What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.

Some time ago, I fell in love with the sound of Romanian Cobza – the countryside lute par excellence – a musical instrument that was, for centuries, the core of a folk traditional music ensemble in this part of the world. Later on, I discovered the ”family” of the Turkish Saz – the Tambura, the Divan, the Cura…

For years, I did mix the two with electronics, in various improvised psychedelic musical performances. The current ”incarnation” – Balkan Taksim – is a mix between the previous experiences and a stronger approach towards form, melody and rhythm.

Provide us with some info about your latest release…

Anadolka” is inspired by a Bosnian standard tune with the same name (the song is actually the same with the Turkish ”Üskudar”, except for the lyrics). We used some of the Bosnian lyrics and invent a new music – that is how our ”Anadolka” was born.

Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?

If I should name some artists, then it is rather difficult to give two, three names. It is actually a mix of countryside musicians I listened to, krautrock groups from the 70s, Francis Bacon’s paintings after Van Gogh, Yugoslav rock, Rainbow Gatherings, the films of Paradjanov, early electronic music, some trips to the Balkans and the Carpathian mountains, Anatolia, Romanian ”new-music” composers (from 60s, 70s), experimental art of various types – to name just a few.

In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?

We like to think of it as a new sound – our take on ”Balkan” music, so to speak. We might just guess that the difference is contained in the very personal touch we give to the songs we play – some of them being actually old tunes, still played traditionally in their places of origin.

Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…

For the moment, here we go:

Albums: Old Music from North Moldavia by Datina Ensemble, Cei ce ne-au dat nume by Romanian rock band Phoenix, 666 by Aphodite’s Child.

Movies: The color of Pomegranates (Paradjanov), North to North West (Hitchcock), Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky)

Books: The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years (Aitmatov), Moromeții (Marin Preda), The Bridge on The Drina (Ivo Andrić).

Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?

Most of the time I preferred performing live, due to the freedom that comes with it. Also, having direct contact with the public meant a lot. Now, I do reconsider the studio work in a positive key, though – especially when preparing new audio material for concerts.

Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?

Not quite funny, but for years, after I first brought the Turkish Saz to the Romanian music scene, everybody was calling it a Sitar (not knowing what it was). Things have changed since, glad to mention that.

Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?

Somehow I tend to think of our newest tune (that we are still working on) as being the most unique. Maybe a reason is that it features countryside bagpipes mixed with various audio samples, brutal synth sounds, traditional Romanian balladesque female singing and a strange text about a mason who is inmuring his wife, as a sacrifice, in the Monastery that he has to build.

Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?

Yes. That would be playing a series of concerts and recording tracks for a future album release. That is on the musical side…

Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…

What instrument would I like to play?

Well, that would be the three-voiced Big Serbian bagpipes from Vojvodina (Velike vojvođanske gajde).

Photo credits: Iustin Surpanelu

Curated by: Christos Doukakis

Recommended listening:

Connect with Balkan Taksim:

Balkan Taksim on YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/balkantaksim

Balkan Taksim on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/BalkanTaksim

Balkan Taksim on Twitter : https://twitter.com/balkantaksim

Balkan Taksim on Soundcloud : https://soundcloud.com/balkantaksim

Balkan Taksim on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/balkan_taksim

Balkan Taksim on Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/artist/70oqqBR2WFsDZP6JhLvYpm

Balkan Taksim on Apple Music : https://itunes.apple.com/artist/balkan-taksim/1306831209

Balkan Taksim on Deezer : https://www.deezer.com//artist/13500983

Balkan Taksim on Bandcamp : https://balkantaksim.bandcamp.com