Slavic Soul Party, sometimes stylized with an exclamation point and promoted as "NYC’s official #1 brass band for BalkanSoul GypsyFunk," is performing at Retreat Farm at 6 p.m. Sunday.

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BRATTLEBORO — A nine-piece brass band from New York City blending an American aesthetic with Balkan tradition is coming to Brattleboro this weekend at what organizers say is one of the most exciting shows in the Bandwagon Summer Series.

Slavic Soul Party, sometimes stylized with an exclamation point and promoted as “NYC’s official #1 brass band for BalkanSoul GypsyFunk,” is performing at Retreat Farm at 6 p.m. Sunday.

“But the name actually is a mistake, based on a misunderstanding of the region in the ‘90s. I didn’t understand that there are many kinds of people in the Balkans, at the time,” said band founder Matt Moran, who plays a traditional Balkan drum called the Tapan. “So it’s a misnomer that we just rock wrong and strong and try and talk to people and help increase understanding as we go along.”

Moran, 50, started the band in the 1990s. At that time, he said he was performing with many traditional Balkan artists. He started his own band as an outlet for incorporating his own creative and improvisational ideas along with the traditional.

“I wanted to combine the amazing social and dance music culture of the Balkans with the amazing, expressive and creative tradition of New York musicians,” Moran said.

On the name, he said he mistakenly assumed that the music he was hearing from the Balkan Peninsula was all Slavic — “that was my ignorance.” Over the years, he came to realize that much of the music was also Romani (also called “Roma” or “Gypsy”), Turkish, Greek and more.

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“We’re a weird mashup of traditional Balkan, jazz, creative improvisation, rap music and all sorts of different things mixed up together,” he said of Slavic Soul Party.

The Bandwagon Summer Series is a family-friendly outdoor cultural performance series, organized by Next Stage Arts in Putney with help from several local organizations, running through mid-October. Performances include music, circus arts, dance and theater, and take place at ballfields, farms and parks throughout Windham County. Children under 12 always get in for free, and a dedicated play area is available at all shows. Refreshments are sold on-site.

“Easily one of the most exciting artists we’re bringing this summer, Slavic Soul Party checks all the boxes,” Keith Marks, executive director of Next Stage Arts, said in a statement.

“They’re masters of the Roma style of music that encapsulates dancing energy, old world sounds, and they make it so fresh and new that audiences from around the world have hailed them as one of the greatest contributors to the genre,” Marks said. “This show is going to be fun.”

For tickets, visit Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Children under 12 are free. This show is included in the Bandwagon Series Pass.


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