Balkan Fields, led by accordionist Melinda Fields, brings the rich and diverse musical styles of the Balkans to Somerville, featuring instrumentals from the Bulgarian, Serbian, Albanian and Romanian traditions. Fields has studied Balkan-style accordion with the legendary Bulgarian accordionist Ivan Milev, and includes in today’s program several numbers by Milev, one which was written especially for her. Individually, each member of the group became spell-bound at some point in their lives by the driving irregular rhythms, haunting melodies, unique instrument combinations and exotic scales found in the music from this region. This multi-cultural experience has been life-changing for each musician, resulting in frequent trips to the Balkans, the purchase and mastery of ethnic instruments, novel spice combinations in the kitchen, periodic stabs at Cyrillic, the discovery of rakiya (really strong plum brandy) and inclusion in the wonderful Balkan-American community that sustains Balkan music and dance addicts throughout the US. Sharing this passion with American audiences who may be unfamiliar with the style is always a joy.
Dean Brown – tambura, guitar
Melinda Fields -– accordion
Mel Fitzhugh – electric bass
Henry Goldberg – tupan, darbuka, riq
Ralph Iverson – violin, gadulka