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Balkanistas is an exuberant group of 20+ Wellington musicians putting their own twisted spin on Eastern European Balkan music…

Winners of the People’s Choice award to play at WOMAD 2014, Balkanistas have delighted and enchanted audiences everywhere with infectious dance rhythms, and an irresistible blend of gypsy sounds. Formed in 2013, and comprising 20 plus members, the Balkanistas’ impressive lineup features accordions, violins, clarinets, brass, percussion, bass, vocals and bouzouki. Balkanistas have featured at the Newtown and Aro Festivals, the Weta Digital Christmas extravaganza, have a regular monthly spot at the iconic Meow, as well as other venues throughout the city. An encounter with the Balkanistas guarantees you a good time, as many of our loyal followers will attest!

With an energetic mix of overlapping musical origins including brass band, gypsy virtuoso and traditional themes, material can reappear as ska and disco interpretations or just plain flat out dance! With strident and rhythmic brass, dashing accordions and wailing melodies on voice and violin, this new Wellington group are ready to blow out the winter chills…


Nick Butcher, Arts Correspondent at RNZ caught up with Andreas Lepper, percussionist and leader of the band just before they were to play at WOMAD. Andreas & some other band members explained why the Balkanistas are so numerous, and how they came to be…

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RNZ’s, Lynda Chanwai-Earle, attends the Balkanistas rehearsals in June and met some of the key players in the band…
The Balkanistas – Songs from the heart – from ‘New Zealand Society, Wednesday 3 June 2015’…

Cover sourced from Bandcamp. Photo courtesy of Balkanistas. Used with permission.

Last edited: 24.03.16

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