From Toronto to New York, Budapest to Berlin, audiences around the world are hailing the Lemon Bucket Orkestra as folk music revolutionaries. Since their birth three years ago, the band has grown from its initial quartet of buskers to a fifteen-piece guerrilla folk force with an army of grass roots followers and mainstream fans at home and abroad.
Those discovering the band for the first time quickly realize that their shows are more than concerts: they're wild, joyful experiences rarely contained by four walls; they're celebrations of tradition and culture expressed with an explosive punk spirit; they're ecstatic street parades that erupt from the collision of nostalgia and imagination.
- Wall Street Journal
The LBO enjoyed worldwide media attention last summer after playing klezmer music on a delayed Air Canada flight en route to a three week tour of Romania-- the video garnered 250,000+ YouTube hits and was covered by CNN, New York Times, Fox News, Huffington Post, Jimmy Kimmel, CBC, CTV, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and more.
"absolutely alive and electric... like a traveling musical caravan burning wildly across the night sky" - AlanCross.ca
2012 was a monumental year for LBO: they released their debut full-length album "Lume, Lume" (produced by Michael Phillip Wojewoda at Toronto's Revolution Recording), toured eight countries in Europe and North America, shared stages with the most renowned artists in their genre (Shantel and the Bucovina Club Orkestar, Taraf de Haidouks, and Fanfare Ciocarlia, among others), and were featured performers in “Midwinter Night: Sacred and Profane Rituals” at the legendary LaMaMa Theater in New York City.
"Music to shake you by the scruff, in the best possible way." - CBC Music
This was nothing short of expected to fans of the band in their hometown of Toronto, who bought up over 4,000 copies of the band's debut EP "Cheeky" last year, and eagerly follow the band to every corner of urban space: last August, LBO drew a 500 person crowd into the
Toronto subway system and took them to cavernous Union Station, where they performed an acoustic set in commemoration of the Eastern Seaboard blackout of 2003. Not surprisingly, they are a founding member of infamous Toronto urban folk collective, Fedora Upside-Down.
“If there was a way to bottle the unbridled energy of Lemon Bucket Orkestra's music and gigs, you'd have to slap a sticker on the contents with the warning,?Flammable Material!” - Toronto Sun
“Lume, Lume” features thirteen gritty, high-energy arrangements (and one secret track) of folk songs from across Eastern Europe.
“These traditional songs have been played for generations in various arrangements-- they've travelled with musicians to different lands and have mutated and adapted constantly,” says mohawked ringleader Mark Marczyk, who was teaching English and dancing Argentinian tango in Ukraine when he fell in with the street musicians who inspired him to form the Lemon Bucket Orkestra. “But there is a common thread-- they tell stories and carry emotions that bring people together... and that's something the urban landscape really needs.”
“One of a kind sound...the best party band ever!”
- Moses Znaimer, founder & CEO, ZoomerMedia
Mark Marczyk - Vocals and Violin
Tangi Ropars - Accordion
Os Kar - Percussion, Savage Drum
Alex Nahirny - Vocals, Guitar
Jaash Singh - Percussion, darbouka
Michael Louis Johnson - Trumpet
Anastasia Baczynskyj - Vocals
Rob Teehan - Sousaphone
Emilyn Stam - Violin
Stephania Woloshyn - Dance
Karl Silveira - Trombone
Mike Romaniak - sopilka
Nick Bulligan - Trumpet
Christopher Weatherstone - alto sax
John Williams - Clarinet
Lume, Lume (2012)
Fedora Upsidedown 2 Compilation (2012) - 7:40
Small World Music Festival Compilation (2011) - Opa Cupa
Fedora Upsidedown Compilation (2011) - Tomu Kosa
Closing Out the Year in Various Styles
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For some adventurously multicultural New Year's fare, head down to the Lower East Side to Mehanata, ...For some adventurously multicultural New Year's fare, head down to the Lower East Side to Mehanata, where the amazing Lemon Bucket Orchestra, billed as "Balkan Klezmer Gypsy Punk Super Party Band," makes a rare appearance in New York.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Lume, Lume
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Lemon Bucket Orkestra had a moment in the spotlight this year when a video of them playing a klezmer...Lemon Bucket Orkestra had a moment in the spotlight this year when a video of them playing a klezmer tune aboard a delayed Air Canada flight caught the trigger finger of hundreds of thousands of share-happy YouTubers. The video perfectly represents what the self-described “Balkan-Gypsy-klezmer-party-punk-super-band” does best: bring the sounds of eastern European folk traditions out of the realm of weddings and dances and unleash them on modern audiences.
The punked-up energy of the band’s busking and guerrilla performances is harder to convey on record, though this sophomore album does an admirable job. Their interpretations of tunes that have been passed down through generations clearly show off their personality and lush 13-piece instrumentation, which makes room for unique touches like the hidede (a violin amplified with a horn) amid the accordions, fiddles and chants.
