Weaving the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language

Celtic Junction Arts Center

Best Cultural Center in North America –IrishCentral, 2018

836 Prior Avenue, St. Paul, MN, 55104

A 501(c)(3) organization

OBI Unveiled: An Evening of New Music and Old Favorites, March 29

Doors open at 7pm, music starts at 7:30pm. Advance tickets $10, $13 at the door. BUY TICKETS NOW

Orkestar Bez Ime (OBI) was formed in 2002, to recreate the sounds of the village with a presentation as festive as the music itself. Focusing on Eastern Europe and music of the Rom (Gypsy) people, OBI's repertoire reaches from Albania to Ukraine, with plenty of stops in-between. Orkestar Bez Ime is a winner of the 2011-2012 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians.

It’s not every day that a grant is dropped in your lap without applying for it. It’s even more unusual when it’s a grant for work you don’t usually do. But that’s exactly what happened in 2012 to local Balkan party band Orkestar Bez Ime (OBI) when the American Composers Forum awarded them the Minnesota Emerging Composers Award—an award granted through peer recommendations to Minnesota musicians who don’t necessarily self-identify as composers. The product of this grant will culminate in a live performance at The Celtic Junction on Saturday, March 29. The show, entitled OBI Unveiled: An Evening of New Music and Old Favorites, will feature six of the band’s new compositions in the folk idioms they have become known for interpreting so well.

Although at least two of OBI’s members are accomplished composers in other spheres—and indeed, Scott Keever’s piece “MacAulay’s Reel” was recorded on the band’s 2010 album, Mahala Drive—this performance represents OBI’s first dedicated collective focus on folk composition as an art form. With a year-and-a-half to work on a new body of material, half of the pieces developed—unsurprisingly—out of Bulgarian dance forms, including a kopanitsa and ruchenitsa written by Keever, plus an Ivo Papazov-style pravo written by self-described “clarinet evangelist” Katrina Mundinger. Perhaps the first-ever Ukrainian devetorka—a Balkan dance in 9/8—co-written for bassist Matt Miller in 2009 by Mundinger and vocalist Natalie Nowytski (a Ukrainian speaker) will also make its debut, along with a tango by Keever and a waltz by violinist Colleen Bertsch. The group will be joined by special guest Eric Ray on accordion.

Hard-core OBI fans will be glad to know that, as part of the MECA grant, the entire evening’s performance will be recorded in preparation for a live digital EP featuring some of OBI’s original work.

The evening will consist of two sets by OBI (no opening band), so latecomers might miss out on some new material. With all the space available at The Celtic Junction—one of the many reasons OBI loves to perform there—the audience can expect plenty of opportunities to dance about the cabin or sit one out.

“OBI Unveiled” is supported in part by the American Composers Forum through the 2012 Minnesota Emerging Composer Award funded by the Jerome Foundation.