Members of Orkestar Slivovica include Susan Gerofsky, fourth from the left. (photo from Caravan World Rhythms)
Caravan World Rhythms presents Boban & Marko Markovic Orkestar on Oct. 18 at Vogue Theatre. Opening for Boban & Marko is a collaboration between local bands Orkestar Slivovica and Jack Garton’s Demon Squadron. The main level of the Vogue will be turned into an open dance floor for the whole evening. There will also be reserved seating available for those who prefer to sit and watch.
Boban & Marko, the quintessential Balkan brass band, comes back to Vancouver after again being crowned “Leading Band in Serbia,” a title to which they have been named multiple times since the late 1980s. Their music, performed by a 13-piece strong orchestra, is defined by their gypsy lineage, while giving a nod towards other musical and cultural backgrounds related to Romani traditions. Aside from their numerous awards, the group has performed and been featured in films.
Vancouver’s homegrown Balkan brass band, Orkestar Slivovica, includes Jewish community member Susan Gerofsky. The eight-12-piece brass ensemble plays and sings a diverse repertoire, from insanely fast dance tunes to heart-wrenching songs, often in crooked rhythms and exotic scales. Gerofsky plays tenor horn and accordion and contributes vocals, but she also plays baritone horn and other brass instruments, pennywhistle and piano, and has dabbled with banjo, fiddle and ukulele.
Gerofsky has been involved with folk music and dance for many years, starting with youthful experiences doing Israeli and international folk dancing and working as a volunteer at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Toronto.
When not playing with the band, Gerofsky is a tenured assistant professor in the department of curriculum and pedagogy in the faculty of education at the University of British Columbia. She holds degrees in languages and linguistics as well as mathematics education, and worked for 12 years in film production, eight years in adult education (including workplace and labor education) and eight years as a high school teacher with the Vancouver School Board. Gerofsky has been involved in interdisciplinary research and teaching involving embodied, multisensory mathematics education, garden-based learning, applied linguistics and film. She has studied, researched and taught in England, Brazil, Italy and Cuba. She speaks several languages.
Collaborating with Orkestar Slivovica are special guests Demon Squadron, spearheaded by the musician, songwriter and showman Jack Garton of Maria in the Shower. Their sound is rooted in reggae, funk and folk, and includes the backbone trio of Amrit Basi on drum set, Michael Alleyne on bass and Garton on accordion, trumpet and voice. The trio welcomes frequent collaborators on saxophone, trombone, organ and backup vocals.
The Oct. 18 show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets, $42 (general admission)/$52 (reserved seats), are available in person at Highlife Records, Banyen Books or Boemma Deli; online at caravanbc.com; or by phone, 1-855-551-9747. For music and more, visit bobanimarko.com, orkestarslivovica.org or jackgarton.com/demonsquadron.