Gypsy soul with funky refinement
FOLSOM — The New York Gypsy All-Stars cover the world rhythmically and harmonically. Led with Roma-inspired zeal by classically trained, traditionally raised Macedonian clarinet wonder Ismail Lumanovski, the group never loses its sharp musical focus, astounding chops and true spirit of their Gypsy namesakes.
Harris Center/Three Stages present this unique group Oct. 30 & 31.
“Gypss music continues to move in exciting new directions with this multi-national band … full of complex rhythms and impressive group improvisations” says J&R Music World.
“We are taking what the Gypsies did,” comments Lumanovski, “traveling from India to the Balkans and on to Western Europe and putting together the best musical ideas from every nation along the way. We’re open to the world, and we just take everything we like and make it one.”
The All-Stars come by this impulse and skill naturally. It’s a rare thing, even in music-rich Southeastern Europe and in musician-packed New York, to find conservatory-caliber musicians who grew up playing weddings or rocking ačoček or a çiftetelli with local masters. Yet that’s exactly what the All-Stars are: Alongside degrees from places like Juilliard and Berklee, they grew up jamming with local roots musicians or defiantly attacking traditional zithers with their bare fingers, getting into Latin jazz or bringing the funk.
Composed of innovative artists such as ?smail Lumanovski (clarinet), Panagiotis Andreou (bass guitar), Tamer Pinarbaşi (zither), Engin Günaydiın (drums) and Jason Lindner (keyboard), the band has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Central Park Summer Stage, Central Park de la Corte Theater and the Berklee College of Music, and at festivals including the Winter Jazz Fest in New York, the Chicago World Music Festival and the Madison World Music Festival. They also perform regularly at New York world music venue Drom.
“Although we come from different countries in the Balkans, our cultures are very similar, which makes communication easier and faster,” said bass guitarist Andreou in an interview with Today’s Zaman. “We have been blessed with living in New York — the absolute melting pot of the world. To say that it’s a breeze coexisting in the band coming from our respective counties would be inaccurate, to say the least, but music, and most importantly the consistent exposure to each other’s cultures, has been an eye-opener and a main ingredient of the glue that holds us together.”
The New York Gypsy All-Stars recently released their much awaited CD, “Romantech.”
“We have a piece called ‘EZ Pass,’ because our music can feel like an easy pass to the Balkans,” Lumanovski said, explaining one of the album’s song titles and its ties to the New York area toll pass. “With an EZ Pass, you don’t stop; it’s very fast. You just go. And it just flows.”
New York Gypsy All-Stars will perform at 7:30 p.m. on both Wednesday, Oct. 30, and Thursday, Oct. 31. General admission is $24; students with ID get in for $12. Tickets are available online at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.