TABLE OF CONTENTS
Welcome to the Balkan World Music Guide – we are so excited to have you! In this booklet you’ll find the best world music artists and the coolest festivals and clubs of South East Europe – a region that is full of beauty and thrilling creative ideas.
We know that there is no definite guide to Balkan world music, so on these pages we will pursue the humble quest of showcasing some amazing talent: musicians, festivals and clubs we’ve worked with in the MOST Music project.
“Most” means bridge in many Slavic languages – this is why we named our support project MOST, the Bridge for Balkan Music. The mission of this initiative cofunded by Creative Europe is to support the world music scene of the Balkan region, and to boost the the local world music scene with funding and opportunities.
The music industry works through personal and professional connections – the goal of MOST is to channel the untapped potential of South East Europe into the larger European market, and to foster mutually beneficial connection between the parties. To do this, we decided to focus on the markets in a larger region including Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Albania and North Macedonia.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
We saw it firsthand that once given the opportunity and resources, participants were able to show their uniqueness, proving once and for all that Balkan musicians and music industry professionals cannot and should not be ignored.
Selected by an expert jury board from more than 600 applicants, the MOST project had over 30 artists, 70 managers and 60 festivals & clubs participating. They took part in international training and mentoring by the best in the industry, they met for networking and traineeships, and they rocked the most prestigious stages in the genre, from WOMEX to EXIT and Budapest Ritmo.
The idea behind the Balkan World Music Guide was not just to unite South East European MOST participants – it was to put Balkan clubs, festivals and shows on everyone’s bucket list. By browsing this guide you will realise just how diverse and exciting the contemporary Balkan world music scene is.
MOST Music is a consortium of 10 partner organisations, led by Hangvető – to learn more about the outstanding world music institutions that support the project’s efforts, turn to the Partners chapter.
For more information about MOST Music, visit our website, or follow us on social media! mostmusic.eu
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: BALKAN WORLD MUSIC
The Balkan Music Export project started out as just one of the pillars of MOST Music, but it quickly became more meaningful than that. Often lacking local export offices, South East European artists have long been looking for opportunities to get on international stages in the region and beyond. The Balkan Music Export project finally offered support and network these artists needed to reach tastemakers and break the glass ceiling of world music.
This is the core mission of the Balkan Music Export pillar: to grant opportunity to those who are worthy. We support local artists who are ready for international attention, we offer training, mentoring, portfolio building, networking and performance opportunities for selected applicants.
Meet the 32 artists, chosen from close to 500 applicants by the expert jury of MOST Music! Mentored by the best in the business and booked by festivals such as WOMEX, EXIT or Budapest Ritmo, they really are a testament to what contemporary Balkan artists have to offer.
Between the songbooks of the Balkans, the Middle East, America and India, vocalist, pianist and composer Agona Shporta’s music blends into a rich and diverse mixture of sounds and cultures. Each of the pieces are journeys of their own, sifted through her original voice and interpretation into a harmonious and enchanting unity.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
ALICE IN WONDERBAND
SERBIA WORLD MUSIC, BODY MUSIC
Alice in WonderBand is a duo combining music from the Balkans with body music and body percussion. Their performance is vibrating and rhythmic, powerful and energetic, crossroads of music, dance, and stage movement – a deep, primordial experience that takes the audience on a journey through Balkans as well as to the depths of the being.
ALMIR MESKOVIC & DANIEL LAZAR DUO
BOSNIA AND SERBIA CONTEMPORARY FOLK
Almir Meskovic and Daniel Lazar both have over 20 years of experience in classical and folk music. Both born in the Balkans, it was only in Norway that the two artists met while studying at the Norwegian Academy of Music. With their tendency to use Scandinavian elements, this duo offers something truly unique. They blend a wide range of styles and genres, from Balkan beats all the way to Mozart, from pure improvisation to traditional Romani music.
NORTH MACEDONIA WORLD MUSIC, ETHNO
Baklava is a world music band from Skopje with 4 albums recorded and published up to date, and the 5th album coming by the end of 2022. They sing in various languages, play, travel, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where no sweet pastry has gone before.
