Thursday, December 11, 2014

30th Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, January 16 & 17, 2015



On January 16 and 17, 2015,  Brooklyn's Grand Prospect Hall will again come alive with the music, song, and dance of the Balkans (and well beyond) as some 60 bands and 3000 revelers gather for the 30th annual Zlatne Uste Golden Festival.

Part showcase, part benefit, part Balkan Mardi Gras, the Golden Festival features an enormous range of performers freely sharing their music. In what the Village Voice called a "grassroots folk rave," seasoned veterans and rising stars in their own communities (think Macedonian, Bulgarian, Albanian), join top musicians from across the country, devoted amateurs, and Balkan-inflected jazz masters. Anchored in Balkan traditions (roughly Romania to Greece, Croatia to Turkey), and venturing generously beyond, the programming spans the ancient and the experimental, the oud and the synthesizer.

At Golden Festival you'll hear Souren Baronian, the octogenarian Armenian-American clarinetist, a veteran of New York's jazz and bygone Greektown scenes, or teen band Chochek Nation. Or any of another surprising 60 or so groups, including Moldovan-born Montreal-based accordion virtuoso Sergiu Popa, vocal adepts like Black Sea Hotel, Supruli, and the Yale Slavic Chorus, generous drafts from Brooklyn's deep well of Balkan brass (Slavic Soul Party, Raya, Veveritse), and of course Zlatne Uste, New York's pioneering Balkan brass band and festival sponsors. A complete schedule will be posted on the website

 Golden Festival has been called a once-in-a-lifetime experience that happens every year. Crowds join hands and dance, shop for folk arts, nibble feta, sausage, and desserts, and share midwinter cheer. It's a pop-up community where young and old, the folklorist, music professional and party animal come together in two nights of joy.

NOTE: A complete press release with location, ticketing information, times, and so on is available in digital form both attached and in the press section of the festival website.  There are also high resolution photos at   An evolving performance schedule will be posted on the website starting in early January.  For further information write or call Emerson Hawley at or 917-415-6210.

All the musicians and committee members volunteer their time.  From the beginning the festival has been a benefit (when we come out ahead) for Balkan charities and educational institutions.  Over the last several years we have been able to donate around $16,000 to groups such as Mercy Corps, IRC, Heifer, East European Folklife Center, Voice of Roma, and Search for Common Ground.

Should you want to interview someone about the festival, I suggest the leader of Zlatne Uste, Michael Ginsburg, who can be contacted at:

Emerson Hawley
tuba, Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band

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