Saturday, January 22, 2011
Last weekend I traveled to New York City for the long Martin Luther King Day weekend to see family, old friends, and to attend the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival in Park Slope, Brooklyn (nevermind that whole escaping Santa Fe necessity...). The festival is an annual two-day festival of Balkan music of every kind imaginable, and it has been going on for 26 years now. This was my first Golden Festival, and after the lovely, and dare I say perfect experience I had there, I'm definitely going to make it a yearly ritual. If we're diligent enough, the new Macedonian folk project I'm involved in now might request to play next year.
All of the 70+ ensembles that perform at Golden Fest are completely unpaid, and all the profit from the festival is donated to charities operating in the Balkans. There were at least two or three thousand people there on Saturday night and the cover the second night was $30-45.
I was very busy dancing during the best moments of the festival, but I do have a few decent-quality cellphone videos of lovely vocal music to share. David Byrne also attended the festival, and he did a much better job of blogging it than I am doing.
When I arrived on the second night of the festival, I was greeted by these lovely singers outside of the Grand Prospect Hall. I was later told that they were the Yale Women's Slavic Chorus:
This video is of Æ (Ash). They're a Brooklyn-based folk fusion group that gorgeously intertwines Balkan and Appalachian folk music. They're touring intermittently, so check them out if they come your way:
Post-Golden-Fest, I've been wishing I could go folk dancing every night to gorgeous Greek music like that of Seattle-based Dromeno, who closed the weekend with a cozy afterparty in the lower east side on Sunday night.