Balkalar is an ethno band from Zagreb, Croatia with a simple philosophy: freedom, love, rakija, dance, song, and celebration of life. Playing a mix of music from all over the Balkans in their own unique and euphoric arrangements, they are sure to get you on your feet and dancing to different Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian rhythms. The sound consists of vocals, double bass, violin, guitar and djembe.
WORD MUSIC, ETHNOJAZZ
Besart Zhuja plays music which is interdependent with the Western Balkans and other nations. He believes music is a very natural form of communication and exchange between nations, and the most peaceful instrument to create bridges between them. Combining different rhythms, instruments and experimenting with new harmonies provides new branches of genres and adds value to the current music styles on the market.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
CORINA SÎRGHI ȘI TARAFUL JEAN AMERICANU
ROMANIA TRADITIONAL, LĂUTAR
Backed by her acoustic Romanian-Romani taraf, Corina Sîrghi evokes the smoky parlours of 1930s Bucharest and the raucous mahala block parties of the 1990s. Formed in Bucharest in 2017, the group sprang out of a love for the great lăutar singers of Romania’s interbellum years and the “golden era” of the 1960s. Their original sound will tame even the most troubled of hearts.
BULGARIA, FINLAND WORLD FUSION
DANTCHEV:DOMAIN is a quintet of experimental world fusion, where strong cinematic melodies, tight rhythmic webs meet universal stories. Bulgarian musical heritage and elements of blues and other afro-american roots music are combined in a unique and original way in Finnish–Bulgarian Anna Dantchev’s compositions. Known also as a ”Bulgarian Voice from Finland” she brings out the Bulgarian diaspora in Finland to the wider world music scene.
DINA E MEL
CROATIA ARBRESH, ETHNOGRAPHY
Dina e Mel is a duo who researches and performs minority music, creating new songs out of the small fragments that survived the long and turbulent history of the Balkans. Their “Nightingale” project builds around the almost completely forgotten music of the Arbresh people, who migrated from Skadar Lake (Montenegro) next to the Venetian city walls of Zadar, Croatia. The result is an album that erases the current borders of the Eastern Balkans and melts together elements of music in unexpected ways.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA SEVDALINKA, FUSION
Sevdah, this heartbreakingly beautiful and complex genre specific to the Balkans is reborn in jazz, pop, and contemporary classical music in Divanhana’s tasteful performances. Divanhana’s mission is to cherish and represent urban traditional music not only from Bosnia and Herzegovina, but from the whole Balkan region with a particular attention to the Sevdalinka genre.
CROATIA WORLD MUSIC, SEVDAH
Dunjaluk gets rid of the layers of sevdah that have become the rules of the genre in the 20th century. To the melancholy of sevdah, Dunjaluk adds the intensity of rock and the intricacy of jazz. It’s sevdah for those who think they don’t like sevdah.
BULGARIA AMBIENT, PSYCHEDELIC
E.U.E.R.P.I. is the guitar drone ambient project of Mirian Kolev, who lives and composes in the Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria. His music is minimalistic, meditative and discreetly psychedelic. Improvisation is a fundamental part of each of his live performances, turning them into an expressive soundtrack of space-time. He often takes part in multidisciplinary projects and collaborates with different artists – musicians, visual artists and performers.
BULGARIA NEOFOLK, FUSION
The Flying Nomads duo creates fusion music, combining traditional ethno and modern styles. They believe that if a song is made by the soul, it is possible to reach the soul of the listener. This belief resonates throughout their work. The musicians, Kristina Angelova and Daniel Angelov think of their Bulgarian roots as an opportunity to tap into a unique musical mix between the global East and West. Their entirely acoustic sound is created with the Bulgarian tambura, the Iranian daf, but also the guitar, ukulele, bendir and more.
KOSOVO* UPBEAT, ROMA, FUSION
Gipsy Groove fuses ethnicities, cultures, they radiate energy and charisma: hard to forget, impossible not to dance to. Gipsy Groove is the guarantee for an impressive show where nobody is left behind. The band members are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds – they bring to their performances their own cultural diversity, as well as their interest in human rights and peace.