Top track: Seminar
Lemon Mixes it all in Bucket
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The Toronto Sun Friday, december 14, 2012 If there was a way to bot-tle the unbridled energ... The Toronto Sun
Friday, december 14, 2012
If there was a way to bot-tle the unbridled energy of Lemon Bucket Orkestra’smusic and gigs, you’d have to slap a sticker on the contents with the warning,‘Flammable Material!
...While LBO’s shows andmusic epitomize the spirit of punk, rest assured the band members have great reverence for the roots of their high-octane mix...By all accounts, LBO’s show on Saturday promises to be legendary.“
What to do in Toronto
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Before one dies, one must witness a self-described “Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-party-punk-super-style” ban...Before one dies, one must witness a self-described “Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-party-punk-super-style” band perform a Ukrainian Christmas show. Tonight offers one the opportunity to cross that experience off one’s, ahem, bucket list.
Review: Lemon Bucket Orkestra Lume, Lume
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This is an interesting one. The Lemon Bucket Orkestra is Toronto's only "Balkan-gypsy-klezmer-party-...This is an interesting one. The Lemon Bucket Orkestra is Toronto's only "Balkan-gypsy-klezmer-party-punk-super-band." Even if Balkan music isn’t on your radar, The Lemon Bucket is absolutely alive and electric, while “Odessa Bulgarish” amasses frantic Balkan rhythms and is delivered with rash punk rock intension.
Sounds like: A traveling musical caravan burning wildly across the night sky.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra's Lume, Lume - Album Stream and Track Guide
Music to shake you by the scruff, in the best possible way...
Disque - The Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Lume, Lume
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Les quatorze musiciens torontois de Lemon Bucket Orkestra sont tous dans la vingtaine, abordent le r...Les quatorze musiciens torontois de Lemon Bucket Orkestra sont tous dans la vingtaine, abordent le répertoire des Roms d’Europe de l’Est, arborent les cheveux longs ou le mohawk et peuvent lâcher des cris infernaux. Ils se sont fait connaître par les « guérillas musicales » qu’ils ont offertes dans les rues et les métros. Ils ont aussi la réputation d’être un sacré groupe de scène et le répertoire de leur premier disque complet est pour le moins vitaminé.
Contrairement à plusieurs disques des Balkans qui se rendent jusqu’ici, on n’y retrouve pas de versions de pièces occidentales. Ils mélangent la guitare, le violon et l’accordéon à la clarinette, aux cuivres et aux percussions. Ils ont aussi le sousaphone et, pour bien traduire leur esprit punk, la batterie dite « sauvage ». Il leur arrive de respirer, de chanter a cappella et de laisser sortir le méchant par la plainte dans les intros, mais, pour des gadjos, ils ont une puissante énergie.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra bring Romanian Music to Romania
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By Christopher Johnson Special to the Star Jun 02, 2012 ORADEA, ROMANIA—In a dark room with poc...By Christopher Johnson
Special to the Star
Jun 02, 2012
ORADEA, ROMANIA—In a dark room with pockmarked walls, the local youth stare at the band in disbelief.
The 14-member band are doing something long forgotten by most Romanians — playing complex folk and Roma gypsy tunes, and belting out boozy choruses in Ukrainian, Serbian and other regional languages. But to the surprise of many, these minstrels are not Romanian old-timers. The Lemon Bucket Orkestra is mainly comprised of muscular Canadian party animals in their twenties who look and act like punks with long blond hair, neon mohawks, and a wild spirit formed in guerrilla street performances in downtown Toronto and most recently, on board a delayed Air Canada flight at Pearson International Airport.
“Isn’t it nice that a nice group of Canadians are playing nice music from your country?” band leader and violinist Mark Marczyk asks a crowd of about 150 on a Sunday night in May at Bar Mosckva in the baroque city of Oradea near the Hungarian border.
Though many in the audience can’t speak English, they understand the frenetic energy of their regional music performed with attitude by a brass band who, by the end of the show, are playing half-naked on bar tops. Drunk on wheat beer or shots of Palinka fire-water, the locals dance like mad and ask for autographs, CDs and posters after the show.
“I never heard of this band before, but when they went on top of the bar (to play), it was the best thing I’ve ever seen,” said Ibolya Kemenes, a teacher in a village near Oradea. “It’s like folk music for us. Bands from other countries in Europe mix in Romanian folk songs, but nobody makes such a good show.”
“It’s not something which we always see in Romania,” said Alafi Andrei, a hairstylist in Oradea with funky piercings. “It’s full of energy, and they play their instruments very well.”
