Slavic Soul Party: Heart and Feet Music

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Consisting of some of New York City's finest jazz musicians, Slavic Soul Party is a romp through Balkan folk music. The nine-piece band mixes the "messed-up" rhythms of the Balkans with gypsy music, funk and jazz for a sound that brings young hipsters and older immigrants together in the same room.

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Balkan-soul-gypsy-funk band Slavic Soul Party. Photo: Valerie Trucchia hide caption

itoggle caption Photo: Valerie Trucchia
Slavic Soul Party

Balkan-soul-gypsy-funk band Slavic Soul Party.

Photo: Valerie Trucchia

Trained at the New England Conservatory of Music, percussionist and band leader Matt Moran sees Slavic Soul Party as "heart and feet" music as opposed to the "head" music of his jazz background. When it comes to composing the songs, Moran aims not to add extraneous sounds and rhythms, but to "take away until you're left with the bare essence," then "just put in a little cinnamon and hot pepper until you get just you're looking for," he said.

Teknochek Collision, the band's third album, comes from the emerging New York scene that adapts traditions from multiple musical cultures. Moran calls it "neighborhood music." The band doesn't deny its American heritage in hip-hop, jazz or New Orleans brass bands, but embraces them as part of music they hear in the neighborhood — be it Balkan, Indian or Klezmer.

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