Balkan sounds with a difference! The Alice In WonderBand from Serbia celebrates an unusual and convincing genre mix on their debut album “RikaTaka”. The duo is not afraid of new sounds! Acoustic and unusual sounds combine with the music tradition of the Balkans. Folk songs from Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Northern Macedonia, Bulgaria, Moldavia, Greece, Turkey, Kosovo and even Hungary make you curious about the rich musical tradition of the region.
Alice In WonderBand is a long-standing project of musicians and theatre makers Ana Vrbaski and Marko Dinjaski from the city of Novi Sad. The two have been a couple for 24 years, both on stage and in their private lives. The couple’s two children are now grown up, so the two artists can make a fresh start in their middle years. Ana and Marko not only perform on stage, but also give theatre classes for children and young people and offer body music workshops.
Alice In WonderBand’s live performances incorporate elements of body music and body percussion. Their performance is a mixture of dance, movement and music. The musicians take the audience on a journey through the Balkans. At the end of a concert, artists and audience are a singing and clapping community. “We combine music, theatre, dance, movement and acrobatics with the art of body music and use the body as a rhythmic instrument,” the two artists report. “Creating a whole orchestra with just two people is a challenge. It appeals to us because this approach is very direct and we can communicate with the audience in a simple way,” the two musicians answer when asked what drives them artistically. The debut album “RikaTaka” offers Alice In WonderBand the wonderful opportunity to get to know the musical heritage of the Balkans better. “The more we learn about it, the more we realise that the connections between these countries are manifold. This opens the doors to a sense of cosmopolitanism for us,” the musicians are pleased to say. What gives them particular pleasure: “It is interesting that the audience reacts similarly, from the youngest to the oldest. People enjoy the rhythm and the melodies and actively participate in the concerts. Balkan music is a treasure: we have rearranged the songs and enjoy every concert,” they enthuse.
One of the highlights of “RikaTaka” is the rousing piece “Ergen Dedo”, which is based on a Bulgarian folk song and tells of the adventures of a grandfather who goes to the village dance and shakes a leg with the young girls there. The idiosyncratic “Mene Majka Jednu Ima” is based on a Bosnian folk song and is about the melodramatic story of a girl who wants to marry a poor wretch. But her own mother would rather marry her off to a rich judge! The yearning love song “Jovano, Jovanke” originally comes from Macedonia: it is about the pain of unrequited love. And the ballad-like “Ruse Kose” with its roots in Serbia, Turkey and Greece connects all three Balkan cultures in a musically convincing way!