Balkan Beat Box
Israeli saxophonist Ori Kaplan has been a fixture on New York City's downtown music scene since the early 1990s, playing with gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello and the ethno-garage outfit Firewater. He and Firewater drummer/producer Tamir Muskat split off in 2005 to form Balkan Beat Box. As the name suggests, their music is highly danceable, and takes the melting pot approach of the members' previous bands to the next level, giving the traditional sounds of various Middle Eastern and Eastern European styles an au courant electronica polish. A bit hipper than most world fusion acts, the duo (who perform live with a large ensemble of guest musicians) don't just graft traditional sounds to modern--they have alchemized a style all their own.