Balkan Beat Box
|Balkan Beat Box|
|Origin||New York, United States; Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Genres||Gypsy punk, electronica, funk, world music|
|Labels||Crammed Discs, Nat Geo Music, JDub Records|
|Associated acts||Gogol Bordello, Firewater|
Balkan Beat Box (BBB) is an American-Israeli musical group founded by Tamir Muskat, Ori Kaplan of Firewater and Big Lazy, and now including Tomer Yosef as a core member. The group plays Mediterranean-influenced music that incorporates Balkan and Middle eastern traditions, Gypsy punk, and electronica. As a musical unit they often collaborate with a host of other musicians both in the studio as well as live.
Co-founders Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat both met in Brooklyn, New York City, New York as teenagers. Both had grown up with music; Kaplan had been a klezmer clarinetist, while Muskat was a drummer in a punk rock band. They established their own unique sound by fusing the musical styles of Mediterranean and Balkan traditions with hip hop and dancehall beats.
Balkan Beat Box’s goal was to take ancient and traditional musical traditions and fuse those with hip hop in order to create a new mix of musical styles out of the traditional world music context that would appeal to listeners in a club or a dancehall. As children, they had felt that traditional music was outdated and felt as though it did not adequately reflect their experiences of the growing world culture, so hoped to bring new relevance to these old traditional musical forms. They cite Boban Marković, Rachid Taha, Fanfare Ciocarlia, Manu Chao, and Charlie Parker amongst their musical influences. The group was also influenced by Jamaican dub. In December 2006, the acclaimed artist from Tel Aviv Tomer Yosef became frontman for the group.
Balkan Beat Box’s self-titled first album (released in 2005) and their 2007 follow-up album Nu Med both received global acclaim. While their first album focused more on Mediterranean sounds, their second album included Arabic and Spanish influences. The song "Bulgarian Chicks" from their first album became popular in clubs and dancehalls in 2008, and was sampled by Mac Miller in the Diplo produced track Goosebumpz in Spring 2013. The album Nu Med, spread across the world, and in August 2013 the song Hermetico was sampled by Jason Derulo in the track "Talk Dirty" featuring 2 Chainz.
The group released Blue Eyed Black Boy in 2010 and Give in 2012. Regarded as the "godfathers of global bass" by MTV Iggy, the band continued to expand their sound incorporating electronic dance music, reggae, cumbia, and brass bands into their tracks. Blue Eyed Black Boy was recorded in Romania with the Jovica Ajderevic Orkestar brass band, and at Vibromonk East in Tel Aviv. Key tracks are Dancing with the Moon, Move It, Blue Eyed Black Boy, and War Again as harbinger of things to come. The album Give was influenced by the Arab Spring, Occupy movements, and the spirit of change around the world. Once dubbed "a global peace-keeping mission you can dance to" by Spin Magazine, the band is consistently lyrical and outspoken. With anthems like Part of the Glory, "Money" and "No Man's Land" Balkan Beat Box keeps people dancing and moving toward a brighter future.
- Official members
- Tomer Yosef - lead vocals, percussion, samples
- Ori Kaplan - saxophone
- Tamir Muskat - drums, percussion, programming
- Current live performers
- Itamar Ziegler - guitar, bass guitar
- Ben Hendler - bass guitar
- Ron Bunker - guitar
- Peter Hess - saxophone
- Eyal Talmudi - saxophone
- Uri Kinrot - guitar, saxophone
- Past live performers
- Balkan Beat Box (2005) - released on JDub Records
- Nu Med (2007) - released on Crammed Discs, JDub Records
- Nu Made (Remixes) (2008) - released on Crammed Discs
- Blue Eyed Black Boy (2010) - released on Nat Geo Music and Crammed Discs
- Give (2012) - released on Nat Geo Music and Crammed Discs
- Host, Vivian. "The New World: Raw Earth". Retrieved 2008-04-13.
- Porter, Christopher. "Zion Lions: Balkan Beat Box". Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- Nathan-Kazis, Josh. "The Balkan Beat Box". Retrieved 2008-04-15.[dead link]
- Cartwright, Garth. "Balkan Beat Box". Archived from the original on 15 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
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