A feminist folk trio we can get behind.
Without doubt one of the most unique bands we've ever come across, Swiss trio Balladin are transforming traditional Balkan folk music into something altogether more fun and experimental. They're currently on a creative break, but are looking forward to returning with an exciting new project in the coming months.
Balladin, Discovr.TV / Photo Credit: Sebastian Claus
Band Members: Alexandra Fulscher, Magdalena Irmann, Sabrina Merz
Genre: Experimental folk
The all-female group started out improvising on traditional Balkan songs, having studied classical music together in Zurich, with a view to update them and make them fit better into their own style of folk music.
"We started playing traditional folk music from the Balkans and across the world, modifying them for our three instruments and voices", they explained in an interview with Discovr.TV. "More and more the tunes were used merely as an inspiration. We take the scale, text, rhythm from a song, improvise on it and add free improvisation parts, creating our own version of the song."
They play flute, accordion and double bass which lends them that classic sound, but they also employ unusual methods like flute beatboxing and ripping newspaper (which is kind of symbolic as much as it is effective) to add an experimental and contemporary flavour.
Now they are trying a new approach to songwriting as they take a break from performing live, and have have gone down an even more original route, taking the time to compose their own music from scratch.
"We are all independently writing and composing music for our new project", they said. "We are focusing more on finding our own style, still with the influence of folk music from different countries. After this break we will come together and bring our different ideas into one."
Following the tour of their album You Know What I Mean?, they embarked on a live project entitled Restless Women: Voices From The Underground; a dedication to women in folk music, which perhaps gives an insight into the type of message Balladin are trying to spread.
Their forthcoming project is entitled Grenzen (Borders), where they focus on limitations of both the physical and psychological. We're anticipating an album of extreme positivity, encouragement and girl power if previous songs like Was i wott are anything to go by.
According to Balladin, "Was i wott" roughly translates to "something like" "Whatever I Want To Do". "This is a woman in this song. She lives a Bohemian life and she wants to behave as she wants", the band explain.
The lyrics in the song are a blend of Swiss German and Greek, inspired by a Greek rebetiko song from the 1930s. There's an interesting juxtaposition between the oppressive era behind this music and the actual words, which are all about female empowerment. We are totally here for it.
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