BalkaNova – Heart Beats – Bos Rec 228-12
Featuring Stoyan Yankoulov

… Now there are the words – voice – of the amazing soprano Viktoria Lasaroff (also on accordion and percussion), who has now taken over her permanent part in BalkaNova. Horst Nonnenmacher is on bass, and in six of the ten debut pieces BalkaNova is very effectively reinforced by drummer/percussionist Stoyan Yankoulov.

Genre boundaries are also breaking down, and where at first (mainly due to Brunn’s guitar playing between jazzy lines and his inexhaustible mastery of often seemingly enigmatic rhythms and meters) one was inclined to hear something like folk or Balkan jazz, it becomes clearer from song to song how a nameless new genre is emerging from the genres. “Hey, faithful friend, sing a song, don’t forget me” concludes one of the songs. Don’t worry: BalkaNova is not something you could easily forget. …” – Alexander Schmitz


Autumn came with “BalkaNova”

” … The Bulgarian-German trio BalkaNova opened the JazzHerbst Ilmenau with their concert in the city library. Jazz has its own fans and its own colorations: BalkaNova mixed jazz with Bulgarian and South Slavic influences. Viktoria Lasaroff used the short distance between the band and the audience in the library to enter into a dialog with the audience. This was very likeable, as Bulgarian folk music is not exactly part of the mainstream of musical performances on radio, television and in concerts.

All the more enjoyable was the refreshing performance, whose musical surprises included the interaction of Andreas Brunn’s seven-string guitar and Robin Draganic’s double bass. It is a pleasure to listen to the waves of melancholy and to indulge in dreams. The BalkaNova trio even gave a lesson in Greece: the invitation to dance sounded like a sirtaki. … “dol


BalkaNova “Heart Beats” – Bosrecords

“In Central European cities, the Balkan sound is often associated with brass instruments and wild folk pogo, at best with gypsy swing and klezmer music. The fact that music from the Balkans can always be good for a surprise is now a well-established insider tip.

Balka Nova play jazz in a very sensitive way. The pool from which the four musicians around Bulgarian singer Viktoria Lasaroff draw mainly consists of folk songs from Bulgaria. The singer is very familiar with these.

However, guitarist Andreas Brunn and bassist Horst Nonnenmacher dress these folk songs in a jazzy guise, which Bulgarian percussionist Stoyan Yankoulov gives a world-music touch. Folkloristic chamber jazz at its finest.” – Karsten Rube

CD review: FOLKER - Weltmusik Magazin 

BALKANOVA Heart Beats (Bosrecords 228-12 / JARO Medien)

“Guitar-heavy Balkan folk jazz. Traditional folk songs and dances from the turbulent history of the Balkans are presented in a modern way by Viktoria Lasaroff, Andreas Brunn and Horst Nonnenmacher for voice, guitar and double bass.

The Bulgarian drum and percussion star Stoyan Yankoulov was there … played with confidence, party-ready and suitable for festivals. ”

Concert review: Oberhessische Zeitung

Balkan melodies and jazz transported to another world

” … The basis of BalkaNova’s music are Bulgarian folk songs. All the songs have been completely rearranged by the band, adding a wide variety of rhythms and colorful jazz harmonies.
Viktoria Lasaroff is a sensitive singer who focuses on the melody. She never overloads the melody with striking effects, but lets it speak for itself. Andreas Brunn is a virtuoso guitarist. Brunn is also highly sensitive as an accompanist and provides a wide variety of colors and rhythms.
As a result, the musicians took many sides to the irresistible, often highly emotional original melodies and immersed their audience in another world. Andreas Brunn and Horst Nonnenmacher also display fabulous interaction as a duo, as they showed in one of Brunn’s compositions. …” – Martin G. Günkel

Augsburg General

Nouvelle cuisine of folk – Hair as black as coal, voice as deep as the mine it comes from: Viktoria Lasaroff and her trio provided refined and sophisticated musical variations: A “nouvelle cuisine” of folk that turned listeners into real fans at the Südbayern premiere in Dießen’s “Keller”. The pairing of guitar (Andreas Brunn) and double bass (Horst Nonnemacher) started with a slow and relaxed, yet incredibly pronounced melody. Throughout the rest of the songs, you could be forgiven for thinking that there was another drum kit in the room, such was the precision of the rhythmic changes performed by the three musicians, who were in perfect harmony with each other.

Viktoria Lasaroff summarized her lyrics in German with the captivating intonation of an oriental storyteller. The vocals then unfolded softly and richly. Then, in a gypsy song popular throughout the Balkans, she suddenly stepped away from the microphone and repeated the verse with the power and emotion of an opera diva overcome with grief: a successful surprise. The return to soft, deeply murmuring vocals immediately seemed to suspend all sense of time. Andreas Brunn’s guitar also occasionally left the realms of folk behind and strayed into jazzy variations, but these were woven in so sensitively that the cohesion of this world music was always preserved. – Andreas Frey

Lippische Landeszeitung

Love of life in music – BalkaNova rocks the “bridge” in Hörste

At the end everyone applauded. Viktoria Lasaroff was visibly pleased with “such an attentive audience”. The listeners on the “bridge” had just enjoyed the musical hike from Balka Nova between folk, jazz and classical music to the full. Together with the accomplished guitarist Andreas Brunn, the academically trained singer walked between the musical worlds and mixed them very creatively.

In order to swing and to be able to bring the full groove with his guitar, Brunn had pulled another string under the low E-string in order to advance his differentiated chord voicings between jazz and classical modern with a rich bass line. In addition, Viktoria Lasaroff unfolded the registers of her timbre-rich mezzo-soprano as varied as it was coherent in order to sing of the theme that moves the hearts of people in all peoples the most: love. And love as a celebration of joy and tangible vitality. – Andreas Schwabe

Thuringian regional newspaper

Southeast European impressions

Viktoria Lasaroff dominated the stage with her strong, dark voice as well as the intensity of her singing. She was not so much the bitter gypsy, she looked more like the powerful female embodiment of the originally rural Bulgaria. The gentlemen at your side competed confidently through the polyrhythmics of the repertoire and set virtuoso, jazzy highlights … Conclusion: a well-rounded program by an ensemble, whose further development one can look forward to. “- Fred Boehme


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