The band (including — let’s make a full disclosure here — my brother Michael Louis Johnson on trumpet) are not the first Toronto act trying to conquer Europe. But unlike Broken Social Scene or other Canadian rockers who took Western music to Europe, the ensemble are trying to bring traditional melodies and phrases back to audiences accustomed to Céline Dion and Bryan Adams.
“We want people to appreciate their own music,” says Marczyk. “It’s great music, and the shows have been amazing.”
Turned off by rock bands who play 40-minute sets and go home, LBO will show up in a Romanian town, busk in a square, then do shows that spill over into friendly street parties or parades. Like the gypsies of yore, they pass around a hat, asking people “how much is music worth to you?”
Wading into the crowd, they form a circle, down shots of Palinka — a brandy — and belt out ancient anthems. The vibe becomes like a wedding party, or a class reunion of strangers with a common connection to forgotten roots. Nobody seems to leave or feel left out.
The impassioned response of Romanian audiences, especially in shows this week in Oradea, Arad, Timisoara and Cluj-Napoca, has surprised everyone who thought that traditional music had died years ago. “The Romanian bands I’ve seen are all playing rock ’n’ roll. They want to be Western groups,” says Emmanuel Plasseraud, a Paris-based filmmaker, who caught an LBO concert by chance during a film festival in Cluj-Napoca, and followed the band to Oradea.
“I thought they were a Romanian group at first, and I was surprised to hear they are Canadian. They play this traditional music very well.”
To promote the upcoming International Romani Arts Festival in Bucharest, Dan Olar, 25, a burly Romanian drummer and booking agent, wanted an energetic, danceable band. He knew some LBO members, such as accordionist Tangi Ropars and drummer Oscar Lambarri, from their previous tour in Romania with gypsy punk band Worldly Savages, and invited LBO with only about a month’s notice.
Marczyk, a 27-year old from Etobicoke, said “We have to go. We’ll find a way.” Having spent two years in Lvov, Ukraine, where he taught literature students about Neil Young and Tragically Hip lyrics, he wanted his bandmates to learn about the origin of their music — as well as regional issues such as discrimination against Roma gypsies, who’ve been kicked out of cities and live in forests and garbage dumps which even aid workers won’t enter. With only a few weeks to prepare for the 17-day tour, LBO busked in Yorkville and elsewhere in Toronto to raise $15,000 for plane tickets.
Then they got lucky. Their Air Canada flight to Frankfurt was delayed. The band knew what to do.
Known for marching out of Saturday-night gigs at La Palette onto Queen Street, LBO have played “guerrilla performances” on streetcars and Toronto subways. So, stuck on the tarmac at Pearson, they got out their instruments and performed four songs, drawing praise from passengers and supportive tweets from the Vancouver Opera, Calgary Folk Festival and even Air Canada, who tweeted: “We love Klezmer too! Thanks Lemon Bucket Orkestra for the impromptu performance.”
The video “Balkan Station,” shot by Toronto video-maker Joshua Barndt, accompanying the band on tour, drew more than 200,000 views on YouTube and was followed by appearances on CTV, CBC, CNN, Fox and Jimmy Kimmel Live, as well as in the newspapers USA Today and the Daily Mail and other media worldwide.
Their first show was with Taraf de Haidouks, a collective of Roma village musicians renowned throughout Europe but largely ignored in their native Romania. Instead of opening for their idols, they followed them, playing at the Silver Church club from 1:30 to 3 a.m. Hungover and jet lagged, LBO played four shows the next day, including an impromptu Canadian Embassy gig and a workshop with impoverished Roma gypsy schoolchildren.
Driving through Transylvania and the dangerous roads of the Carpathian Mountains, LBO played in an upmarket disco, a rooftop, and a riverside boat. Crammed into college dorms or hotels, sharing beds and floors, they slept only a few hours a night. One member twisted an ankle, another flew to Holland with food poisoning, while another pulled a chest muscle by vomiting too hard.
But like the cold roads of cross-country Canada tours that make or break Canadian bands, LBO’s European journey has galvanized the ensemble behind its mission of popularizing traditional culture.
“Being completely out of our comfort zone has accelerated the process of understanding each other,” says Marczyk, who calls LBO a family. “Any tour will have difficulties, especially for a 14-piece band. This trip has really opened up people to solving problems.”
The key, he jokes, is to “find out what the local drink is, and drink it. You will attract locals, and gel together as a band.”
After Monday night’s show in the funky courtyard of an apartment complex in Olar’s hometown of Arad, the band downed shots of Palinka, ate some awful shawarmas and sat by a pond listening to frogs until sunrise. The next day, Olar and a few hungover band members got lemons tattooed on their bodies.
Though shows have been packed with mad dancing and cheering crowds, the band made little money at first. Even a Roma street urchin, hawking CDs on a highway under construction, refused to take theirs in order to sell pirate copies of it, saying “It’s Romanian old-time music. I can’t sell it.”
