Sarakina - balkan ethno jazz


CD BalkanTron



"Balkan deluxe. Musik aus allen Richtungen mit Mirjam Jessa. Jacek ist wieder da! Der fabelhafte Akkordeonist Jacek Grekow und seine Band Sarakina."

"Sie arbeiten sehr lange an neuen CDs, geben den Stücken die Zeit zu reifen, veröffentlichen selten. Eben ist ihr erst sechstes Album erschienen "Balkantron" und es übertrifft noch die hohen Erwartungen. Manche werden vielleicht den "Dreck" vermissen, der für viele auch zu dieser Musik gehört. Wer aber künstlerisch sublimierte und urbanisierte Balkanmusik in makelloser Qualität hören will, der liegt mit "Balkantron" goldrichtig."

Mirjam Jessa (

Radio OE1, Spielräume

Ihr aktuelles Album “BalkanTron” begeistert durch das Geschick, mit dem die Künstler traditionelle und ethnische Musik mit Improvisation und Jazzelementen verbinden. Die großartige Stimme der Sängerin Anna Klebus erinnert an die Bulgarian Voices mit ihren spektakulären Klangfarben. Die Virtuosität, mit der die Instrumente gespielt werden, von Klarinette, über Dudelsack, Akkordeon, bis hin zu Tupan und Gadulka, sorgt ebenfalls für eine wunderbare Stimmung, angereichert mit der kulturellen Vielfalt von Okzident und Orient.

Karsten Rube,


The completely acoustic sound of the music, which was excellently recorded at the Preisner Studio, is crystal clear and enables the listener to enjoy every single note being played. In its character Balkan music is very close to Middle Eastern music, especially in its modulation, which is not surprising considering the fact that the Balkans was part of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years and the Turkish influences were deeply absorbed within its cultural fabric. Although pretty distanced from the strict Jazz improvisations, this music offers enough of improvisational spirit to be embraced as a Jazz-World Music without any reservations.

Overall this is a delightful album, full of a peculiar mixture of joy and sadness, which is characteristic of Balkan music. All the performances are highly professional and inspired and of course Peev adds a virtuosic layer to the proceedings. Lovers of Balkan music will of course be delighted, but those not familiar with that music are wholeheartedly invited to take a plunge!

Adam Baruch, The Soundtrack Of My Life

The Soundtrack Of My Life

CD SARAKINA live in studio



Seit 1999 hat sich die polnische Folkgruppe Sarakina der traditionellen Musik Bulgariens und Mazedoniens verschrieben.[22][31][39][50] Es klingt erst einmal ganz natürlich-authentisch: Jacek Grekow spielt Akkordeon, Jan Mlejnek Klarinette, Mateusz Bielski ist Kontrabassist und Krzysztof Ostasz der Perkussionist. Eliza Sacharczuk ist die versierte Sängerin. Und authentisch ist es auch, in der melodischen wie rhythmischen Darbietung als auch in der originalen Liedauswahl. Aber da alle Fünf studierte Musiker sind, erwartet uns keine Dorffolklore, sondern urban und weltmännisch bearbeiteter und arrangierter Sound. Mit einer exzellenten Darbietung gelingt es ihnen spielend, die Musik des Balkans für Publikum jeder Art aufzubereiten und zu popularisieren.

Tom Keller (

CD Dance of fire


Dance of fire CD

Eelco Schilder ( Dance of Fire is the fourth album by the Poland based quartet Sarakina. On their previous album they played music inspired by Chopin, a wonderful album. On this new album you will find a Chopin track, but mainly original material. Nine tracks of fabulous Balkan influenced music, melodic, jazzy and occasionally with a good rock feeling. Again I’m impressed by the fine craftsmanship of the musicians. They paint beautiful landscapes with their instruments and have the gift of putting emotion in their play. This new album is a welcome addition to their discography and only proofs that this band belongs at the top of European roots music.


Sarakina inspired by Chopin (2008)

Chopin Sarakina Preludium Fryderykata

Renato Belardinelli ( is not simply a recital of various compostions by Chopin but a much deeper work, which imagine s the famous composer still living and still capable of producing inspiration even today.

No problem thus for the listener who perhaps is not familiar with Chopin. In fact it may well attract the listener to Chopins music.

I do not want to make a track listing but highlight a couple of original tracks written by the band leader and accordionist Jacek Grekow which are Ballade in 7 and the title track Fryderykata. They like “Nocturne in G minor Op. 15 n.3”, the long and elaborate “Pelude in C minor Op.28 N.20” and the last track “Se navali Sharp lanina” have that something extra which immediately capture the listeners interest.

Once again Sarakina provide proof of their great artistry...

Eelco Schilder ( This year the group Sarakina celebrates it's ten year anniversary with the release of a interesting new album. The band exists out of three musicians from Poland and an accordionist from Bulgaria. On the album they are joined by a singer and a guest musician on the daf. The band always showed great interest in modern-acoustic interpretations of ethnic music from the Balkan region, especially those of Bulgaria and Macedonia. On Fryderykata they use the elements of these traditions in a tribute to the great composer Chopin. Many classical composers were influenced by ethnic music and used traditional melodies in their work. Sarakina does it the other way around, they use the compositions of Chopin to create new-traditional style music. The album shows not only the quality of Chopin, but also the quality of the musicians and Jacek Grekow as the mastermind behind the groups musical arrangements. It's interesting how the four musicians let the classical, and often very known, themes, sound like they are deeply rooted in the Balkan tradition. Amazingly strong play of all four musicians, with superb interaction between accordion and clarinet, backed by a solid bass and percussion. I like the intensity with which Grekow plays his accordion. He makes his instrument scream, whisper and everything in between. Mljenek plays his clarinet in a fluent way, not only technically well but with his hearth. Actually that can be said of all the musicians. The bassist and percussionist create a good, bit jazzy, fundament on which Grekow and Mlejnek can build their beautiful melodies. The best album of the band until today, pure music of the highest quality. Sure Chopin is smiling in heaven (or wherever he is right now).

