Fiery Balkan brass, throbbing funk grooves, Roma (Gypsy) accordion wizardry, and virtuoso jazz chops make Slavic Soul Party! NYC’s official #1 brass band for BalkanSoul GypsyFunk. SSP! has created an acoustic mash-up of Balkan and Gypsy sounds with North American music, weaving the gospel, techno, funk, dub, jazz, and Latin influences of New York’s neighborhoods seamlessly into a Balkan brass setting. SSP!’s music has won the ear of fans and musicians on both sides of the Atlantic, and their tunes have been covered by Serbian brass stars Boban Markovic Orkestar, New Orleans funk sensations Galactic, and the inimitable street-band What Cheer? Brigade. The band’s Tuesday night residency in Brooklyn has become a destination for music fans from around the world, and is famous for “delivering a great time” (The New York Times). The band has achieved international recognition the old-fashioned way: with relentless performing (about 100 performances per year), frequent recording (6 albums), and dedication to learning and cultural exchange (5 trips to the Balkans for studies with Romani musicians).
SSP is dedicated to a vision of brass bands as fundamentally social agents, meant to enrich peoples’ lives with the transcendent power of acoustic music and dance. The band is equally at home in concert halls and school yards, prisons and pasha’s palaces, and has played them all in years of touring. The band has pioneered the Musical Connections program with Carnegie Hall (sending musicians into prisons, nursing homes, pediatric wards, and homeless shelters), and has led educational programs for thousands of New York City children through the auspices of Carnegie Hall, the 92nd St. Y, and New York public and private schools. SSP has created a large and diverse community in New York; their residency at Barbès has given the group a deep musical connection and become a hub for New Yorkers and brass band enthusiasts from around the world.
SSP has been fortunate to receive support from institutions like Meet the Composer (twice awarded the Cary New Music Fund grant) and the Trust for Mutual Understanding (three grants for exchange in Eastern Europe), in addition to collaborations with Carnegie Hall for Musical Connections and Neighborhood Concerts. The group has performed at jazz festivals (Montreal, San Francisco), world music festivals (NY Gypsy Festival, LEAF), folk festivals (Clearwater, Golden Festival), classical recital halls (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center), rock clubs (Irving Plaza, Knitting Factory), prisons (Rikers Island, Sing Sing), Russian baths, skate punk tours, Serbian school yards, and numerous weddings and celebrations.