But after Tuesday night’s performance on a riverboat in Timisoara, a crowd of about 200 bought 48 CDs. On Wednesday night, crowds went crazy during their three sets in Cluj-Napoca.
LBO are set to record their first full-length album right away in Toronto with Michael Phillip Wojewoda, who produced the Barenaked Ladies and Ashley MacIsaac. But first, to mark their triumphant return to Pearson: LBO invited more than 5,000 friends on Facebook to a “concert” at the arrivals gate, which they played Thursday without prior permission from police or airport authorities, after their flight arrived.
Though burning out from two weeks of madness and little sleep, LBO members are already talking about returning to Europe to build a fan base with a full album to tout. One new fan in Zalau asked them to do a “wedding tour” of Romania next summer, while an elderly gypsy lady in Bucharest, who bought their CD for 20 lei (about $6), told them “Our grandchildren must hear this.”
For the mad trad punks of the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, it was music to their ears.
Music Feature - The Lemon Bucket Orkestra
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It’s 10 pm on a Tuesday, and the corner of Church and Wellington is packed. Over the heads of revell...It’s 10 pm on a Tuesday, and the corner of Church and Wellington is packed. Over the heads of revellers, surreptitious flask-sippers and confused patio-sitters, a tuba, a violin and a megaphone peek out, the muffled sounds of energetic Ukrainian folk barely audible over handclaps, percussion and audience chants.
It’s not where I expected to be when I arranged to meet up with the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, but it’s hardly out of the ordinary for the band’s 14 members. I’d met up with Toronto’s self-proclaimed “only Balkan-klezmer-Gypsy-punk super-band” at Bloor and Spadina, but we’d somehow ended up in the midst of a hundreds-strong celebration – part public space intervention, part fire-spinning, street-dancing block party – commemorating the ninth anniversary of the great Toronto blackout of 2003.
“We love to play for people when they’re not expecting it,” says mohawked fiddler/bandleader Mark Marczyk. “Venues and festivals are fun, but what’s really awesome is getting people who aren’t saying, ‘I’m going to a folk festival to listen to folk or to a jazz festival to listen to jazz,’ but ‘I’m going to work and there’s a group of people having fun and celebrating life. I should be doing that, too.’”
Just as likely to be found marching outside a venue as inside it, the band updates the traditional sounds of Eastern European music with a modern punk edge, breaking it out of its specialized niche and bringing it to the streets of Canada.
They’ve mostly done this from a position of relative obscurity, though they recently won some internet fame when a video of them playing a spontaneous Gypsy folk tune aboard a delayed Air Canada flight spread to the pages of Gawker, CNN and Fox News.
That flight, taking them to Romania for a tour, was only a small part of their adventure. In the three weeks prior to leaving, they’d raised $15,000 for the trip through street busking, and then, after playing 15 shows in two weeks, went home with a letter from the Canadian embassy in Romania hailing them as “cultural ambassadors” and “crusaders for diversity and respect.”
“We’re not about representing Canadian culture so much as the Canadian open mind,” says flamboyant moustached accordionist Tangi Ropars (originally from Brittany, France). “We’re not just about sharing and mixing different cultures, but also learning about other cultures and respecting their traditions. We want to create a circle of creative energy.”
Blackout Party Goes for a Ride
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Lemon Bucket Orkestra convenes a blackout anniversary party on—and under—downtown streets. In 200...Lemon Bucket Orkestra convenes a blackout anniversary party on—and under—downtown streets.
In 2003, Toronto—along with much of Ontario and the northeastern United States—experienced a blackout that brought most regularly scheduled activities to a halt. Shops started handing out free ice cream before it melted, neighbours checked on each other by candlelight, and downtown residents saw stars that were usually blotted out by the light. Every August since, the city’s seen one kind of blackout anniversary party or another, marking what turned out, for most people, to be an impromptu night of fun.
In that tradition on Tuesday night, some Torontonians gathered at Bloor and Spadina, summoned by the Lemon Bucket Orkestra for a street party. After a ride on the subway down to Union Station, the crowd stopped for another song (and a crowdsurfing kayaker), before walking down Front Street and meeting up with a Critical Mass bike ride en route to the Flatiron Building, where there were more songs, fire jugglers, and assorted forms of revelry.
Band Makes Most of Delayed Flight
Band makes most of delayed flight! (see video)
Lemon Bucket Orkestra Plays for passengers on delayed Air Canada flight
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Passengers on a delayed Air Canada flight from Toronto to Frankfurt were treated to an impromptu con...Passengers on a delayed Air Canada flight from Toronto to Frankfurt were treated to an impromptu concert on Wednesday when the band Lemon Bucket Orkestra broke out their instruments for a klezmer hoedown in economy class.
"Our plane got delayed 20 minutes so we got out the instruments," the band wrote on its YouTube page.