DARK FOLK, INTERCULTURAL FUSION
Showcasing the versatility of the Balkans, GRAIU plays a dark folk fusion of Vlach and African-American traditional music. Their name is the Romanian word for vernacular language and music – the most local dialect that one is born and grows up with. GRAIU is about music that was not created for entertainment purposes. It is a remembrance of a cultural heritage otherwise disappearing along with the traditional communities that created it: ritual and dance songs, outlaw ballads, epic songs of love and sorrow, tunes from prisons, churches and work fields.
This North Macedonian world and neofolk band from Skopje draws a parallel between Eastern and Western culture, with an accent of traditional Macedonian music. In Kalata there are no borders, so musicians rely on their feelings and inspiration – they are free to play with all of the beautiful music in their imagination, as long as they have a Macedonian feel and sound to fit it in.
NU FOLK, ETHNOPOP, BALKAN FUNK
Koszika is rooted in Hungarian, Romanian, and Gypsy music. Koszika and Csabaki performing as a duo or as an extended 7-piece band will tell the musical tales of their multicultural homeland. Their songs take us on joyrides, wild and untamed – or on a deep rooted inner journey. They incorporate old folk melodies and rhymes in their modern, electrically eclectic sound, showing how these tunes would sound and feel like in the 21st century.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA FUTURISTIC MELANCHOLY, LOOPED CELLO
Cellist extraordinaire Lakiko is an exciting and experimental artist going against all Balkan stereotypes, while still being unapologetically local and authentic. Lakiko – aka cellist, singer and composer Lana Kostić –was created in 2016 in an EEG-machine, where Kostic experimented with the idea of free will. Using her brain waves as the instruction on what to play next, Lakiko created music that originates from beyond the depths of consciousness – a part of our mind buried deep inside.
SERBIA NOISE, TRADITIONAL, EXPERIMENTAL
Manipulated field recordings, spoken word and sound propaganda, ethno music and other forms of cassette tape art and rhythmic loops, with performances by master folk vocalists such as Svetlana Spajić, Tijana Stanković or Mirjana Raić – this is Lenhart Tapes. He cultivates deep respect towards the singer as the creator and the song as the bearer of the old and traditional culture.
ALBANIA VOCAL ETHNOJAZZ
Albanian folk music with a touch of jazz harmonies and a little bit of fragrance and elegance from Paris –this is the essence of Linda Rukaj, vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist performer. Mostly alone on stage, she sings and plays no less than seven different instruments – which is a symbolic number for her, like the seven-note scale, the seven colours of the rainbow, jazz chords played with a seventh, the seven chakras of our body and the seven seas.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA MEDITERRANEAN, FUSION, DOWNTEMPO
A thrilling mix of flamenco and Sufi music, NAiRUZ doesn’t simply give a performance – when it comes to them, expect a full-on show experience. The band is known for their tasteful and elegant representation and their masterful mix of musical worlds: playing the flamenco guitar to resemble the sound of the oud, combined with the Turkish ney, singing recitation of Sufi poetry, and of course the majestic dance of flamenco.
Built from the complicated history of ex-Yugoslavia, Naked plays happy music about sadness – music with unwavering honesty, with a nakedness of both heart and soul. They are worldwide recognised for their powerful and highly skilled music. A gypsy violin, saxophone and clarinet converse with the melody accompanied by a tight bass and drum section. Together they create a sense of diverse global-urbanism, a natural crossover of swing, funk, bebop, psychedelic dub, free jazz and classical music, with specks of the Mediterranean, Africa, and Eastern European traditions.
Oratnitza’s music is a blend of Bulgarian folk melodies, orthodox-style chanting, world music elements, hip-hop, dubstep, trap, D’n’B, and irregular rhythms. Oratnitza interprets Bulgarian traditional songs in a way our generations can truly embrace. “Ethnobass” performed in extraordinary shows – in front of Space Invaders, for example – is the essense of the Bulgarian Oratnitza.
NORTH MACEDONIA DARK FOLK, MEDITATIVE
Acoustic dark folk from North Macedonia – Perija is the Turkish root word for ”fairy”: it is this mythological connection with the darkness of the Balkan forests that the band members want to convey in their music. They merge their local traditional music with Middle-Eastern maqam, North-African styles, blues, post-punk, atonal and jazz. Their songs are in different languages of the Balkans in the name of equality. Their songs are inspired by current social issues, poetry, newspaper clippings, or even old, and often morbid village songs.
