Join us for Studio Grand's Balkan Night, an evening of which features (not-so-strictly) Eastern European music. This series occurs on the third Friday of the month, so mark your calendar! The night is graciously curated by Kent Kessinger in association with Studio Grand. Come join us for an evening of dancing and celebrating with a set of traditional Greek music by The Helladelics, reuniting for one show in Oakland. Also featuring Balkan Bump, a project fusing electronic and acoustic Balkan elements.
The Helladelics, a Bay Area band specializing in traditional Greek roots music, reunite for one night in Oakland, to joyfully do what they do best: create richness and grit, low gears and deep grooves of both dance and trance tunes. Captivating melodies, intricate rhythms and passionate improvisations drive the hypnotic, bluesy material of Epirus, upbeat dance tunes from Thrace, lilting songs of the islands, along with tastes of Armenia and Asia Minor. The four members are fixtures on the Bay Area Balkan music scene: soulful clarinetist Mary Hofer Farris; laouto strummer extraordinaire Tom Farris; Gari Hegedus on rippling violin and oud; and Michele Simon with her velvet voice and percolating percussion. Together they weave an evening informed by tradition, and infused with contemorary heart.
Mary Hofer Farris
Mary was on a long hiatus from playing after quitting the conservatory…until one spring day in 1996, when a clarinetist came into the music store where she was working and played a tsamiko. The angels must be from Epirus, because from that moment the hiatus was over. A founding member of Bay Area Balkan bands Voluta Vox, Top Dog Run, and Late Cift, Mary first delved into Bulgarian and Macedonian music, being temporarily sidetracked by West African music and finally finishing that pesky classical degree. She went on to play saxophone and clarinet with the wildly popular Brass Menažeri for six years before leaving the band late in 2008 to study Turkish music and to devote her energy to the Helladelics. She currently lives in Athens.
Michele fell in love with Balkan folk music at age 15 and has never recovered. After a 20-year acting career, she has spent the last almost 30 years as a vocalist and drummer with a variety of Balkan music groups including Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble, and the dance bands Anoush, Brass Menažeri and Zabava! Izvorno. She has studied with native-born musicians in the USA as well as in Bulgaria, where she has appeared on Bulgarian National Television. She is a popular singing and drumming teacher at West Coast music workshops and camps.
Gari Hegedus plays violin, viola and a variety of stringed instruments from Greece and Turkey including lauoto, oud, saz and hand drums. Gari plays in the duo Teslim with violinist Kaila Flexer (kailaflexer.com/teslim), and performs with world music group Stellamara (stellamara.com), as well as the band Janam, and with Persian vocalist Hamed Nikpay (hamednikpay.com). He has studied with oud master Naseer Shamma and has recorded and performed with Ross Daly. He has toured with the Mevlevi Dervish (Sufi) Order of America and continues to participate in Turkish ceremonial and devotional gatherings around the country.
Tom has been playing in Bay Area Balkan rhythm sections since 1994. He is a multi-instrumentalist and plays a variety of drums and stringed instruments. He was a long time member of Anoush, Brass Menažeri, and Top Dog Run, and currently plays with Janam and Zabava! Izvorno. In addition to Balkan music, Tom has been playing the Phin, a strummed instrument from Northeastern Thailand.
Mary Farris, clarinet
Michelle Simon, vocals, percussion
Tom Farris, lauto
Gari Hegedus, violin, oud
Balkan Bump - a group exploring the intersection between Balkan music, hip-hop, and funk. Will Magid (trumpet/electronics) with Morgan Nielson (clarinet) and Joey Friedman (saxophone)
DOORS AT 9:30PM, SHOW AT 10:00PM
$7-$15 sliding scale
*No refunds or exchanges.