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Park Slope's Barbes Celebrates 10 Years of Slavic Soul Party Shows

By Leslie Albrecht | September 10, 2013 8:48am
 The Balkan brass band Slavic Soul Party has been playing almost every Tuesday night at Barbes in Park Slope.
Slavic Soul Party Celebrates 10th Anniversary at Barbes
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PARK SLOPE — A tiny Park Slope music club is celebrating a big anniversary this week.

For the 10th year in a row, the bar and performance venue Barbès will host a Tuesday night show by Balkan brass band Slavic Soul Party.

"It's going to be a special night," said Barbès founder and co-owner Olivier Conan.

Conan says the nine-piece Slavic Soul Party gives audiences a one-of-kind performance. The group's music has been described as a hybrid of Gypsy, New Orleans, jazz and funk sounds that "offers a gut punch to preconceptions about traditional music," one reviewer wrote.

Slavic Soul Party has been squeezing into Barbès' cramped quarters almost every week since 2003. The regular gig, which is interrupted occasionally when Slavic Soul Party is on tour, started about a year after Barbès opened on Ninth Street and Sixth Avenue.

Conan, a musician himself, first saw Slavic Soul Party play around 2001 at the now-closed Makor Cafe. At the time, he was "obsessed" with Balkan music, and fell in love with the band when they played a cover of Duke Ellington's "Blue Pepper."

Over the years, Slavic Soul Party's sound has become increasingly popular, and the weekly Barbès show has become a go-to spot for the band's fans, Conan said.

At the pocket-sized Barbès, Slavic Soul Party's already mega-sized sound is intensified by the diminutive space.

"That's part of the mystique," Conan said. "You walk into a small room with nine people greeting you with shiny gold instruments. You start sweating, and you're drawn into another world."

Slavic Soul Party was not immediately available for comment.

Slavic Soul Party plays its 10th anniversary Barbès show on Tuesday Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. at 376 Ninth St.