The band's jovial music was met with enthusiasm and, from the looks of it, a bit of confusion by the flight's passengers, who had not expected a performance from a band that bills itself as "Toronto's only Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy_Party_pun Super-Band."
The video of the performance was apparently taken by a roadie or fan joining the band on its "Balkan Station Romanian Tour."
Delayed Air Canada flight gets a dose of klezmer
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When stuck aboard a delayed airplane, there are generally only a small number of socially acceptable...When stuck aboard a delayed airplane, there are generally only a small number of socially acceptable behaviours travellers can engage in.
Try to get some shuteye. Thumb through a book. Check a tablet or smartphone. Stare blankly at the seat in front or engage in conversation with a passenger in the adjacent seat.
As a YouTube video posted Wednesday shows, none of these options appealed to members of the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, who were recently on a delayed flight to Frankfurt from Toronto's Pearson International airport.
The group, which describes itself as "Toronto's only Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Party-Punk Super-Band," decided instead to break out their instruments and delight their fellow passengers with a four-song set
The Lemon Bucket Orkestra at Ideacity
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Formed in 2010 out of an eclectic cadre of young world-travelers, The Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s explos...Formed in 2010 out of an eclectic cadre of young world-travelers, The Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s explosive take on Balkan/Gypsy/Klezmer music has attracted the most adventurous souls in Toronto’s music community. The group is now comprised of fourteen players whose diverse musical and cultural backgrounds create a colourful folk fusion of various Eastern European traditions. Fully acoustic and mobile, the band’s legendary high-energy live shows can rarely be contained by four walls and often end in spontaneous street parties, parades and all-night jam sessions.
In their first year and a half of existence, the Lemon Bucket Orkestra has brought their unique folk-party vibe to many venues in Toronto that were in need of celebration and spiritual fulfillment, from the city’s major festivals and concert venues to its most interesting hidden alleys and streets. After selling out the first printing of their debut EP “Cheeky” in three months, the band is developing material for a debut full length release, while continuing to spread their world/folk revolution nationwide.
The Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Busting Busking Barriers
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The 14 members of the traditional folk-music collective Lemon Bucket Orkestra aren’t afraid to march...The 14 members of the traditional folk-music collective Lemon Bucket Orkestra aren’t afraid to march to the beat of their own drum, or sax, or sousaphone, or flugelhorn, or button accordion, or—well, you get the picture.
Locally renowned since 2010 for pop-up concerts in unexpected spots—anywhere from street corners to the Island to Union Station to Air Canada flights—the Lemon Bucket Orkestra is now hitting bigger (and actual) stages. They played the closing weekend of the 2012 Luminato Festival, have a spot coming up in this year’s Nuit Blanche, and just completed a 15-day tour through Romania where they impressed audiences with their high-energy, half-naked, mohawked performances of the country’s traditional music.
The collective will release its debut full-length album, Lume Lume, in October, and Torontoist spoke with Mark Marczyk (violin/vocals) and Os Kar (savage drum) about staying true to their signature guerilla-style performances and traditional sounds...
Orkestra hailed as one of city’s liveliest acts
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TORONTO — Watching the members of Lemon Bucket Orkestra, the 14-piece, self-described “Balkan-klezme...TORONTO — Watching the members of Lemon Bucket Orkestra, the 14-piece, self-described “Balkan-klezmer-Gypsy-party-punk super band,” made their way onto the small stage at LOT (Lower Ossington Theatre) recently, with nothing but a dainty red carpet hanging behind them, I had to remind myself that I was still in the cultural hub of Toronto, at an event funded by the Ashkenaz Foundation, and not at a local pub in Kiev.
And that was before the eccentric collective, some members dressed in traditional Gypsy attire, some sporting wild and unusual eastern European-looking garments, even picked up their instruments.
Over the last year or so, the Toronto-based Lemon Bucket Orkestra has acquired a fair bit of media attention, being hailed by many as one of the city’s liveliest and most energetic party bands. Sitting with the eclectic group of people at the concert, it was easy to see why.
Lead vocalist Mark Marczyk – who adopted eastern European music and culture while living in Ukraine – barely stopped to take a breath in between sets, emitting an enthusiastic “whopa!” or a shrill whistle every so often, and singing in a variety of dialects. These charismatic gestures and those of the rest of the orchestra easily won over the crowd.
The official website for Lemon Bucket Orkestra says the band “grew out of a conversation between a Breton accordionist and a Ukrainian fiddler in a Vietnamese restaurant on Yonge Street.” Since then, although the fiddle and the accordion continue to play a vital role in the group’s esthetic, it’s expanded to include several violins, bass, guitar, percussion and a complete brass section that includes a sousaphone, a trombone and a flugelhorn.
