2019 Performers

Balkan E Boston Acoustic

Three members of the band Balkan E Boston, Elena Mancheva, Petar Dimitrov, and Zoran Matich, have formed Balkan E Boston Acoustic:

Elena Mancheva (vocals) comes from a musical family in Bulgaria. She graduated n 2007 from the Academy of Music, Dance, and Fine Arts in Plovdiv, where she received a bachelor’s degree in music education with a specialization in Bulgarian folk music. She participated as a singer in numerous folk events in Bulgaria and the United States. A resident of Provincetown, MA from 2007 until 2014, she performs on Cape Cod and throughout New England. In 2013 she became a member of Balkan E Boston. She currently resides in Boston and is teaching at Bulgarian School “Sv.sv. Kiril and Metodii”.

Petar Dimitrov (guitar, bass, tambura) graduated from the National Music School “Filip Kutev” in Bulgaria in 1986, specializing in Balkan folk music and the tambura. He has worked as a professional musician in Bulgaria and Serbia as well as a music schoolteacher in his hometown of Vidin, Bulgaria. He has played with all the major Bulgarian and Serbian folk music stars. Petar also worked as a music and marketing manager for the B&G and ARA record companies. Since 2006, Petar has lived in the Boston area where he joined the Balkan folk band Zdravets and the music group Balkan Express Boston in 2010.

Zoran Matich (guitar, vocals) began playing with several Balkan folk bands and rock bands in 1975 in his native city of Novi Sad, Serbia, where he attended high school for music (with a major in vocal performance). He subsequently toured with several major folk performers in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia from 1980 through 1992. Zoran moved to the United States in 1992 and continued playing Balkan music in New York. He moved to Boston in 1998, and in 2007 he formed Balkan Express Boston, which played throughout New England, New York, and New Jersey. A fan of various music genres, Zoran has also played American blues and soul since 2005. He has performed with many New England and New York musicians in the United States, and with international musicians in London, Rome, and several cities in China, notably at the House of Blues in Shanghai.

Beth Bahia Cohen Hungarian Trio

Beth Bahia Cohen is an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music and is on the Applied Music Faculty at Tufts University. She has been exploring the way the violin and other bowed string instruments have been played in various cultures. Her repertoire includes violin and bowed instrument traditions of Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Norway, the Middle East, and more. She plays traditional Greek music on the violin and various lyras. Beth has learned from and performed with many violinists and lyra players in Greece:  Vangelis Zagoraios of Andros, Yiorgos Bellis of Kythnos, Manolis Manouras and Yiorgos Avissinos of Crete, and others. She has performed with New York dance groups GAFS and Akrites, as well as throughout the US and Canada, in concerts and at Greek dance symposiums (FDF, HDF, etc.); she is a founding member of Ziyia, an ensemble performing traditional Greek music from all parts of Greece. She has performed with Petroloukas Halkias, Christos Zotos, Yiorgos Katsaros, and Mario Frangoulis, as well as performing in New York and Boston with Vasileios Kostas, Panos Aivas, Lefteris Bournias, Lefteris Kordis, Panayota Haloulakou, George Lernis, Erini Kornesaki, Dean Lampros, Sandra Theodorou, and others. In Hungary, Beth worked with Őkrős Csaba, Halmos Bela, The Teka Ensemble, Újstilus Ensemble, and the Őkrős Ensemble. She formed the Sarkany ensemble, which performed village music of Hungary throughout the US and Canada. Most recently, she has been performing Hungarian music in the US with Ildiko Nagy, Aron Szekely, Mimi Rabson, and Manos Stratis.

The Beth Bahia Cohen Hungarian Trio will perform Hungarian Transylvanian music. Members of the group are:
Beth Bahia Cohen, hegedű (violin)
Mimi Rabson, kontra (3 string viola) and ütőgardon (hit cello)
Michael Harrist, bőgő (bass)

Elitsa Stoyneva and Rucheya

Elitsa Stoyneva is a seven-time gold medalist in traditional singing from Targovishte, Bulgaria. She grew up surrounded with the beauty of Bulgarian folk singing. She learned her first song from her mother when she was five years old and has been singing ever since. Elitsa graduated from a professional music high school and has performed at numerous concerts and competitions in Bulgaria, Egypt, Switzerland, Greece, Canada, and the United States.

