Balkan Trafik at BOZAR

What started with a giant Horo at Grand Place ended as another successful edition of Balkan Trafik. For the eighth time this festival of amazing music, cinema and workshops, organised by 1001 Valises and BOZAR, took place in Brussels.

As well as being the Palais des Beaux Arts, BOZAR provides the venue for some of Brussels’ major cultural events every year. Besides multi day festivals such as Balkan Trafik, smaller initiatives like lectures, performances and classical music have found a home in this multi-disciplinary venue.

But the Balkan Trafik festival is definitely a crowd pleaser. People of all ages (over 7.000 people attend the festival every year) will be able to find something to like at this multi-cultural, multi-lingual event. The emphasis is always on music: major international artists perform alongside ‘living legends’ from the Balkan region. For instance Selda Bagcan: this year this Turkish singing legend performed a set of beautiful Turkish songs and within ten minutes had the audience singing along, even though most of them didn’t speak Turkish. Ten minutes after that the audience was dancing a communal Turkish dance at the front of the stage, those who knew what they were doing, and those who didn’t.

This is the magic of the Balkan Trafik festival, its music is so unifying, nobody can resist the happy sounds of a harmonious folk dance, the rhythmic beat of a Gypsy brass band or a bout of Balkan Jazz. It will have everyone dancing and clapping along in no time.

Nicolas Wieërs, instigator and producer of Balkan Trafik, sums it up very well when he says “Balkan Trafik is much more than a « Balkans vs Europe » festival. The festival enables people of all the communities in Brussels to see how rich their culture is and to share it with others in the famous Centre for Fine Arts of Brussels during three days”.

As the first of its kind in Belgium, Balkan Trafik is one of the musical highlights of the year. We hope that it will be around for very much longer.

Balkan Trafik happened at Bozar on 1, 2, 3, 4 May.

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I'm a Dutch writer/poet/walnut eater living in Brussels. I enjoy theatre. Playing, writing, watching, reviewing it. I have no children, no dogs but I do have a set of dead cactuses.

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