Using these diverse instruments, the group blends klezmer, punk, folk, Ukrainian, ex-Yugoslav and Romani genres of music. Marczyk has claimed that the members of the group are not purists, never adhering to one particular kind of musical influence. It shows.
The band would engage in Irish-sounding, head-pounding melodies in one set, then transition to Yiddish-soaked klezmer with an engaging accordion solo.
No matter what the influence, every song the band performed was a catalyst for foot stomping and hora-style dancing, the audience constantly clapping their hands in unison with the fierce, upbeat rhythms, cheering at various instrumental solos and admiring the belly dancing of Anastasia Baczynskyj, the group’s co-lead vocalist.
In the middle of the performance, Baczynskyj, who often danced waving a small handkerchief in her hand, asked the audience if anyone had ever been to a Jewish wedding, which resulted in a tremendous amount of cheer and applause.
The remainder of the set seemed appropriate for such a momentous occasion. With more than a dozen musicians sharing the quaint stage, all playing their instruments attentively and vigorously – the string section more often than not taking the lead – the music in many ways resembled that of the wedding scene in Fiddler On The Roof.
Members of Lemon Bucket Orkestra come from all over the world, but their birth as a musical force took place in Toronto. They are frequent performers at various locales in Kensington Market, the Great Hall and Horseshoe Tavern, the venue where they held the release party for their debut EP, Cheeky, which was recorded at the CBC in Toronto and mixed by local producer John Bailey.
Though there is nothing “Canadian” about their music, the group continues to take charge of Toronto’s “folk party” scene, which, thanks to them, is becoming a widespread movement in the city.
Visit the band’s website (www.lemonbucket.com) or CBC Radio 3 to stream a song from their EP.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra: The Vivoscene Interview
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A Vivoscene Interview by Jeff Halperin If you haven’t heard of them, Lemon Bucket Orkestra is one...A Vivoscene Interview by Jeff Halperin
If you haven’t heard of them, Lemon Bucket Orkestra is one of Toronto’s premier folk-party bands. If that sounds like a funny term, the interview will help explain what they’re about, but really it’s best to see them and the rest of their urban folk collective “Fedora Upside Down,” rock the Ukrainian Cultural Centre on October 22, 2011. The collective is launching an album with all eleven bands on two stages, so even by their standards of free wheeling musical insanity it’ll be a great time.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra grew out of a conversation between a Breton accordionist and a Ukrainian fiddler in a Vietnamese restaurant on Yonge Street. Their debut EP, Cheeky, was recorded at the CBC in Toronto and mixed by the renowned John Bailey. I went to Ideal Coffee in Toronto’s Kensington Market, to sit down with Marczyk and Tangi from Lemon Bucket, as well as Freeman Dre from Freeman Dre and the Kitchen, Now Magazine’s songwriter of the year in 2010 and a frequent colloborator from the collective.
J: Lemon Bucket Orkestra is basically musical multiculturalism incarnate. Can you even list all the musical influences?
Marczyk: We like to bill ourselves as a Balkan-klezmer-Gypsy-party-punk super band. So we play music from all around Eastern Europe, a lot of Ukrainian, Ex-Yugoslav, klezmer, a bit of Gypsy. And everyone brings his own flavour to it as well. Some people bring their swing and jazz background, there’s a punky side to it, celtic…lots of different influences. We try and let audiences know, though it doesn’t always happen when the energy is really high, that “this song is from this part of the world…this one’s a Hungarian gypsy tune and this one’s from Romania.” But it’s a blend too, we’re not total purists. There wouldn’t be a sousaphone, a trombone, or a flugelhorn in certain Romanian Gypsy fiddle and cimbalom tunes, but that’s our instrumentation and we adapt.
J: You guys have a lot of people in Lemon Bucket. Is it the same roster every night, or kind of a rotating door policy?
Marczyk: We’re fourteen people deep right now. We all have other bands we play with, Boxcar Boys, Kitchen Party. Sometimes people want something smaller, a violin and accordion player at their anniversary. We do lots of different kind of shows. It’s exciting for the audience too, they get a different version each time they come out.
J: Lemon Bucket Orkestra is one group in the larger collective, Fedora Upside Down. What unites all you guys? Is it musical, personal, something else or both?
Dre: Geographically we all live in the same neighbourhood, play in the same neighbourhood. A lot of it is like-mindedness and approach to the music and to the career of music, and to the scene in Toronto. A lot of it is a lack of a scene in Toronto. We three got together here and said, “look, we’re creating a little scene, why not give it a name, a context, something that people can associate it with.” That said, Fedora Upside Down is musically connected, and a lot of us play on each other’s albums, and part of it is embracing the diversity. Toronto is such a multi-cultural place, this collective is the same way, the influences behind the collective itself…you’d have to say “the world.” At this show on October 22nd you’re going to have eleven acts, singer -songwriters, flamenco, to straight up party bands. The uniting factor between them all might not be audible right away…
J: It’s almost philosophical too…
Marczyk: Yeah. One thing I didn’t like about Toronto after living in Ukraine for a couple years was the fact that there were these scenes. What we’re doing is less than creating a scene, but a lifestyle of living music. Not like, “here’s a scene, here are our gigs.” What’s missing is a time where musicians and audience members could get together and play together and create a community where all types of different music and that passion for playing music is promoted, supported…
J: It’s like a lifestyle.