CROATIA TRADITIONAL VOCAL MUSIC, ROOTS
PJEV is a female a cappella quintet from Zagreb. They cherish traditional vocal music from Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. PJEV gathers singers of different nationalities with the intention to overcome artificial boundaries. Fascinated with peasant traditional singing, they try to convey the spirit of this powerful and rich culture.
SERBIA A CAPPELLA, DARK FOLK
The Serbian Rodjenice all-female a cappella trio takes a feminine dive into the freedom of identity in modern times – a deeply coded message, ancient symbolism dressed in modern language, and their energetic performance makes them truly outstanding. Rodjenice named themselves after the goddess triplets of Serbian and Slavic mythology, supernatural female creatures who determine the fate of a newborn child. Their hypnotic performance will enchant even those who are usually not fans of the a cappella genre.
RONA NISHLIU QUARTET
ALBANIA, KOSOVO*, NORTH MACEDONIA ETHNOJAZZ
The first two multimedia projects of the Rona Nishliu, “Me motive tonat” and “Mindil”, both represent a long cycle of research and transformation that she applied to the classics of Albanian music – ancient songs dating back to the late 14th century. What started as her personal search has now matured into a show that transcends traditional content. This fusion of jazz and ethno offers a unique and refreshing blend of not only Albanian music but of also various Balkan traditions, such as Roma, Greek, and more.
SACRED MUSIC, SEPHARDIC, FUSION
Shira Utfila means song and prayer in Hebrew. The band carries forward the heritage of the Sephardim, Hispanic Jews, by performing songs in their ancient language, Ladino. They are a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional ensemble that draws its inspiration from the diversity and richness of Judeo-Spanish, Ottoman-Turkish, Arabic and Balkan musical traditions. Shira Utfila has released multiple albums, involving Sephardic music from the Balkans, the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East. The band’s distinct sound brings a modern twist to a historical legacy.
ALBANIA VOCAL ELECTRONICA
Shkodra Elektronike is the music project of two Albanian immigrants who grew up in Italy: songwriter-producer Kolë Laca and singer-songwriter Beatriçe Gjergji. Their age and life story are different, yet they are connected by their drive: finding a way home through music. They define themselves as “post immigrant pop”. Their first EP features four traditional Albanian songs, rearranged in a contemporary key and performed live in Tirana’s suburbs.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA SEPHARDIC, TRADITIONAL
Named after Sephardic singer Vladimir Mićković, this five-member ensemble takes the audience on a journey through music, starting in Andalusia and arriving in the Balkans. They perform songs in Ladino, the language of Sephardim, the Hispanic Jewish. The songs in their repertoire were sung by many generations in the past, from Dubrovnik, through Sarajevo, to Thessaloniki. Traditional Sephardic songs received numerous influences on the way from Andalusia after the Reconquista, but also left their traces on the traditional melodies and songs of famous authors.
NORTH MACEDONIA WORLD MUSIC
Zarina plays both Macedonian and global traditional music. She’s collaborated with artists around the world and worked on film projects as well. She took part in the 2020 ”Echo” mountain festival with her own video project and song, shot the video on the peak Ljuboten, in support of declaring Shar Mountain a national park. Her debut album, EHO features 11 traditional songs from different regions, featuring 4 different languages and many collaborations.
FESTIVALS & CLUBS IN THE BALKANS
COME ON A ROAD TRIP WITH US
Put Balkan festivals & clubs on your personal map! The events and venues in this chapter share two things in common: they are all located in one of our nine target countries, and they took part in the MOST Music Festival & Club Exchange programme!
In this pillar of the MOST project we looked for and supported festivals and clubs from all around Europe with high quality world music programming. In the project, tandems of Western or Central European and South East European events were overseen by expert mentors. The pairs paid mutual visits to each other’s events, and then proceeded to exchange international artists, resulting in dozens of amazing shows all around the continent.
Don’t miss out on these awesome parties and clubs, plan your Balkan road trip around them and get lost in the amazing atmosphere and music!