After coming to the US, Elitsa continued to sing, representing Bulgaria with passion and heart. She has been a special guest singer in music halls around the world, including the Opera Houses in Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt, Berklee Performance Center in Boston, and Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, New York. She has participated in many projects promoting and preserving Bulgarian traditions and singing, and supporting people in need. Recently, Elitsa completed an educational project with Chicago Children’s Choir, featuring a book and a DVD.

While completing her MBA in Maine, Elitsa founded and led International Trio Elitsa together with Anne Stancioff Tatgenhorst and Kirsten Stockman, and also initiated and directed a children’s choir. In addition, she organized and conducted workshops with diverse groups, including Yale Slavic Women’s Chorus, Pletenitsa Berklee Balkan Choir, and Maine Balkan Choir. Elitsa believes in the power of music as a unique way to connect people, and in the deep connection between music, science, and medicine. Currently, she lives in the Boston area with her husband, Dr. Plamen G. Krastev.

Contact information: e.stoyneva@abv.bg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqCqIDnJNFc

Elitsa will perform with Anne Tatgenhorst Stancioff and Erica Weiss.

Anne Tatgenhorst Stancioff is the director of the Maine Balkan Choir, an ensemble of 15+ women and men who have been singing Eastern European music for nearly 20 years. Anne was part of the trio Sviata Duma. Later she joined Trio Elitsa with Elitsa Stoyneva and Kirsten Stockman, performing concerts in Maine, Washington DC, Toronto, and Bulgaria. She learned her first Bulgarian song as a child from her uncle Ivan Stancioff, who currently resides in Varna, Bulgaria.

Erica Weiss fell in love with Balkan women’s music and singing styles while in college, where she sang and taught with the Yale Slavic Chorus for five years, serving as director for three years. She has since shared her knowledge and enthusiasm teaching singing workshops in many settings, including TradMaD Camp at Pinewoods and Summer Acoustic Music Week in NH. Her current passions also include performing on guitar with Cajun band Jesse Lége and Bayou Brew; playing guitar, fiddling, and singing in various Appalachian music ensembles; calling square dances; and writing and recording original songs. Her most recent EP of all originals is Erica Weiss and The Louisiana Shindig, So Fine.

Visit Erica’s website ericaweiss.com.

Greek Music by Beth, Sandy, and Friends

Beth, Sandy, and Friends present Greek dance music from the islands to the mainland and Asia Minor.

Beth Bahia Cohen, violin, lyra
Sandy Theodorou, laouto, accordion, vocals
Dean Lambros, santouri, spoons
Georgios Galanakis, guitar
Fabio Pirozzolo, percussion, vocals

Harris Brothers Balkan Band

Tight harmonies, driving rhythm, inventive arrangements, up close and personal – traditional and contemporary Balkan folk and Roma dance music at its best!

Contact: Drew Harris at 203-439-2001.
Join our fan mailing list.
Studio and live recordings.

The members of the Harris Brothers Balkan Band are:
Drew Harris, saxophone, clarinet
Laine Harris, truba
Helen Marx, tupan
Adam Matlock, accordion
Ben Thomas, tuba
Brian Slattery, trombone

Ivan Milev and Entcho Todorov Duo

Two virtuoso Bulgarian musicians, legendary accordionist Ivan Milev and accomplished classical violinist Entcho Todorov, have thrilled audiences around the world with their powerful playing, intricate arrangements, and high-energy performances of Balkan folk music.

Ludo Mlado

Ludo Mlado [dance performance] is a folklore dance ensemble based in Boston, MA. The group endeavors to preserve and spread awareness of the rich dance traditions of Bulgaria and the Balkan people by training dancers and showcasing performances at cultural events. Ludo Mlado performs at festivals, concerts, weddings, and wherever Bulgarian music and dance can bring its special touch to make an event memorable. For more information, see their website or contact the group by email.

