International Roma Day Celebration
Friday , Apr 2, 2010 • 7:30 PM
This evening showcases the talents of America's finest Romani musicians and dancers including Chicago's Chris Bajmakovich (accordion), the Bay Area's own Rumen "Sali" Shopov, Cele Paskoski, and the Brass Liberation Orchestra. Sani Rifati teaches traditional Romani dances, and Romani art, handcrafts, CDs, and literature will be available for sale. There will be food available by Hristos Kolev from 7:30PM
Rumen "Sali" Shopov is a master Turkish-Romani drummer, singer, and string-player from Goce Delchev, Bulgaria, a crossroads town in the Pirin Mountain region that hosts a rich intersection of Bulgarian, Macedonian, Greek, and Turkish musical influences. Rumen has performed and toured with the Nevrokopski Folk Ensemble, Yuri Yunakov and his Romani Wedding Band, Edessa, Ziyia, Kitka, Ivan Milev, Chris Bajmakovic, Ismail Lumanovski, Frank London, Eugene Hutz (Gogol Bordello), and many others. A charismatic and patient teacher, Rumen has taught at the Eastern European Folklife Center's Balkan Music and Dance Workshops, Berkeley's JazzSchool, UC Berkeley, University of Oregon - Eugene; The College of Santa Fe, Kosmos World Music and Dance Camp, World Camp, Stockton Camp, Balkanalia, and at other universities and cultural centers throughout the US and Canada. Since 2003, Rumen has been artist-in-residence with Voice of Roma, a humanitarian aid and cultural organization based in Sebastopol, California. In 2006, Voice of Roma released "Soul of the Mahala" a CD featuring performances by Rumen and his son, Angel. Rumen is the recipient of grants from the Creative Work Fund, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, Creative Capital MAP Fund, and The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fund for Folk Culture. Information: 510-847-7918, rumenashopov AT yahoo.com
The Brass Liberation Orchestra (BLO) has performed primarily in the streets since 2002, establishing itself as a well known Bay Area musical group of brass, reeds and percussion, that helps build a society that respects all cultures and promotes cross- cultural understanding. BLO is an all volunteer, diverse group of cultural workers who have come together to use music as a political tool for social change. Recently, nominated by the SF Bay Guardian as the Bay area's "Best Street Performance Band," the BLO performs approximately four times each month, mostly on the streets, as a way to engage, inspire, and support those who are fighting on the front lines for a more just society. By drawing on a rich musical repertoire from around the world, such as the folk music of Italian political movements, US civil rights groups, workers' unions, Central American freedom songs, Nigerian Afro-beat, New Orleans second line traditions, and the vibrant music of the Roma, the BLO moves people to dance, sing, and join together to fight for a better world.
Chris Bajmakovich, born in Chicago into a Macedonian Rom family, began playing accordion at age 5. He first professionally performed with a band at age 14, and gave solo performances in smaller venues, playing at weddings, christenings, church dances, and private parties, primarily in the large Balkan immigrant communities of Chicago. He also toured throughout the US with Macedonian singers. Bajmakovich has performed with many well-known musicians, including Ferus Mustafov, Milan Zavkov and Sasko Velkoy. He performed at VOR's 2006 International Roma Day event and has recorded several CDs.
Other participating artists:Sani Rifati, Evan Stuart, Peter Jakes, Cele Paskoski
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