Where: Velingrad, BULGARIA
When: Second part of August Web: www.artefeastival.bg
ARTE Feastival is the first international family festival, located in the spa capital of Bulgaria, Velingrad. This unique three-day family celebration offers a first class world music program. Visitors can also find comedy, stand-up shows, live star chef demonstrations and a stage just for kids and teenagers. ARTE has amazing options for the entire family: the fun goes on for three days, 15 hours a day.
Where: Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA
Atelier Cafe is located in the heart of Cluj-Napoca, in the middle of the center (old city), where a lot of tourists and students pass by. Atelier Cafe has its own strong, returning, loyal and curious audience. This allows the club to be more experimental, to bring more eclectical, lesser known bands and acts, because there is always interest for it. The café can seat 120 people, it’s perfect for a cozy jazz concert, but also great for live concerts, parties or DJ sets with 200-300 visitors. Be it soul, funk, jazz or world music, Atelier is the best place to visit.
BALKAN:MOST FESTIVAL IN COOPERATION WITH WOMEX
Where: Veszprém, HUNGARY When: 7–9 September, 2022 Web: https://balkanmost.hu
BALKAN:MOST festival is the closing celebration of the MOST Music project, and a hub for the best of contemporary Balkan world music. Complete with a showcase programme and music industry conference, BALKAN:MOST will be a meeting point between South East and Western Europe – both in terms of music and music professionals.photo: ©Joey Thompson
The jury-selected showcase and lineup brings the best of Balkan music today, and proves just how diverse the region’s world music is right now – beyond brass bands and odd rhythm, Balkan music can also be deeply calm and soft, lyrical and powerful, smart, critical and energetic. Complete with family-friendly and interactive events, the festival takes place in the picturesque castle district of Veszprém, centre of the Veszprém–Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture year.photo: ©Lili Chripkó
Where: Doiran, NORTH MACEDONIA
When: July Web: www.dfestival.mk/en
D Festival is a unique event on the Doiran Lake’s shore. Best described as a special three-day multimedia experience, contributed by the thousands of fans who visit every year, and the best artists from the local, regional and world scene. Year by year the festival sets up its tents on the Doiran coast and offers its visitors a creative program, filled with artistic, sport and social activities.
DŽUMBUS Festival started when young people of the city of Tuzla wanted to organise something new, something different – basically something solely to their liking. Since the first edition seven years ago, various events took place from sports to exhibitions or even video art, but the main component has always been music. From electronic to hip-hop, local independent artists of all genres have been and continue to be the heart of at DŽUMBUS.
ETNOFEST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Where: Lake Palić, SERBIA
When: Late June Web: www.etnofest.org
ETNOFEST is one of the rare world music festivals on the crossroads of Central and South-East Europe with the Balkans. Serving the finest music to its audience for the past two decades, it brings together the local artists with their colleagues from all over the world. The profile of the festival is rather considered as alternative and exploratory – allowing musical fusions and experiments to happen on its stages, but also highly appreciates the roots and tradition as a true value to be nurtured and preserved.
ESTAM WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Where: Botanical Garden, Kragujevac, SERBIA
ESTAM is a two day world music festival that has already presented artists such as Damir Imamovic, Sona Jobarteh, Boris Kovač, Elina Duni, Naked, Oratnitza and more. After the first 2 winter editions, ESTAM became an open air summer festival, in 2022 held in the magical ambience of the local botanical garden.The goal of ESTAM is to promote and connect international musicians, exchange experiences and best practices and to diversify the local music scene.
FESTIVALI ARTISTEVE TE RRUGES – FESTIVAL OF STREET PERFORMERS
Where: Tirana, ALBANIA
When: June Web: www.instagram.com/doart.al
The Festival of Street Performers is one of a kind – the street party brings together young and passionate artists from Albania and abroad. They perform in different artforms, always near a cultural monument, changing location each year. Their goal is to bring attention to local roots through contemporary and boundless street arts. The Festival of Street Performers is open for similar collaborations abroad.
Where: Brezoi, ROMANIA
Șaraimanic welcomes performers from the Balkans, Africa and Latin America in a fairytale-like natural location, Brezoi. Besides its aim to create a microuniverse of fantasy, Șaraimanic is a cultural movement that wants to change the perception of Gypsy music in Romania, shedding light on this important segment of a global culture and world music.
