About the band:
The Zagnut Orkestar is a Brooklyn, NY-based 6-piece ensemble that plays traditional Balkan brass band music for enthusiastic audiences in the New York Area. Our performances of this upbeat and exciting music cross cultural borders by combining elements of Greek, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Roma (gypsy) and jazz music, and help to foster an understanding of the music and cultures of the Balkan region.
The Zagnuts have played for capacity crowds at New York bars and restaurants like Cafe Barbes, North Six, the Bowery Poetry Club, Cafe Moto, and Tagine; at weddings and parties; and for folk dancers at Zlatne Uste's Golden Festival, and Hungarian House, a cultural center that hosts events sponsored by the East European Folklife Center. No matter where we play audiences can't help but dance, even if they don't know the traditional steps.
About the band members:
Matthew Fass is the founder, director & accordionist of the Zagnut Orkestar. He also plays Balkan-based jazz with saxophonist Jessica Lurie in Sheqer. Matthew lives in Brooklyn, NY. He has studied Albanian, Roma (gypsy) and Jazz accordion with Raif Hyseni, Ivan Milev and William Schimmel, and has researched extensively in Eastern Europe and Greece. Matthew is also a Board member of the East European Folklife Center, and teaches Balkan dance with the band Slavic Soul Party!
Jodi Hewat performs frequently with the Zagnut Orkestar, as well as with such New York Balkan groups as Zlatne Uste Brass Band, Slavic Soul Party!, and Sukunet. Over the past 10 years she has made many trips to southeastern Europe and has studied vocal technique with Albanian superstar Merita Halili, Bulgarian Radio Choir luminaries Kremena Stancheva and Tzvetanka Varimezova, and with 'Queen of the Gypsies' diva Esma Redzepova. Currently, she leads Asuli, a women's a capella ensemble specializing in polyphonic music from the Republic of Georgia.
Greg Squared is the preferred alias of Greg Schneiderman, saxophone/clarinet/flute player in several New York ensembles, including the Zagnut Orkestar and the Hungry March Band. He studied music at the University of California with such groundbreaking 20th century improvisors as George Lewis and Bertram Turetzky, and has traveled extensively in both the Iberian and Balkan Peninsulas as well as the U.S. and Mexico, absorbing a variety of musical styles along the way. An interest in the music of the gitanos of Spain led him to embark on a broader exploration of Roma (gypsy) music from around the world. Most recently, Greg has focused on music from the Balkan countries of Macedonia (FYROM), Greece, Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
Joey Weisenberg (mandolinist/guitarist): At age twelve, Joey began performing as a harmonica player and guitarist in blues bars in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduating from Columbia University, he recorded with the Lithuanian singer Marija Krupoves on her latest CD, "Without a Country Songs of Stateless Peoples," and is featured on an upcoming album of Sephardic music with The Gerard Edery Ensemble. Joey currently performs with The Village Klezmer Quintet, Romashka, Zagnut Orkestar, The Marija Krupoves Trio, and as a leader of his own ensembles. Joey has taught at Klez Kanada and Kehilat Hadar, and has been a long-standing teacher for the Tikvah Program, working with developmentally disabled children. Joey also enjoys performing for private parties throughout the New York area, and teaching guitar and mandolin to students of all ages.
Reuben Radding was born in Washington DC to a family of classical musicians, and relocated to New York City in 1988 where he studied contrabass with Mark Dresser and quickly became a busy stalwart of the downtown/improv scene. His powerful sound and sensitive listening has contributed to countless ensembles ranging from Jazz, to Classical, as well as ethnic genres, and he has been featured on over 40 recordings on labels such as Leo Records, AUM Fidelity, Tzadik, Clean Feed, and Knitting Factory Works. Reuben Radding is also an accomplished recording engineer and producer, working mostly from his own Studio STATS, in Brooklyn, NY
Timothy Quigley is a percussionist and composer living in Brooklyn, NY. His unique sound and versatility have made him a sought-after sideman. He has worked with such talents as Alan Ginsberg, Cheb Nasro, Christos Govetas, Smokey Hormel, Doug Wieselman, Frank London, Jessica Lurie, Ron Miles, Chata Addy, and Zlatne Uste Brass Band. Timothy currently teaches privately and performs with the Zagnut Orkestar, Romashka, Hazmat, Sheqer, and the rock band Argentine.
Matthew Fass at 917-497-7852 or by email.