Serbian double bass player Ivan Kovacevic is one of the leading musicians of the Spanish blues, jazz and rock’n ‘roll scene. Based in Barcelona for the last 20 years, Kovacevic has played in renowned bands such as Los Mambo Jambo, Nu Niles, Down Home, Bernat Font Trio or Lazy Jumpers, among other collaborations with notable artists of the style in over 50 record albums.
With the experience gathered on stages all over the world, he now leads the largest rhythm ‘n’ blues band in Europe, the Barcelona Big Blues Band, as double bassist, director and arranger.
On top of his lifelong dedication to African-American music, his artistic restlessness and the need to return to his ancestral roots have led him to be one of the founding members of the Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra. The world-known emblematic band whose characteristic interpretation of traditional Balkan and Eastern European music has made them an international benchmark of contemporary world music. With thousands of followers all over the globe, the BGKO has performed in over 35 countries, selling out prestigious concert halls night after night.
Pere Nolasc Plana Turu
A classically-trained violinist and violist who studied in Spain, the Netherlands and Germany from a ripe young age, Pere Nolasc focuses his interests on improvisation and creativity. In Barcelona, the city that has embraced him since 2008, he has collaborated with many different projects in the jazz, traditional and classical music spheres. His participation in the emblematic aupaQUARTET and the Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra (BGKO) stand out among other projects, with whom he has performed abroad regularly in hundreds of theatres, auditoriums and festivals in over thirty countries.
Nolasc combines his passion for interpretation and composition with pedagogy, and is restlessly active in all the musical ventures he undertakes. He has taught masterclasses in higher studies institutions throughout the Iberian Peninsula and internationally, zealously sharing his great passion for improvisation with future generations of musicians.
Victor Paradis is a young and multifaceted French-Canadian guitarist who has performed with different bands at some of the main alternative music festivals in Spain. A newcomer to the jazz scene, in a short period of time he has become an essential personality of the Barcelona music scene. Classically trained and hardened for years on underground stages all over the peninsula, he now delves into the aesthetics of gypsy jazz and world music through Bratia, with a fusion of influences free of complexes.
Mallorcan guitarist Biel Ballester has, over the years, become a usual suspect of the international gypsy jazz scene. His peculiar sound, imbued with a characteristic Mediterranean flair, has led him to achieve one of the most difficult goals in any artist’s career: to be instantly recognisable by his own personal sound. To the extent that his original compositions have become a staple soundtrack for lovers of Django Reinhardt’s legacy.
Speaking of soundtracks, Ballester’s distinctiveness has even been recognised by Woody Allen, the acclaimed film director, whose love for jazz is widely known. Allen featured two compositions by Biel Ballester in his famous film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. On one occasion they even performed together, after which the film director publicly declared that that would be the closest to playing with Django he’d ever be.
Born in Athens, Stelios Togias has performed more than five hundred concerts in over thirty countries with bands stemming from the Barcelona music scene, such as Aikar, Trio Feta, Fanfarria Ermenesinde, or the emblematic Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra (BGKO). Togias is a restless percussionist who has investigated and delved deeply into the rhythms found in Middle Eastern musical cultures, and plays percussive instruments of Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish origin.
Since 2012, he has been a regular member of the Gipsy Balkan Jams base quartet in Barcelona. As such, he is one of the musical personalities responsible for generating a cultural and artistic fabric in the Catalan capital, focused on spreading the appreciation for Balkan and Eastern European music to new audiences.