GOULASH DISKO FESTIVAL
Where: Komiža, CROATIA
When: Mid-September Web: www.goulashdisko.com
Goulash Disko Festival is a crowdfunded event, a fun party which has long been representing music genres rooted in the global underground: you will find Gypsy punk, latintronics, Bollywood funk, dub, ethnic, downtempo electronica, and even more here. Both well known artists and young talents play at the festival, which, in turn, helps develop the island, making the tourist season of Komiža longer, and bringing art and culture to the village.
JAZZ FACTORY FESTIVAL
Where: Bitola, NORTH MACEDONIA
When: July Web: www.jff.mk
In the past couple of years, Jazz Factory Festival has grown into a recognizable brand in the city of Bitola. Jazz Factory is an established festival on the Macedonian and European jazz scene, known for nurturing contemporary and progressive music with a focus on domestic and regional artists. It has been recognised by the European Festivals Association with the Remarkable Arts Festival award and is also a part of the regional association of Jazz Festivals, connecting cities from Ravne to Bitola.
KAMIČAK ETNO FESTIVAL
Where: Sinj, CROATIA
When: Late August
Kamičak Etno Festival presents a vast array of cultures and minorities through a contemporary interpretation of traditional music. Thus the festival contributes to cultural exchange by promoting solidarity and multicultural understanding. They stand for representation of different cultures and geographical regions, while also promoting local musical traditions.
KRAJ VARDAROT JAZZ FESTIVAL
Where: Skopje, NORTH MACEDONIA
Kraj Vardarot Jazz (meaning: Jazz by the Vardar River) refers to one of the most beautiful Macedonian folk songs, which takes place by the same river. It is a symbol of the festival’s healthy ambition toward developing an international event for contemporary jazz, world and classical music. The festival presents the most recent, quality productions and performances by renowned authors, alongside young and emerging talent. Kraj Vardarot Jazz is dedicated to discovering, recording, producing, releasing and promoting the best possible jazz and world music within their grasp.photo: ©Kiril Donev
KVAKA 22 CLUB
Where: Belgrade, SERBIA
Opening Hours: 5 PM–1 AM/4AM
Summer Opening Hours: According to program, closed in August Web: www.kvaka22.com
Although not a festival, Kvaka 22, the Serbian club named after Catch 22 is a must-see for music lovers! Kvaka 22 is an NGO by young artists, for young artists. Although it started as a DIY venue, it is now one of the most recognized venues for bands touring the Balkans. Kvaka 22 is also one of the most important galleries in Belgrade. The club is trying to select different genres and artists to satisfy the audience’s curiosity – they experiment by pairing artists from different genres on the same night.
Where: Bitola, NORTH MACEDONIA
When: Late July Web: www. lokumfest.mk
Lokum fest is a unique ethno-fusion and world music festival, a three-day celebration of music that holds a trade fair for creatives. The event’s home is an ancient, 15th century Turkish bazaar in Bitola. „Lokum” comes from an old custom: to have a coffee with your neighbours. This is a beautiful ritual of the Balkans, where people from different cultures, religions or classes can meet.
MALOMFESZTIVÁL WINDMILL FESTIVAL
Where: Vojvodina, SERBIA
Windmill Festival wants to break down all barriers, eliminate inner limits, banish borders between people and between countries. They want to show the unspoilt beauty of Vojvodina, Serbia, where time has stopped (or at least slowed down). The festival’s motto which was turned into a song goes like this: ”We need something old/ We need something alive/ We need some art/ We need something unreal/ we need some old, alive, unreal art/ we need something to get us from ME to US.”
Where: Makarska, CROATIA
Metno international ethno festival is the oldest of its genre in Croatia, first organised 2008. Located in Makarska, a maritime town on the Dalmatian coast, Metno already featured the biggest names in the Croatian and Balkan world music scene, as well as several groups from around the world. Workshops are a regular part of the event, promoting traditional, especially vocal music.
MÉRA WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Where: Méra, ROMANIA
Méra is a partially Hungarian village in Transylvania with a rich folk culture, some lovely old houses and home to several fine musicians. The festival was first organised in 2016 and since then people from over 25 countries have visited. Each year 12-14 bands from all over the world play on the festival’s barn-stage: it’s a meeting place of local folk musicians and international world music artists.
