The musical group Baladino, a mediterranean folk band, played special workshop sessions at Nicolet College Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, preceding two concerts Friday evening. Originally scheduled for only one full concert, the band requested a second concert after they learned the first sold out of tickets early in the week. To learn more about the band and their time in Rhinelander, see the first hand account of an NCSS student viewing the exotic performance below.
By Jamie Halbman
11th grade, NCSS
On September 28, NCSS and RHS were treated to a unique experience- a performance by Baladino! Baladino is a Mediterranean Folk Band, with five members in the form of wind instrumentalist Yonnie Dror, string player and producer Thomas Moked, vocalist Yael Badash, bass player Daniel Sapir and percussionist Yshai Afterman. Hailing from Israel, a melting pot of cultures in the Middle East, thanks to immigrants from all over the world, Baladino’s music and instruments have a wonderful foreign charm.
Baladino is visiting and educating the Northwoods thanks to a partnership between Nicolet College and Arts Midwest World Fest, which helps bring musicians from around the world to communities like Rhinelander. During their performance, they talked about the influence of each member’s heritage, their roles in the band, the meaning of Baladino (a combination of Baladi- meaning land or earth in Arabic- and Ladino, the culture which inspired Baladino’s music), and their instruments. Some of them were quite familiar, like an electric guitar, upright bass, and flute, but also foreign equivalents that are ancestors of these instruments. The Oud (similar to the guitar), the Ney Flute (related to the flute), and percussion instruments like the Frame Drum and Cajon.
“We love the Midwest. It’s funny because I think we’ve been in places for this program [Arts Midwest World Fest] that many Americans never heard of, but for us it’s the real America, because people are extremely warm and very welcoming. We’re very lucky to be here right now—I think we will probably write some songs here, for our new album, because I feel very inspired. So we might have a few new songs on our album that are going to be written here. I feel it already.”
Baladino producer and string player
We weren’t just watching and listening here- the audience was involved as well. Baladino uses a different percussion rhythm than most western music, which is usually four beats per measure. Baladino’s Mediterranean music is sometimes in measures of seven and nine beats. They showed us how to count these beats by clapping along with their rhythm while they performed, which I think was an awesome way to teach everyone how these different styles worked.
This performance had a special feeling for me, because as the instruments were demonstrated and songs were played right in front of me, I felt as if I were in different parts of the world… A desert in the Middle East, an Arabian village, an unexplored forest…all within those magical songs. I feel like I was seeing bits of these unfamiliar places as if they were mirages right there in the auditorium.
Here’s the icing on the cake; this won’t be the last piece of world music in our future. Thanks again to Art Midwest World Fest, there are three more bands coming to the Midwest between now and 2017- Anda Union, hailing from Mongolia; Aysenur Kolivar of Turkey; and Le Vent du Nord from Quebec, Canada. I look forward to future global performances, and being able to take another tour of the world through their music.