Near East ear feast! Balkan music festival takes over Grand Prospect Hall this weekend

Near East ear feast! Balkan music festival takes over Grand Prospect Hall this weekend
Horns of plenty: Zlatne Uste, which runs the annual Golden Festival, has trumpets, trombones, flugelhorns, saxaphones, tuba, and drums.
Valerie Trucchia

They’ll make your Balkan dance dreams come true!

Brooklyn music lovers are invited to shake a leg to the home-brewed sounds of the Balkans at the legendary Grand Prospect Hall on Jan. 18 and 19, where the borough’s Veveritse Brass Band will join more than 60 other rockin’ ensembles at the 35th annual Golden Festival, which celebrates tunes from Southeastern Europe that are heavy on the horns.

“It’s dance music,” said Nick Mauro, who plays trumpet for Veveritse. “The songs are really fun and the crowds are always there to dance.”

The 11-member band features a diverse cast of amateur and professional players, almost all of whom live in Brooklyn, and who share a common love for the sweet sounds of the Near East, said Mauro.

“We just love the music,” said the horn player.

Veveritse will join dozens of other bands at the Park Slope music hall on Saturday for the annual festival, which has grown from a small gathering of local Balkan bands to a massive two-day bonanza that will see thousands of local music lovers hitting the dance floor with traditional folk jigs, or plain-old hipster head bobs, according to Mauro.

“It’s a mix of folks steps, or just free-for-all hipsters in Brooklyn dancing,” he said.

The event will kick off on Friday night with four bands performing in one room of the sprawling 126-year-old event complex. The beginning of the night will be devoted to dance workshops, so that newcomers can get up to snuff on traditional Balkan dance routines, said longtime organizer Michael Ginsburg.

But come Saturday, the entirety of Grand Prospect Hall will be turned over to the Balkan event of the year, with some 65 total bands rocking out across five stages, according to Ginsburg

“It’s absolutely spectacular,” said Ginsburg, a founding member of Zlatne Uste, the band that created Golden Fest. “We’ll have five rooms going at once. It always exceeds my expectations.”

Golden Festival at Grand Prospect Hall [263 Prospect Ave. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 788–0777, www.goldenfest.org]. Jan. 18 at 7 pm. $35 ($30 students). Jan. 19 at 5:30 pm. $55 ($45 students). Tickets for both nights $80 ($65 students, kids free).

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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