Where: Adrianu Mare, ROMANIA
When: August Web: www.mumush.world
”Mumus” is the Hungarian name of the ”Bogeyman” (like ‘Babau’ or ‘El Coco’). A demon used for inciting fear in children to get them to behave, ‘mumus’ has a different face in every culture. The festival’s name from the belief that everyone struggles with their inner ’mumus’ which represents all the fears they need to let go of. The organisers of this very nature-centric Transylvanian festival believe the power of art is the power of freedom over fear. The festival is completely DIY & brand-free, with an emphasis on ecological and social awareness promoted through different workshops & activities.
OLD TOWN STREET FEST
Where: Mostar, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Last weekend of August
Old Town Street Fest in Mostar is a true city-wide festival with 6-7 stages. Music, dancing and fun take over the picturesque Balkan town. Locals and tourists claim public spaces and historical monuments they party on the bridges, caves and piazzas of Mostar’s Old Town. The festival brings music and shows right to the heart of the city and lasts for two evenings with over 20 performers and DJs.
PORTO ETNO FESTIVAL
Where: Rijeka, CROATIA
When: June Web: www.hkd-rijeka.hr
Porto Etno is an international world music and gastro festival that gathers hundreds of performers (musicians, dancers, chefs) every year, turning Rijeka into the epicentre of world culture for one weekend. The festival grew out of a traditional event, a folklore festival of national minorities, so Porto Etno Festival is the best example of Rijeka’s multicultural collage.
PRISHTINA MUSIC CONFERENCE & RAVE FESTIVAL
Where: Prishtina, KOSOVO*
The quest of Prishtina Music Conference is to instill a healthy music culture with progressive cultural values, support of artistic efforts and expansion. The conference is a result of continuous research, travels and hard work – it took 4 years to plan the first edition, that was a great success with 20 international guest speakers, and 20 local speakers.
SOFIA LIVE FESTIVAL
Where: Sofia, BULGARIA
When: June Web: www.sofialivefest.com
Sofia Live Fest is a “breath of fresh air” – a contemporary open air live music 4-day-long event. Sofia Live Festival is an innovative festival for urban culture and music, following European standards. Currently Sofia Live Festival is the only Bulgarian festival bringing together on one stage both established and young artists of modern urban music.
Where: Varaždin, CROATIA
When: 10 days in late August Web: www.spancirfest.com
Špancirfest offers its visitors a rich concert programme: they bring the best European and world street performers and young musicians to the city. There are also acrobats and other entertainers, theatre performances, a wide range of children’s attractions, the festival’s innovative and creative programme features music, workshops and open-air acts.
TIVAT WORLD FESTIVAL
Where: Tivat, MONTENEGRO When: Second week of September Web: www.facebook.com/tivatworldphoto: Miko Djuricic
Tivat World takes place in the Boka Bay, their home is the sunniest town in Montenegro – Tivat. The lineup is mixed: many artists are local, from Montenegro, or regional, from the Balkans. The international artists come from all around the world. Tivat World is a small world in one place where you can find music events, street art, workshops and public debates in the spirit of the festival.
Where: Mochvara club, Zagreb, CROATIA Web: www.facebook.com/vrelozvuka www.mochvara.hr
Vrelo Zvuka is a project launched in 2017 in the Mochvara Club in Zagreb, Croatia. Their most important goal is to offer a place for promotion to Croatian and Balkan performers but they also organise concerts of artists from all over the world. As a part of the program, they launched the “New Croatian Ethno Scene” concert series and they regularly hold workshops, forums and similar events.
WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL “TODO MUNDO”
Where: Belgrade, SERBIA
When: Second half of September
World Music Festival “Todo Mundo” presents artists from all continents of the world, be it well known performers or hidden gems, artists from the diaspora and those who are still working in Serbia. Beside concerts, Todo Mundo offers workshops and special programs for kids.