Music Progressive Quartet

Straight from Skopje, Macedonia, Music Progressive Quartet (MPQ) is comprised of four young, conservatory-trained, world class professional classical musicians who play with the National Macedonian Philharmonic orchestra and guest with countless other groups and at numerous festivals in the Balkans and beyond. In MPQ, they break out to another genre, presenting a fresh jazz take on traditional folk songs of Macedonia. They have charmed audiences worldwide with their total mastery of their instruments, their innovative and witty arrangements, and their warm and engaging stage manner.

The members of MPQ are:
Vladimir Lazarevski, oboe
Vladimir Krstev, violin,
Marko Videnović, viola and composer
Paskal Krapovski, ’cello.

Visit MPQ’s website.


Niva is a four-woman band that plays and sings Macedonian roots music — the alternately lyrical, mournful, ecstatic and spooky music that once was the soundtrack of everyday life. Songs about unhappy betrothals, bandits hiding in the hills, secret trysts and cruel mothers-in-law; dances that wrap you in a twisting circle that gets faster and faster — Niva can make you hoot and holler one minute and cry your eyes out the next, even if you can’t speak Macedonian.

Niva is:
Bridget Robbins, kaval
Corinna Snyder, tambura and vocals
Emily Geller, tapan and vocals
Kristina Vaskys, tambura and vocals

Visit Niva’s Facebook page.

Orkestar Banitsa

Orkestar Banitsa plays dance music of the Balkans, especially in the traditions of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and Greece. Based in Western Massachusetts, they have been playing together for about ten years, though only for the last four as Orkestar Banitsa. The name comes from the wonderful Bulgarian pastry.

Orkestar Banitsa features:
Becky Ashenden and Gawain Thomas, accordion and percussion
Addie Rose Holland, clarinet and vocals
Joe Blumenthal, bass
Barbara Blumenthal, Bulgarian tambura.

Sarma Brass Band

Sarma Brass Band is a 10-piece Balkan brass band that evokes the energetic grooves and soaring melodies of the Balkan Roma. Featuring musicians from the US, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, and Palestine, Sarma Brass Band represents an international love of Balkan Brass. Their full and epic sound, consisting of groovy melodies and chest-thumping rhythms, will entice even the most shy listener to dance.

The members of Sarma are:
Aya Safiya, vocals
Tano Brock, alto sax, clarinet
Andrija Gavrilović, trumpet
Tyler Hauer, trumpet
John Cushing, euphonium
Michael Prentky, trombone
Joe Ricard, sousaphone
Alber Baseel, darbuka
Panagiotis Aivazidis, davul
Panagiotis Georgakopoulos, snare

Visit Sarma’s website, email them, and check them out on social media: Facebook and Instagram @sarmabrassband.

Shining Moon

Shining Moon is a group of musicians from the Boston area playing and singing some of their favorite tunes from the Balkans and beyond. They are also performers with other local groups. Dancing to Shining Moon’s beautiful vocal harmonies is a thrill not to be missed!

The members of Shining Moon are:
Dean Brown, tambura, guitar, dumbek, vocals
Colin Ferguson, vocals, keyboards, accordion, guitar, tambura, dumbek
Heather Lee, vocals, guitar
Dana Sussman, vocals, percussion, tambura
David Traugot, bass, vocals, tambura, percussion
Brian Wilson, clarinet, violin, vocals, tambura
Patrick Yacono, clarinet, vocals, keyboards, kaval, gaida

Trio Veselba

Trio Veselba, based in Michigan, has played throughout the midwest, including for the Bulgarian community in Detroit. This is their first appearance in the Boston area. Come hear beautiful bitov tunes played in traditional style!

Trio Veselba consists of:
Chris Rietz, kaval
Nan Nelson, tambura
Bruce Sagan, gadulka.