About

True to its name, Mahala (a pan-Balkan word for neighborhood) plays Eastern European folk music in the wards of New Orleans. Comprised of two Bulgarian immigrants and one American who call New Orleans home, Mahala embraces its role as a beacon of of Balkan music and culture in the Southeast and beyond.

For guitarist Georgi Petrov and percussionist Boyanna Trayanova, both trained as jazz musicians, performing the music of their homeland is a unique opportunity to carry on and renew traditions of the old world. Teaming up with internationally renowned accordionist Matthew Schreiber, the group pays homage to both village folk music and contemporary urban styles in the context of life in New Orleans. As Mahala blends elements of New Orleans jazz with music from the Balkans, it tells a story of economic and political migration, of families and cultures redefining identity in a far away place.

Mahala has performed throughout the United States at events such as the International Accordion Festival in San Antonio, TX, the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans, LA, and the Mayo Street Arts International Heritage series in Portland, ME. They have been featured on Bulgarian national television and a piece of their original music placed third in the 2015 competition “New Bulgarian Music in 7/8” in Chepelare, Bulgaria. Whether playing for folk dancers, Eastern European weddings, or music lovers, Mahala embraces the inevitable melding of the Balkan spirit with New Orleans celebration.

 

 

Boyanna Trayanova has toured the world backing numerous artists, including blues legends John Mooney and Coco Robicheaux, avant-jazz pioneer Michael Ray & The Cosmic Krewe, and African master percussionist Seguenon Kone. Trayanova is also a founding member of the world’s first and only reggae and ska brass band, New Orleans sensation One Love Brass Band. You will rarely catch her without a smile from ear to ear.

 

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Georgi Petrov is no stranger to multi-genre playing. An established sideman in jazz, gypsy jazz, swing, funk, and fusion, he plays with a variety of colleagues including Aurora Nealand, Sasha and Steve Masakowski, Dave Stryker and Jerry Coker. His own solo album of contemporary jazz was released in 2013 at Snug Harbor with a glowing review in Offbeat Magazine.




Matt Schreiber comprises one of a handful of American accordionists to learn through the oral tradition from some of Eastern Europe’s most powerful accordion wizards. He moved to New Orleans in 2013 after several years of touring in the Northeast and in Europe. He has shared the stage with Petar Ralchev, Slavic Soul Party, Kabile, and Elitsa Stoyneva. Matt has been featured on Bulgarian national television and placed third in the 2015 competition “New Bulgarian music in 7/8” in Chepelare, Bulgaria.
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