Marczyk and Dre: Yeah!
Dre: And not narrow it down by style. Prior to this you can see in Toronto there’s various scenes but there’s a massive disconnect between the musicians and the audience. Even the bands towards each other there was a disconnect. A situation where there wasn’t an inclusiveness with the audience. We’re trying to bridge that gap. Taking it to the street, so apart from being active as musicians, active in the community…
Marczyk: Playing Pedestrian Sundays [in Kensington Market], bringing a crowd out into the street, playing for people for free, busking, playing in the park, choosing different venues and interesting places that aren’t about the scene but about the lifestyle. That’s why we chose the Ukrainian cultural centre because it’s not attached to any scene, it’s just a hall. It’s not like if you go to the Mod Club it’s going to be this, or to the Great Hall and it’ll be this kinda show. This is just a hall, it’s empty, put everyone in there and have a good time.
Dre: And the people who come to the show are just as important…
J: I grew up on the Grateful Dead…
J: It sounds like their relationship to San Francisco…
Dre: You can see it in the way we approach our Thursdays…there’s several acts that are worth $10 each, but we leave it on the crowd to donate what they can because we want them to feel like they’re a part of it, they have a say in what’s going down. We go out of our way to become friends with everyone.
Marczyk: It’s not unlikely that one of the bands is up on stage and all of a sudden, you turn around and there’s a clarinet in the back of the room playing. Nobody on stage is going to say, “fuck off man! This is a performance!” It’s like, “yeah! Somebody’s playing, great!” There’s this conception of musicians like you do music and you quit the working life 9-5, but then in the music scene there’s all these 9-5er musicians, you know? They’re in the business, not actually enjoying music. We enjoy what we do.
J: Most people don’t identify with the kind of authentic, exotic folk music you’re playing but you’re getting such a big following. Explain.
Dre: Well I think more and more are liking it, sure.
Marczyk: People don’t know it, it has to do with the energy of the performance and the connection with the audience, that’s what unites all of these bands too. It’s not the genre, it’s the energy of the performers and the willingness to break the boundary between performer and audience. That’s what people are reacting to. The rhythms are interesting, and the musicians are obviously awesome too, though it’s more than that, it’s the willingness to break that gap that people really appreciate.
J: It’s infectious. I saw you guys on a night when I was tired, maybe I had a beer or something, but I was dancing, and I don’t normally dance. I was surprised! [Laughter] I was like, “shit, they got me!”
Tangi: My legs are moving! Oh no!! [Laughter]
J: I wasn’t expecting it. You guys win! Hats off to ya.
Marczyk: We all win in that situation.
Tangi: You’re giving us a lot when you start dancing. For us right away we’re going to give you more. Because you’re giving us something, so “OK, now he’s giving us! We started giving, you’re giving now something, so we need to give more.” That’s how you get the best shows. After an hour and a half of music, if everyone’s always giving more, at the end everyone’s just insane! Everybody’s just giving everything, it’s like a trance. You create a trance between this crowd and the musicians. Everybody’s just in another world.
Marczyk: We notice when somebody’s going like this [tapping foot], and they’re on the verge of breaking through. That’s when we really try and push.
J: You really do? [Laughs] Because that’s me, not dancing but tapping away wondering, ” do they see me? Do they think I’m enjoying myself?”
Marczyk: There are some musicians who don’t care about the audience, they get up and do their thing. For us it’s the point, so we do notice those things. If there’s a quieter crowd, as sometimes happens in Toronto, we really try and push it to get everybody out of their shell.
J: I think [in Toronto] we’re known for being a bit cold. There are times where I’m in the audience thinking, “the band is looking at me and it doesn’t look like I’m enjoying myself but I am, I hope they appreciate that,” you know?
Marczyk: That’s a Toronto thing, but experience has shown that it can be broken. You just gotta really push! [Laughter] That’s the point.
Dre: For whatever reason, people in Toronto have grown embarrassed to show enthusiasm. We want to eliminate that. Like you were kinda embarassed, “you got me,” but you shouldn’t be, you should be proud, you know? A lot of times, I’ll do a show and someone at the back will say to me after, “that was the fuckin’ greatest show I’ve ever seen,” but in my mind I’m thinking “really? I wouldn’t know by the way you behaved.” But that’s a Toronto phenomenon we’re really trying to make people break out of, this feeling of being embarrassed or vulnerable, but to embrace it, because when they do, they end up having the best time. You let yourself go. And we’re doing it too. We’re as vulnerable, and we let go of our pretensions as well. Hopefully that becomes contagious.
