A Chicago Klezmer band with a Balkan Twist

selected photos by jenmarekphotography@ymail.com

Balkano (rhymes with Volcano) melds the soul of traditional Klezmer, the energy of Bulgarian wedding music and the melodies of Turkish Roma music with American rock and jazz. The result is an exciting original blend of the Old World and the New that is uniquely their own. The band's heroes include Naftule Brandwein, The Klezmatics, Balkan Beat Box, Selim Sessler, Yuri Yunakov, and John Zorn. The group's goal is to reach the level of artistry these great musicians have achieved. Since its inception in 2005, Balkano has performed through Chicagoland and the Midwest. Events and venues include the Chicago World Music Festival (2010, 2012), the Taste of Chicago Festival (2008), The Berman Center for the Performing arts (metro Detroit), Old Town School of Folk Music, Martyrs, the Bottom Lounge, Reggies Rock Club, Temple Beth Emmeth (Ann Arbor, MI) and many more.

Buy the CD!

"The members of this local sextet (its name rhymes with "volcano") bring great joy and romance to their frenetic performances of Balkan dance music" - Monica Kendrick, Chicago Reader, Jan 2010

"Pardo and his ensemble stayed miles away from nostalgia, giving old songs a freshly urgent delivery. Any musicians who have the guts to play "My Yiddishe Momme" at this late date better have something new to say about it, and Balkano certainly did. - Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune, Sep 2012

"Reedist Bryan Pardo leads this Chicago band in its investigation of klezmer music,as it intersects with Bulgarian and Turkish repertory. The mix is delivered in a lean, contemporary fashion, minus the schmaltz." - Chicago Tribune, Sep 2012