Who are the BALKAN PLAYBOYS? Just the umpteenth artistic metamorphosis of mercurial Nikola Parov, the multi-instrumentalist who over a long career has founded and directed a number of great outfits including Zsaratnok, one of the most popular Hungarian groups (check out the Dunya CDs The Balkan Legend and The Balkan Move) and who fans of Irish music will remember for his work with Davy Spillane, Martin O'Connor, not forgetting his contribution to Billy Wheelan's Riverdance band world music project in the mid 90s. Parov has always had a clear Idea of what he wants to do with folk music. While appreciating the importance of conserving tradition, he's not interested in simply discovering and amassing tunes from the past but in working them over and fitting them out for today's mutant music scene and a new posterity. His new acoustic quintet, the BALKAN PLAYBOYS skip agilely across the whole Balkan territory from Hungary and Romania to Bulgaria, lands rich in musical ore and lore that to this day form an essential part of the vitality of the communities who live there. This is the music of their everyday life, that serves to mark all the rites of passage (from weddings to leave-takings for military service to funerals) that though defunct or muted in significance in the West, still strongly mark the lives of the peoples of Eastern Europe. The BALKAN PLAYBOYS reworkings of this repertoire are remarkably fresh and intriguing, while the quality of the musicianship melds with the beauty of the melodies to create a work of an extremely high standard. The group's instrumentation varies greatly from track to track, with brass and chordophones leading the way. Among Parov's preferred tools of the trade are the gadulka (an instrument related to the medieval rebec that's extremely difficult to learn, with three bowed strings plus an additional nine sympathetics which provide amazing resonance) and the kaval (a Pan-pipe-like instrument with a soft, clear tone, composed of three wooden tubes, that was o riginally played by shepherds), while also deserving of mention are the tambura (from the lute family, with two rows of strings one of which produces a drone while the other is used to pplay the melody and the tapan (basically a large tambura). Apart from the virtuosity of the musicians, on close listening to Balkaninis you will hear cultural and stylistic cross-pollinations of great delicacy and refinement.
BALKAN PLAYBOYS feat. Nikola Parov from Felmay Shop