezmer Outfit, The Marija Krupoves Trio, Romashka and Zagnut Cirkus Orkestar), Reuben Radding (Zagnut Cirkus Orkestar), and Matt Moran (Slavic Soul Party!).
Their music is a mix of many styles. You can hear the influence of clarinet miroloi of northern Greece, chocheci of the Serbian and Macedonian Roma (Gypsies), Turkish chalgi ensembles and Middle Eastern orchestras, as well as a healthy dose of Bulgarian wedding bands and Klezmer kapelye. Ansambl Mastika is rooted in the myriad styles of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. Mixing it up with rock, jazz, funk, and other exotic Western styles, this group knows how to pump out irresistible grooves. Take a look at their great performance of “Zurlaski Cocek” at Drom in NYC.