Brooklyn Meets the Balkans at the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival

Friday, January 18, 2013

Brooklyn is getting a taste of the Balkans this weekend.

The Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, New York’s largest Balkan music event, is celebrating its 28th year with two days of regional music, food, drink and arts starting Friday evening. 

Over 60 Klezmer, Romany, and Sephardic groups will perform on four stages Saturday night, going into the early morning hours of Sunday. Organizers expect some 2,500 attendees at Brooklyn's Grand Prospect Hall. 

Dancing is encouraged; and dance workshops will also be held for those with no prior Balkan folk dancing experience.

Michael Ginsburg, director of the Zlatne Uste Brass Band and the founder of the festival, is the Brooklyn-born son of folk dancers. He got into folk dancing as a teen, and his love of the art led him to start the festival in 1985. He says the festival attracts a diverse crowd of dancers and novices, young and old.

"It's a really a great place to be and even if you've never heard this music before a lot of it is really easy to listen to, easy to understand and easy to latch on to."

Entrance to the festival Friday evening is $35, and Saturday evening it's $55. Ginsburg says all the musicians donate their time, and any profits are donated to organizations working for peace in the Balkans.

Listen below as the band Niska Banja performs some Balkan folk music:


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Comments [2]

Matthew Smith

Just a few corrections, if I may:

While the Golden Festival had over 60 bands Saturday night, they were not exclusively Klezmer, Romany, and Sephardic, the way the article makes it sound. Some of the groups perform Klezmer, Romany, and Sephardic music, but these three cultures and styles do not account for even most of the music played. (Romany is a language and an ethnicity, Sephardic describes Jews of a heritage distinct from the Ashkenazi, and Klezmer is a style of music usually associated with Ashkenazi Jews.)

The song in the clip is not from a band named "Niska Banja". The band performing the song is Zlatne Uste, and the name of the song is "Niska Banja".

Jan. 21 2013 04:14 PM
Yuri Barron from Slovenia

Always nice to see Balkan culture getting some positive press in the US. On the flip side, Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia, which is the northernmost 'Balkan country') recently got it's own Brooklyn-themed bar, which you can read about here:

Jan. 20 2013 10:38 AM

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