Balkan Trafik celebrates its 5th birthday in style

16th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The line-up includes big names like Bregovic with a unique new project, the latest Tanovic film and the Markovic orchestra, but also the Balkan Boat, a festive cruise on the Brussels canal!

Balkan Trafik: Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 April 2011
Centre for Fine Arts
This year sees the fifth edition of Balkan Trafik! Once again, the festival, which takes place over several days in the Centre for Fine Arts, promises a colourful mix of cultures, unique in Europe. From Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 April the festival offers music, film, theatre, dance, and workshops from all over Southern Europe, with local stars, artists from the diaspora, and unique creations featuring artists from both ends of the continent. Balkan Trafik mixes styles and genres, from traditional folk music to electro, alongside today's best brass bands and the leading lights of the jazz and rock scenes.

For its birthday edition Balkan Trafik has lined up a series of big names: the great Goran Bregovicwill be back with his lavish musical project Margot; but also film director Danis Tanovic and the celebrated Boban I Marko Markovic brass band will be there, as will the internationally renowned Turkish rockband, Duman. Last but not least, to celebrate Balkan Trafik's fifth birthday in style, this year also sees the launch of the Balkan Boat, which will open the festival with a festive cruise on the Brussels canal.

Opening evening: Balkan Boat and preview with Danis Tanovic

On Thursday 14 April the festival gets off to a flying start. For the first time, Balkan Trafik sends a Balkan Boat out on the Brussels canal with one of the very best of today's brass bands, the Orkestar Braka Kadrievi. Tickets for this prestigious opening event can now be booked on In the evening film-lovers can enjoy the preview of Cirkus Columbia, the fourth film by the Bosnian film-maker Danis Tanovic, in the presence of the director and of Miki Manojlovic, who played the lead role. Tanovic's first film, No Man's Land, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001. Cirkus Columbia, a political comedy, is set in the lead-up to the Balkan Wars in the early 1990s, a period the director himself lived through. The film also looks at the present state of affairs in that corner of Europe.

Bregovic, Duman, and carte blanche for Tcha Limberger
Friday 15 April, the first multidisciplinary day of the festival, opens with the Goran Bregovicproject Margot, Mémoires d'une reine malheureuse, which was premiered in France last year at the Festival de Musique de St. Denis. Margot has been described as a "recitando accompagnato", a monologue with orchestral accompaniment. Bregovicis joined onstage by his famous Weddings and Funerals Orchestra, a six-strong male choir, and a string quartet. The French opera actress Alyzée Soudet presents the intriguing memoires of Queen Margot, which are transposed to a contemporary context, that of the war in Bosnia. A lavish project in which Bregovicshows himself to be a fully- fledged composer.

On Friday Balkan Trafik offers music, in a variety of genres. The Belgian-Hungarian violin virtuoso Tcha Limberger, perhaps the revelation of Balkan Trafik 2010, has been given carte blanche. He presents a sample of the best of Belgian Roma music. Under the heading Kabaret Manouche, he presents 2 formulas: on Friday he plays alongside – amongst others – his father Vivi Limberger, on Saturday with the new manouche jazz group Les Violons de Bruxelles. The Turkish rock group Duman is extremely popular in its homeland (it has 500,000 fans on Facebook) and has played at major venues worldwide. This will be the group's first performance in Belgium! The quartet led by the Hungarian cimbalom virtuoso Kálmán Balogh, like the Bulgarian accordion master Peter Ralchev, draws on a variety of Balkan folk and modern influences.

In between the "big" concerts, there will be things happening in every corner of the Centre for Fine Arts, from short films to brass bands and from the Greek Rembetiko Kafe (with Nolas Antonis & Gyras Nikolaos) to the Balkan Bazaar and a miniature puppet theatre. A real fortune-teller of the Hungarian Roma community will tell the future on Friday and Saturday. The party will last until the wee small hours with the French DJ duo Raki Balkan Sound System, with a 100% manélé & tiganeasca night.

Boban I Marko Markovic, accordions, brass bands, jazz – and theatre

The Balkan Trafik birthday party continues on Saturday with Boban I Marko Markovic. Markovic father and Markovic son have been playing together for almost ten years now in this celebrated, ceaselessly innovative Serbian brass band. Another band, specially created for the occasion, the Balkan Accordion Project, brings together the best accordion players from the Balkans and from the diaspora, such as Boban Bjelić, Peter Ralchev and Ionică Minune. They will be joined by a special guest, Saule. Another of Saturday's highlights will be the brass band battle between the official (Ekrem Mamutovic Orkestar) and the unofficial winner (Orkestar Braka Kadrievi) of the prestigious Guca festival in Serbia. On Friday the two bands will play separately; on Saturday there will be a musical confrontation that is sure to generate plenty of fireworks and decibels. Those who like things a little quieter can enjoy, among others, the jazzy diva Amira, the acclaimed young singer who has given new momentum to sevdah (a kind of Bosnian fado) or take in the previews of three documentaries. The members of the Bulgarian Fusion Embassy will play live sets until six in the morning.

Earlier, at lunchtime, there will be theatre: Journal d'une Femme du Kosovo, inspired by a diary kept by an Albanian human rights activist during the war in Kosovo. Journal d'une Femme du Kosovo is the first female testimony from the Kosovo war to be seen in a Belgian theatre. This powerful, moving story will be presented by an actress and a musician from the Albanian diaspora in Brussels. The performance will be followed by a workshop in the presence of amongst other writer Sevdije Ahmeti, on the theme of women in war situations.

Balkan Feature Day on Sunday
As it did last year, Balkan Trafik closes with a day of films. On Sunday 17 April the Balkan Feature Day presents the premieres of four (fiction) films in the presence of their directors.

Coproduction: BOZAR, 1001 Valises With the support of: Embassy of Serbia, Hungarian Cultural Centre, Institutul Cultural Român, Hungarofest, BIJ, Communauté française de Belgique, Vlaamse Overheid, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, COCOF This project is co-funded by the European Union

Practical Information
Balkan Trafik,

Goran BregovicBoban I Marko Markovic Duman Amira Kálmán Balogh & Peter Ralchev Balkan Accordion Project with Boban Bjelić, Peter Ralchev & Ionică Minune Zdob Si Zdub Söndörgő Brassband Battle: Ekrem Mamutovic Orkestar & Orkestar Braka Kadrievi Elina Duni Quartet Kabaret Manouche Yiddish Tanz & Krupnik Rembetiko Kafe with Nolas Antonis & Gyras Nikolaos & Film - Workshops - Wine Bar - Electro Party - Balkan Bazaar

Date and time

Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 April, 2011
Centre for Fine Arts Rue Ravensteinstraat 23 1000 Brussels
Thursday 14.04: Film Cirkus Columbia €10 (reductions available), Balkan Boat €16 (incl. 2 drinks) Friday 15.04: €30/20 (day pass with/without Margot by Goran Bregović), €10 after 1pm Saturday 16.04: €18 (dat pass), €10 after 1pm Sunday 17.04: €5/film, free with festival bracelet of Friday or Saturday after reservation via (1 entry per film for a maximum of 3 films)
Please note that entry is limited for the Duman concert on Friday 15.04!
– 12y: €5 – 26y: 25% reduction + 65y: 15% reduction
BOZAR info & tickets
+32 (0)2 507 82 00- - Reservations for the Balkan Boat via

0 Comments To This Article