Balkan music is unique in many ways. It’s easily recognizable, inextricably linked to its roots, and it manages to remain popular beyond the ever-emerging trends. But what defines it more than own state of origin or the sound of specific instruments? It’s the unmistakable vibe of revelry, devil-may-careness, and, at the same time, sentimentality.
photo: Alexander Ryu
“Guns made of Brass”
Now based in Thessaloniki, The BalGuns started their music path in 2012 in a small village near Edessa, Greece. These guys are all about the puns: their name is a combination of the words “Balkan” and “guns”, and for the genre, they play in. The BalGuns created a special term — “Balkan (con)fusion”.
They draw inspiration from the traditions of the native region, whether it’s using folk themes and rhythms to create their pieces, or remaking the traditional Balkan songs.
Apart from the distinctive Balkan vibe, their creativities swings between ska, reggae, funk, and hip-hop. Though combining folk and contemporary styles can be a tricky business. It’s the beauty of Balkan music — so agile, that can be easily entwined into any modern genre.
But whatever genre you’re mixing it with, the main thing is to do it with passion.
More Than Just An Art Form
Balkan countries perceive music as a huge part of their identity, which accompanies every aspect of everyday life. It’s not just an art form, it’s who they are. There is a relevant song or dance for every event, holiday or feeling. At the same time, every country has tons of its own traditions, so it’s often the case when the same song tells totally different stories in different cultures.
photo: Alexander Ryu
The recognizable reckless vibe that we’ve already mentioned is achieved through characteristic tonality and the structure of the band which includes accordion and brass as usual. Basically, knowing this recipe you can play Balkan music far beyond the Balkans and Eastern Europe, which is successfully happening all over the world nowadays.
The Near And Dear Exotica
So when has it become so popular? That’s where the cinema had played a significant role. Let’s take for example ironic and grotesque movies by Bosnian filmmaker Emir Kusturica in which he eloquently portrayed the reality of his homeland. And all of them are filled with music, confirming its everywhereness in the lives of the Balkan nations.
photo: Emir Kusturica “Promise Me This”
In these movies, people live, die, argue, make love and break the plates to music. And if some people are drawn to this aesthetics, because everything looks and sounds so exotic and original, others recognize themselves in these tunes. That’s why Balkan music can sound almost native to people from similar expressive always-conquered-by-someone countries.
They Are Ready To Shoot Your Soul
The BalGuns has it all: the passion, the distinctive sound, and the reckless vibe. At the same time, they step up, making Balkan music even more universal and up-to-date. They take all the best parts of the folk authenticity and modern progress, creating a perfect mixture of music, suitable for all occasions.
photo: Στέφ Ραμόν
There are sincerely expressive, movingly nostalgic, elegantly trendy, and totally unpredictable. And they will definitely allow nobody to stay indifferent.