|Saturday 22 August 2015 @ 09:00pm : -
A jazz infused blend of dark Balkan passion and Levantine mystery expressed in genre-defying original compositions.
Since the project was launched, this Bath-based instrumental quintet have played at Marlborough International Jazz Festival, Bath Fringe Festival, Bristol Harbourside Festival, Bude Jazz Festival, Teignmouth Jazz Festival, Ashburton Live and scores of small venues in the south of England. They have also worked on the Arts Council funded rural touring circuit and released their first album "The Balkan Courtesan" in early 2012.
“Who knew John Zorn was composing 13-time Balkan/Arabic tunes? Balkan-jazz quintet Radio Banska, evidently, and there’s a cracking arrangement of Zorn’s ‘Ravayah’ on this album. For all the rootsiness of the tunes, they’re all modern, with guitarist Dave Spencer contributing half and violinist Nina Trott’s briskly Manouche ‘Emo Latino’ a lively little number. Tosh Wijetunge’s bass and Mark Whitlam’s drums cast a convincing reggae spell over Richard Galliano’s ‘Chat Pitre’, moodily rendered as a loose ballad, and guitarist Tony Barby flavours Spencer’s ‘We’re Not in Kansas Now’ with a Moorish flamenco underpinning. It’s all tightly arranged, straddling the roots/jazz divide without overstretching either way, and nicely captures the band’s distinctive sound.” ~ Tony Benjamin, Venue magazine
“I spend hours listening to world music of all kinds, every continent, every genre, and very rarely does a disc make me sit up the way this one did. Right from the first track, La Mezquita (The Mosque, if I am not mistaken) with its obvious nods to Moorish and Iberian influences, placed just right, followed by the fun of the back-flip bass opening of track two, Ravayah - the scene, I think, has been set for something unexpectedly enchanting. What is obvious is that these guys (and girl) are enjoying every minute of what they are doing, and it is so much easier to engage with happy musicians. I guarantee you will play it for your mates. For my money probably the release of the year, an unassuming little gem that deserves listening to - and enjoying !” ~ Kevin Darling-Finan, BBC Southwest
"Radio Banska is a favourite on the festival circuit and it''s easy to see why with their debut CD, ''The Balkan Courtesan''. Not only are they superior musicians — their individual playing can hold you in awe in several different ways — but they have opted for a road less travelled, taking their formidable skills and applying them to something not formulaic . . .and all the more exciting for it. A purposefully undefined blend of world influences - this is simply Radio Banska music. Six of the ten tunes are original compositions by electric guitarist Dave Spencer, brought alive by consummate violinist Nina Trott and the acoustic guitar and charango of Tony Barby. Double bassist Tosh Wijetunge is a marvel, and drummer Mark Whitlam brings his massive jazz chops to bear on the world music material, creating a rhythm section that plays like a section : locked in. Check out ''The Balkan Courtesan'' – you will be richly rewarded! " ~ Charley Dunlap, Bath Listomania
" … the rapport between the musicians is captivating …traditional and original material with jazz, Balkan and latin influences. An intelligent, dynamic, adventurous and exciting musical journey – I can''t wait to hear them again ! " ~ Marick Baxter, director - Bath Folk Festival