Posting Date: September 1, 2010

Mahala Raï Banda to perform as part of Year of Romania

Gypsy band fuses Romanian folk music and Balkan Beats

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770-499-3417 or

Mahala Raï Banda

KENNESAW, Ga.—To celebrate the Year of Romania, Kennesaw State University will host a concert by gypsy band Mahala Raï Banda on Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. in the Performance Hall of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey and Family Performance Center. The event will feature Romanian violins, accordions and a brass section in a rich blend of modern arrangements.

Presented in collaboration with the New York Gypsy Festival and support from the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, the Bucharest-based band has been called “the Balkan equivalent of the Memphis Horns with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section.” The band’s self-titled debut album, released in 2005, quickly became a hit with its blend of traditional Romanian music and Balkan Beats, a club-oriented style of music. “Mahalageasca,” a single off the album, appeared on the soundtrack for the movie “Borat” in 2006. The group has performed more than 200 concerts in 26 countries.

Associate Professor Karen Robinson, global learning coordinator of the KSU College of the Arts, explains that the concert “will offer a live experiential approach to some of the cultural and ethnic ingredients that comprise the music and artistic identity of Romania.” In addition to the performance, the band will also visit KSU music and art classes to offer lectures and demonstrations to students. “This class residency and performance combination fulfills our university-wide global learning initiative to enhance knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for a wide array of different cultures,” says Robinson.

The music, according to Robinson, holds particular sociological significance as part of the "music of the oppressed." She explains, "The music represents the gypsy people, who are one of Europe's most discriminated minorities."

Mahala Raï Banda is the first musical performance of The Year of Romania, which spans the entire academic year at KSU. The program will feature a series of lectures, performances, exhibits and films on Romania. “Because music features an international language of sorts, it is a superb vehicle for encouraging and inspiring the students to enter into other cultural worlds,” says Robinson. “The Mahala Raï Banda concert is a rare and distinctive performance treat for KSU.”

Tickets for the Sept. 20 event are $10 and are available at the KSU box office. For more information, call 770-423-6650.


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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education, business and nursing. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 22,500 from 142 countries.

The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts departments.



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