Flushing Town Hall’s Global Mashup: Morocco Meets the Balkans
Saturday, July 15, 2023
(Flushing, New York)— Flushing Town Hall’s most popular series, the Global Mashups, will continue its summer run with the Morocco Meets The Balkans concert on July 15, featuring Grammy-nominated Moroccan Gnawa master Samir LanGus and southern Balkan dance band, the Mountain Lions. Come early for Gnawa dance lessons and Balkan folk dance lessons from Kristina Vaskys!
The Global Mashup concert series presents a different pairing of artists each month. The show starts with dance lessons, then both ensembles play a set, showcasing traditional music from their distinct countries and cultures, and then the performers jam together for a third collaborative and spontaneous set—to the delight of audiences.
“We are thrilled that the Global Mashups are back for audiences to enjoy once again,” says Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall Executive & Artistic Director. “Our audience members will love hearing the beautiful Moroccan blues from Samir LanGus and the fun dance music from the Mountain Lions.”
Samir LanGus is a Grammy-nominated musician born and raised in Agadir, Morocco. Music has always been a part of his city’s constant variety of street sounds, from merchants to entertainers and calls to prayer. At an early age, LanGus began learning Gnawa, a traditional, spiritual trance music, from the Gnawa masters of Morocco, especially Maalem Hamid El Kasri.
Mountain Lions plays dance music from the southern Balkans, using a team of two clarinets and one drummer to find a raw, direct beauty that electrifies the dance floor. Clarinetists Peter Hess and Lefteris Bournias come from different musical worlds—Hess from jazz and new music, Bournias from traditional Greek music—but they have each dug deep into the zurna music of the Balkans in order to drive each other to unexpected heights. Drummer Matt Moran is best known for leading the brass band Slavic Soul Party!, but here, he is able to manifest traditional folk dance rhythms in a primal interplay with the dancers.
Kristina Vaskys was first introduced to Balkan folk dancing while performing as a musician with the Duquesne University Tamburitzans. She has been dancing for over 20 years, learning from teachers such as Michael Ginsburg and Steve Kotansky. She has also performed with the Bosilek Bulgarian Folkdance Ensemble.