Alexandre Cavaliere: violin
Carlo Nardozza: trumpet
Launched in the autumn of 2000 as part of the celebration of the UN International Year for the Culture of Peace, the Balkan Horses project has been devoted to music as much as to supporting peace in the war-torn Balkan Peninsula. `The aim of the project is to gather Balkan nations in one orchestra - a smaller scale United Nations assembly`, explains Krassi Zhelyazkov, owner of the Music Agency Aquastorm, which conceived the idea for the Balkan Horses. In his view, the wars that have devastated the Balkans in the last decade have also brought spiritual and cultural division. Balkan nations have tried to isolate themselves from one another, believes Zhelyazkov. As a result, they have become closed systems, not knowing about the cultural and social life of their neighbors.
The Balkan Horses project is now striving to change this mentality. For the first time music stars from seven different Balkan countries (eight men and one woman) have come together to demonstrate that people in the Balkans can work for a common cause. The project received the enthusiastic support of UNDP (United Nations Development Program) offices in the region, which helped in making it a reality. Taking into account that the musicians had less than a week to prepare for their first live show in November 2000, the product has been amazing. According to critics, the music created by the Balkan Horses band is both ground breaking and emotionally empowering. The band`s performing style, mixing jazz and `new age` with traditional folk, has been compared with the innovative world music projects of internationally recognized pop stars like Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon.
However, even more impressive than the universal sound of the band has been its ability to break through linguistic and cultural barriers and reach the souls of all Balkan people. The music of the Balkan Horses is a reminder of the common historic and cultural heritage of Balkan nations. `We are all hot blooded. We are all engulfed by the rhythm and we are able to create fantastic melodies`, says the Bulgarian musician Theodossy Spassov, who has been a major driving force behind the Balkan Horses project. Last autumn Newsweek described Spassov as one of the most gifted Balkan musicians, `who not only helps the survival of the culture in a post-communist society but has also invented a new musical genre`.