WORLD MUSIC FEST ZEMAN
Where: Novi Pazar, SERBIA
When: July Web: www.zemanfest.com
A fresh discovery amongst festivals, World Music Fest Zeman is set in the exciting Serbian cultural hub of Novi Pazar, and is curated by renowned musicians of the region. The festival’s programme is characterised by performances of outstanding guest musicians from all around the world, workshops within the festival that are open to all, as well as the “Voice of Zeman” competition for ethno and Balkan music interpretations, which receives more applications every year.
Where: Plovdiv, BULGARIA
When: Late June or early September Web: www.wrong-fest.com
In its 10 editions so far, Wrong Fest has hosted a variety of musicians in different genres. The festival can generally be labeled as alternative and has recently focused on artists from Europe and former Soviet states. Genres include: avant-garde music, gypsy punk, dub, post punk, punk jazz, alternative hip hop, psychedelic, and more.
photo: Budapest Ritmo at Bartók Spring 2022 © Zsófia Pályi, courtesy of Müpa Budapest
WHAT IS MOST MUSIC
The mission of MOST Music is to boost the music market of the Balkans
connecting and supporting actors of the world music scene. The four-year-long project focuses on four pillars of activity: Balkan Music Export for artists, Management Training for beginner or aspiring world music professionals, Festival & Club Exchange for events and venues, and finally the Urban Project Hub incubator for urban music projects. MOST builds a bridge connecting the Balkans and the global music market, a bridge made up of personal connections, experience and exchange.
This Creative Europe -supported project channels
amazing potential and exciting cultural mix of the South East European region into the larger European circulation. MOST is focused on creating buzz around the contemporary Balkan music brand, actively looking beyond the stereotypes.
Music will conclude with a celebration of
the BALKAN:MOST Festival in cooperation with WOMEX on 7–9 September 2023.
PARTNERS OF MOST MUSIC
Hangvető is the lead partner of the MOST Music project. Hangvető organises world music festivals such as Budapest Ritmo, training programs such as CEU Summer University courses, and develops cultural strategy, with a special expertise in UNESCO Music Cities and European Capitals of Culture. The company won the right to host WOMEX in 2015 and 2020, and in 2022 became the leader of the European Showcase Platform for World Music, UPBEAT.
EXIT Foundation is part of the EXIT Festival team that focuses on social activism. EXIT is one of the greatest music festivals of Central Eastern Europe, deeply rooted in youth social activism. This activism is in the heart of the festival, that EXIT founders never separate from the music spectacle it stands for.
Password Production has a past of more than 20 years in the music and entertainment industry and hosted over 1000 international acts. Password Production has so far organised the largest festivals in North Macedonia (Taksirat, D Festival, Green Beach, PIN Music Conference, Skopje Beer Fest).
Bozar, the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels organises more than 12 cultural events per day and attracts 1 million visitors each year. It is a driving force behind international artistic initiatives designed to strengthen ties in Europe and with other continents.
Piranha Arts is a Berlin-based independent creative company. They travel Europe with the leading showcase, conference and expo event of the world music industry, WOMEX .
Songlines is the definitive magazine for world music – music that has its roots in all parts of the globe. The London-based magazine has been a source of music knowledge since 1999.
ReK – Remont Kapital Culture Center is an interdisciplinary and international team (Albanian, Italian and Belgian) involved in arts, music, architecture, design, urban planning, and performing.
The Bulgarian Music Association is the biggest representative music organization in Bulgaria. Its main aim is to create the appropriate and efficient cultural environment the Bulgarian performing artists deserve.
Timișoara 2023 – European Capital of Culture Association
The Association for the European Capital of Culture (originally planned for 2021, rescheduled for 2023) in Timișoara, Romania is a proud member of the MOST Music consortium.
The European Music Council (EMC) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the development and promotion of all genres and types of music in Europe. As part of the International Music Council (IMC), the EMC strategies and actions are based on the IMC’s 5 music rights.
Pro Progressione (Associated Partner) is a socially engaged cultural hub, an independent organisation working towards the creation and support of an open and diverse culture.
MAP OF PARTNERSBONN GERMANY EUROPEAN MUSIC COUNCIL EV BRUXELLES BELGIUM BOZAR - PALAIS DES BEAUX ARTS LONDON UNITED KINGDOM SONGLINES BERLIN GERMANY PIRANHA ARTS AG
This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.