MWE describes itself as a Middle-Eastern marching band. That’s a description of its music, by the way, not its members. The San Francisco quintet plays Turkish and Balkan party music, the soundtrack to belly-dance ragers in the street, maybe.
To quote the about on Facebook: One zurna, one davul, one saxophone and two clarinets. One million decibels.
The band plays 8 p.m. TONIGHT, at the Caris School of Dance. We emailed to get the low down on what this Balkan party band is all about.
How did the band come together? How long have you been playing, etc.
This band came together four years ago at a music camp, with a group of us that have been long-time friends and lovers of Turkish, Balkan, Greek and Middle Eastern music. It started with three clarinets, a zurna player, a tupan player and a doumbek player. Doumbek is a goblet shaped drum that is used for belly dance music. But it can also be very versatile. Predecessor of the oboe, the zurna is a double-reeded wind instrument that is known for is loud and shrilly sound. The tupan is a shoulder slung drum that is loud and driving. Zurna and tupan are actually quite common in music all throughout the Middle East, Turkey, Greece and the Balkans. For centuries, this pair of instruments has been used in processions, weddings, festivals or any other kind of ceremony that usually takes place outdoors. Adding clarinets and saxophone is actually a more contemporary adaptation to this music, and we were influenced in this direction from the band Kumpania Istanbul. We suggest looking them up. (Note: We tried)