With a diverse line-up of professional Philadelphia musicians whose influences range from Sun Ra to Bulgarian brass bands, West Philadelphia Orchestra is a unique live ensemble in today’s auto-tuned musical world. They began playing Romanian ballads, Macedonian folk-dance songs, Bulgarian wedding music, and Klezmer in late 2006, and have continued expanding their repertoire of Eastern European music. The band also plays original tunes which blend other sounds, like jazz and classical, together with traditional Balkan sounds. As much a community as a band, WPO’s performances are celebratory events. With blistering beats and walls of brass, they inspire audiences to hold hands, dance, and slip the yoke of the homogenized culture industry. Their debut record, released in fall of 2008 and called ‘WPO,’ is a unique combination of traditional Balkan music and sounds, and is an expression of their radical collectivity. Their newest CD, “Live at Tritone,” captures the frenetic energy, genre-bending compositions, and communal spirit of their monthly Balkan dance parties.
“The brassy, sassy West Philadelphia Orchestra (whom you may have heard around town blasting everything from klezmer to big-band jazz) throws this [Balkan dance party] bash at Underground Arts. It starts late (10 p.m.-ish), but with unique music (WPO often partners with another local band), two bars and a strobe-lit dance floor, you’ll reenergize in no time.” – Philadelphia Magazine