J: Well, I think I’m a particularly bad dancer. [Laughter]
Dre: But a lot of people are like that. Whether it’s being a bad dancer, or being tired, we say you don’t have to feel any kind of embarrassment or shame about it, which you can see in some places they do. “Looking cool,” for whatever reason, is important for people, but you can look cool and still look stupid at the same time. And still have fun.
J: We touched on this briefly, but what’s your connection with Kensington Market? Whether it’s Pedestrian Sundays…do you think there’s a similarity between the vibe here and your ethos?
Marczyk: That’s hard to say, I wouldn’t say that we’re attached to any one location in Toronto, because we try to play in a lot of different places. I guess we are focused more in the west end of the the city…
Dre: Simply because of where we live.
Marczyk: Where we live, for sure. Part of creating a community is being in touch with the neighbourhood around you.
Dre: And being bicycle riders we don’t want to go too far.
Marzcyk: Kensington has been really awesome. Tangi first lived in Kensington when he moved here. We did lots of shows, lots of busking in the market.
Dre: We hang out in Kensington, played in Kensington tons. Definitely I think Tangi having lived in Kensington…like when I first started hanging out with Tangi, he lived in a house called “the crazy house.” We’d always jam there every night. It’d be the place where we’d go to have after-parties after playing Bread and Circus. We wouldn’t want people to think of the collective as a Kensington Market thing, but for sure, Kensington’s included..
Marczyk: One of the things we’re trying to do is bring that feeling that’s created at a Pedestrian Sunday every day out in the city. So yeah, we do come here and play and hang out during those times. But then it’s, “alright, how do we make it a lifestyle so it’s always like that?”
J: You don’t want to attach yourself to something, but they’re doing it here anyway and you want to bring it to other places…
Marczyk: Yeah…sure, and lots of our friends are part of this community, and it’s one we’re close to. But it’d be the same as saying of Lemon Bucket, we’re attached to the Ukrainian community, or the Ex-Yugoslav community…well we’re not, we just have our hands in many different places.
J: Any big shows coming up?
Dre: I play the Cadillac Lounge every Tuesday.
Marczyk: October 22nd is our big launch of the collective. We do every Thursday at the Cameron House. Those are concept nights, we call them F.U. Thursdays, where we assign a theme, and anybody from any of the bands can join. This Thursday [October 13] is the Cameron House’s 30th anniversary, so we have a few special collaborations in store. But we do dynamic, interesting stuff every Thursday; and the big show is October 22nd.
Dre: Mention that several times!
Marczyk: At the Ukrainian Hall at 83 Christie Street.
Dre: Starting at 7 and going all night.
Marczyk: Eleven bands, two stages, non-stop live music.
J: You guys are known for kinda spilling out onto the street.
Dre: There’ll probably be a spill! [Laughter]
Marczyk: At least a drop, a trickle!
Disk Review: The Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Cheeky
[+ Show ]
Disc Review The Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Cheeky (Fedora Upside Down) By Sarah Greene Self-des...Disc Review
The Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Cheeky
(Fedora Upside Down)
By Sarah Greene
Self-described as a Balkan-klezmer-Gypsy-party-punk super-band, Toronto’s Lemon Bucket Orkestra get the CBC treatment on their debut EP (it was recorded at Studio 211) of folk songs from Bosnia, Serbia, the Ukraine, Macedonia and Odessa.
More Gypsy-jazz than punk, the songs would suit dances, parties and weddings. Despite the number of musicians – 13 – the band is tight, the tunes well arranged, the vocals clear, and the violins, accordion, sopilka (a fife), clarinet and horns take turns soloing.
The Orkestra’s knack for drama comes through in their percussive use of drymba (Jew’s harp) in the first song, Ajde Jano. Romani (Gypsy) Opa Cupa is super-hyper, while proud-sounding Tomu Kosa is a highlight thanks to lead vocals by Anastasia Baczynskyj.
Lemon Bucket’s an enthusiastic crew, willing to experiment with mashing up traditions, as demonstrated by Freeman Dre’s silly guest hip-hop segment on Lemon-cheeky.
Top track: Tomu Kosa
NOW | July 28-August 4, 2011 | VOL 30 NO 48
Fato Mori Dushmanke
Nese Halya Vodu
Hegedut a Kezibe
PDF RiderLBO tech rider & stage plot
|Jul 5, 2013 Friday||8:00 PM||The Opera House||Toronto, ON, CA|
|the Lemon Bucket Orkestra welcomes Fanfare Ciocarlia. http://lboandfc.brownpapertickets.com/|