Tomasz Janas (Czas Kultury): „Fryderykata” is a musical tribute to a great composer, and at the same time a challenge to his traditional interpretations. It is “merely” an inspiration for musical sketches, and simultaneously proof of a thorough investigation into Chopin's creativity. Finally, it is an expression of the conviction that the contemporaneousness of great masters' work lies in the fact that they continuously provoke creative effort, and constantly inspire an artistic dialog.

Maybe it comes as no surprise that Chopin's music sounds impeccable even without the piano. But also – as previously mentioned – the ambition of the creators of this album is not to pointlessly dazzle. Instead, there is an entire palette of timbre and associations. The romantic compositions develop a specific character due to the rich acoustics. The singability of Chopin's melodies as well as the subtlety and finesse of execution effectuate that we discover a new range of “hearing” and “understanding” of His compositions. The sounds of the accordion supported by the clarinet, interspersed with the characteristic tone of the kaval, on top of that an unusually solid, but also mainly discreet, presence of double-bass and percussion instruments. There are many beautiful musical hues.

For those that overlooked Sarakina's previous exceptional achievements, the new album may be a surprise. What may amaze are the music's culture and nobility as well as the ease and casualness of using means referring to ethnic or folk traditions. Nothing is lost. “Fryderykata” is an excellent idea to start an adventure with Sarakina and reach for the previous albums. Listeners, who are acquainted with the previous albums, will surely do the same.

Valya Bozhilova (Bulgarian National Radio): It offers an original transformation of Chopin’s music in the invention of Jacek Grekow and of the other musicians from Sarakina Band. Grekow has interpreted Chopin by using rhythmic patterns and melodies borrowed from the Bulgarian folk music.

The CD Fryderykata is the source of original ideas resulting from the creative daring of the young musicians from Sarakina Band. Curiously, in this CD Chopin is featured without his emblematic piano. The accordion and the clarinet have successfully replaced it.



Junctions Grekow Mlejnek

Overall this a is a beautiful CD that always maintains its quality and remains interesting throughout, both in the more rhythmical pulsating tunes and those more calm and reflective. The expressive range of the instruments is taken to the maximum giving this CD a striking personality.

Renato Belardinelli, April 2007

Junctions gives us Jacek Grekow (accordion, kaval, and bagpipes) in conjunction with Jan Mlejnek (clarinet, tambura), and Karol Sypytkowski (double bass) comprising the group Sarakina. Assisting on some of the tracks are Wojciech Bronakowski (percussion) and Maciej Nerkowski (vocal). Together they create an exciting collection of ethno-jazz compositions. Grekow displays his ability as a composer and arranger. Tracks 2, 5, 7, and 9 present his arrangements of Balkan/Macedonian traditional themes. The remaining tracks are Grekow originals inspired by Eastern European rhythms, melodies, and harmonies.

The opening track Impromptu sets the stage for the remaining selections. This Klezmer based improvization begins with a BANG! (double-bass and percussion punctuate) and then enters into a free play between accordion and clarinet—sometimes in an antiphonal relation, sometimes countering one another, and always providing an engaging encounter. The recursive elements of traditional melodies form the background for the improvisation. And just to prove that they are not limited by one style, the next track The blessing is a pensive reflective piece that evokes the sense of the sacred. In fact, the album oscillates between these two poles—the dance of the marketplace and the solemnity of sacred space.

Grekow does not play the accordion in each track but rather alternates between the accordion, the kaval (an end blown Balkan flute) and the bagpipes. On the road presents a captivating dialogue between the bagpipe, vocal (Maciej Nerkowski) and clarinet. The vocal is just that—wordless voice as instrument. Mountain track gives us the haunting sound of the Balkan flute with Mlejnek playing an ethnic guitar. Grekow wails on the flute. (In fact at one point in the track [somewhere along the mountain!] the flute reminded me of Ian Anderson's tonal technique made famous in Jethro Tull). Trance organizes itself around a simple recurring 3 note motif (up a minor second--down a minor third). In simplicity there is complexity. Around the motif is a flurry of melodic activity always orbiting around the base. The final track, Three days brings all the elements together-- percussion, accordion, clarinet, and voice in a pulsating and vibrant piece that is rooted in tradition and branches into non-traditional space.

Robert Stead (The Free-Reed Review) September 2007



sarakina CD balkan bulgarian

"For the professional performance and precision of the recording. For the marvellous cover and the whole record -world class!"

Justyna Ziółkowska (journalist, TV Polonia)

"For the utter professionalism as far as the music and publishing parts are concerned. Delicious!"

Wojciech Ossowski (jounalist for 3 Channel of Polish Radio)

"After hearing this recording, I was totally fascinated with the ability of the musicians to bring the genre of traditional folk music to the form of sophisticated concert performance. It takes musicians of a high professionalism to be able to do that. All the musicians appearing on this recording are truly professional in what they do. Their professionalism covers all the areas of this recording, beginning with the choice of the pieces, marvellous arrangements, superior performance, excellent sound quality and engineering, and ending with the very good quality and design of the CD cover. (...)"

Tania Lukic-Marx (Accordions Worldwide)

Jacek Grekow, tel.: +48 601 831 048,

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