The Schmooze

Balkan Beat Box’s Party Politics

Imagine a klezmer band where the vocalists rap in English, chant in Arabic, and sing in Spanish and Serbian. That band is Balkan Beat Box, a group led by two Israelis — Ori Kaplan (saxophone) and Tamir Muskat (drums) — who merge traditional Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Eastern European sounds with hip-hop and electronica.

With the release of their third album, Balkan Beat Box continues to ride the wave of a Gypsy Revival that includes groups such as Slavic Soul Party, Raya Brass Band, and Gogol Bordello, with whom Kaplan has played. In August, Balkan Beat Box performed at Lollapalooza, one of the country’s premier music festivals. They are now wrapping up their North American tour dates with gigs on September 4 in Seattle and September 5 in Toronto, before heading to Israel for a show at the end of the month.

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Balkan Beat Box’s Party Politics

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