Brussels welcomes Balkan Trafik! Festival 2018

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The 12th edition of Balkan Trafik is here! Alighting at the BOZAR from 19 – 22 April 2018, this is the festival that celebrates the cultures of South-Eastern Europe and their relationship with Brussels, the capital of Europe. The program includes Candan Erçetin, exceptional ‘urban arts’, the best of klezmer music and dub, powerful brass bands and great masters. Furthermore, Bulgaria is given place of honor in this year’s programming.

Constantly evolving, Balkan Trafik! has moved forward at the same swift pace as progress in the Balkans. More than 400 artists from every country of South-Eastern Europe, covering all musical styles, will appear on 5 stages. This year, Bulgaria will play a starring role, providing around 100 artists from both Sofia and Plovdiv. Plovdiv, the country’s second largest city, is home to the prestigious Academy of music, dance and fine arts, and has been named European capital of culture for 2019.

The whole program will be flavoured with Balkan Trafik’s trademark – a unique atmosphere where lots of artists jam together in an exotic setting. Candan Erçetin, the Turkish singer of Albanian origin, will open the festival on Thursday 19 April.

On Friday 20 April, pride of place will be given to a new generation of artists engaged in cultural and social change. “Urban Chapter”will showcase the best of urban sounds from Bosnia-Herzegovina (Frenkie), Serbia (Marčelo), Bulgaria (SkilleR beatboxing), Roumania (Benji Horvath’s amazing slams) or furthermore from Kosovo (BimBimma). From the dynamic Belgian music scene, they’ll meet with Hexaler, Youssef Swat and Convok, among other headliners like DJ Odilon, all providing unique sets of beatbox, slam, hip-hop and urban dance. Also performing will be Dubioza Kolektiv, a well-known Bosnian dub group with politically engaged lyrics, and Džambo Aguševi Orchestra’s brass band, representing the best of modern and traditional music. Finally, Mitsoura, the Rom singer from Hungary with her unmistakably unique sound, will premier her latest creation.

On Saturday 21 April, a diverse medley of styles and sounds, unique to Balkan Trafik!, will take to the stage. There’s klezmer music with the unrivalled Amsterdam Klezmer Band accompanied by the Hungarian Tambura band, Söndörgő, and the acclaimed Romanian brass band, Fanfare Ciocărlia. Living legends like Savína Yannátou, the embodiment of Albanian iso polyphony of the Albanian National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances and Bulgarian and Serbian polyphonies will also perform.

Finally on Sunday 22 April, Brussels’ Grand-Place will host a giant ‘horo’ dance, the traditional communal dance of the Balkans and the Middle East. Open to all, the event will celebrate the diversity of Belgium’s capital.

In addition to these highlights, Balkan Trafik! will offer dozens of other concerts, art installations, several exhibitions and lectures but also animations throughout the festival with the Kukeri group from Rakovski (Bulgarie).