Toronto Ashkenaz Festival: Why We Love Balkan Beat Box

Published: August 19th 2010
in Culture » Music

Balkan Beat Box

Despite the fact that Balkan Beat Box defies definition, music listeners will inevitably try to compare their sound anyway. “What I hear a lot,” says Muskat, “is that people compare us to bands with a similar spirit, maybe with a different sound though, because there are not really many bands that have our sound or do what we do. We hear Asian Dub Foundation, and also Beastie Boys gone to play a Bar Mitzvah [laughs].”


Like most bands, the Balkan Beat Box that first started out has evolved over time into the version we hear today. “It started as a studio project,” says Muskat, “with ideas and collaborations with people from all around the world, and at some point, we went on the road and became a real band and the sound totally changed.”


“And every album changes a bit,” he continues. “It’s all about moving forward, we are constantly trying to evolve. It’s a challenging thing, but we like it this way.”


“We are excited for the Ashkenaz Festival [in Toronto],” Muskat tells Shalom Life. “We’re excited for every show. We’ve learned over the years that you can never really know how a show will turn out, so we try to come with no conditioned mind, to come with great energy and to give everything we have and the moment usually writes itself.”


“Creating music is a very complex process,” he continues. “So when you’re done making an album, you need to let it be and have its own life. It’s exciting when our music plays to see how people enjoy it. We put all of our lives into the music, and it’s just an amazing process, to see our ideas move farther away from us and into the hearts of others.”


Like most passionate musicians, Muskat pours himself into his work. “I’m a workaholic,” he admits. “I’m currently producing for a band called Firewater from New York, a really cool band. I’ve produced their last three albums, and I’m producing Tomer Yosef, our lead singer’s solo album, and just finished producing Oren Barzilay. He’s really amazing. So I decided to spend a lot of time working with him on this album as well. So that’s what’s on my plate right now.”


That’s a pretty big plate. But from Balkan Beat Box, we wouldn’t expect anything less.


Check out Balkan Beat Box at the Toronto Ashkenaz Festival on Sunday, September 5th at 9:30pm, at Harbourfront Centre’s Sirius Stage – for free! Visit for more information.

Related articles: (Balkan Beat Box, Gogol Bordello, Ashkenaz Festival, Sirius stage, Harbourfront, tamir muskat)

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