Words by Ed King / Pic from Balkan Beat Box
7 days to go…
Amongst the headline acts at Swingamajig 2016 are Balkan Beat Box – the self described ‘intoxicating and intense sonic assault’ of Balkan brass, klezmer, gyspy folk, hip hop, dub, reggae… all the best bits from the world wide web of music we live in.
Fronted by Tomer Yosef, an energetic and intelligent mouth piece (used to be a stand-up comedian), Balkan Beat Box is the brain child of drummer Tamir Muskat and saxophonist Ori Kaplan – both of whom have appeared in the Gogol Bordello gypsy ensemble and ‘world punk’ group Firewater.
Making noise, figuratively and literally, in New York’s underground club scene in the early naughties, Balkan Beat Box started out crossing klezmer and Balkan folk with hip hop beats and punk rock percussion – debuting their first eponymous LP in 2005.
Focused on dragging traditional music into a modern context, the band brought Israeli singer/guitarist Tomer Yosef into the fold after his vocals appeared on the Balkan Beat Box debut LP. Having previously written and recorded with Tamir Muskat, Yosef brought a crowd facing fire to the live shows – quickly earning the trio a ferocious on stage reputation.
Now four albums in and present across global gig and festivals circuits, Balkan Beat Box have crissed, crossed, and crisscrossed again a multitude of influence – bringing sounds and genres from all over the world into their set.
Sounds perfect for a Swingamajig festival booking; an adverterous portfolio, with collaboration from artists including ‘the Yemenite dance music group A-Wa’ and ‘the turnt up rock group Loco Hot’.
And without wanting to rely on the rhetoric of others, Time Out summed this up by saying ‘if Balkan Beat Box is world music, it’s in the most literal sense – because it can move anyone in the world.’ Not a bad endorsement.
But don’t take our (or their) word for it, have a stop, look listen to Balkan Beat Box below:
‘I Trusted U’ – Balkan Beat Box
Birmingham get up close and personal with Balkan Beat Box at Swingamajig 2016, as they headline the main stage sometime suitably after dark. Buy don’t worry about the when and where’s, you’ll probably hear their set start wherever you are in the sprawling Rainbow Venues. I believe the term is ‘…going off’.
Other acts appearing at Swingamajig 2016 are The Destroyers, JFB, Electric Swing Circus, The Tootsie Rollers, Jack Rabbit Slim, Swingrowers, Tankus the Henge, The Carny Villians, Barbarella’s Bang Bang + The Rin Tins.
Swingamajig 2016 comes the Rainbow Venues in Digbeth on May 1st – running from 2pm until 6am. Tickets are priced at £22/£25/£30.
For the full Swingamagig line up, alongside everything else you need to know about the festival – including online tickets, visit http://swingamajig.co.uk/
For more on Balkan Beat Box, visit http://www.balkanbeatbox.com/
For more on Rainbow Venues, visit http://therainbowvenues.co.uk/