Balkan Festivals Northwest Presents
David Bilides
Balkan Rhythms
David Bilides' initial encounters with Balkan folk music were the weddings and dances of the Asia Minor Greek community in which he grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. After hearing other Balkan music while attending international folk dancing in high school, he took the first of several trips to the Balkans in 1974, visiting Romania, Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. He learned dances, made field recordings, and collected instruments. On returning to the United States he taught himself the music and instruments, formed groups, organized festivals and other music events, and performed and taught others music and dance.
Daniel Eshoo
Daniel Eshoo, Originally from the coast of California, descends from the Assyrian people of the East and Viking conquerors of the West, and thanks to his trace Irish heritage he's actually surprisingly less stubborn than that would suggest. He now hails from the Willamette Valley where he lives with the love of his life and their two very elven children. Daniel began playing saz at 17 after being exposed to Turkish Anatolian music by his father, an accomplished kanun player, and after about 20 years behind the woodshed has finally decided to share some of his knowledge and technique with you. Influences in his breadth of style and approach to saz playing include the actual traditions of Turkic, Anatolian, Balkan, Arabian, and Caucasian peoples, as well as noteworthy entities such as Black Sabbath. As such, he brings a deeper insight into various traditions of saz playing along with a look into the methods used by modern players, how to construct the rhythmic strum patterns, western chords, and power chords. Ultimately, the focus in studying with Daniel will be the learning of traditional Turkish and Balkan dance tunes which utilize traditional saz techniques that can be expanded on with modern modes and aesthetics.
Michael Lawson
Michael Lawson began playing piano and trumpet at an early age. In college, he picked up his mother's accordion and learned to play it for his folk dance club. He fell in love with the rhythms and harmonies of Balkan music, a genre he has played extensively over the last 40 years. He led the folk dance bands; Nisava, Balkan Cabaret and Kafana Republik, as an accordionist and vocalist, recording several CDs, and playing for folk dance parties, festivals, camps and weddings. In the summer of 2016, Michael accompanied the Bulgarian Voices of Seattle Women's Choir on a tour in Bulgaria. Recently, Michael launched a new jazz band, Dreams Come True, playing keyboard, performing repertoire from the swing era.

"I've always had the feeling that music is completely natural-that everybody can sing, that everyone can join in dancing-that these are natural, innate human abilities that help us to share the joy of life with each other."