Dear Balkan/Central European Folkloric Musical Renaissance,
At first I thought: I'm fine with having just Beirut and Hawk and a Hacksaw in my life. Just fine. But now I realize that I was wrong. Here in Barcelona (where I'm staying for a couple months. Come out, say hi), I came upon a flyer for the subject of this letter, BGKO (a reformed version, so it seems of, Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra). I had expected the show to be a small affair, but when the line stretched literally around the block, I realized that I discounted the popularity of the group. In the Marsula Cafe, the group performed in the round. The audience was a veritable United Nations -- in ethnicity, nationality, and age -- and the band matched. Consisting of musicians from all over Europe, BGKO's sound was equally diverse swinging from klezmer to Italian folk music and everywhere in between. The musicianship was incredible, even while breaking in a new clarinet player, and it isn't a reach to call the singer, Sandra Sangiao, mesmerizing. The group has 2 records with a third due out soon. But, perhaps the best way to get into the music is through watching the group live. So, I'm attaching a vid that I think you'll like. The tune is "Lule lule," an Italian folksong (and if it's not, blame my poor Spanish for hearing that), which, in concert becomes a riotous audience participation number. It's hard to interact with YouTube, but I think you'll get the drift until you can see them live.