Lubo & Kaba Horo
Gig Seeker Pro

Lubo & Kaba Horo


Band World Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Lubo Alexandrov 15th April 2007"

The group has a strong influence of a funk/jazz/rock sound but it works with great rhythm section of drum and base stamping out the beat to appease a Cargo crowd. The Biggest cheers did go to accordion and kaval solos, which kept the music in its Bulgarian Folk/Gypsy roots. Lubo himself conducted the night with a calm rocking presence with his duel language skills could explain to us the songs and also have some Bulgarian banter with the Bulgarian’s in the crowd. To see Lubo’s double neck guitar front the band it reminded of the days of rock guitar heroes. I had a vision of them breaking out into the a Balkan Whitesnake!! Perhaps it is clever poly to attract those in the Balkans who love has-been rock stars, back to some rocking roots music!!!!

The album Kaba Horo is an instrumental but the live version of the band sings. This was better and I did prefer much more. Perhaps the band could go back to the studio and cut a few vocal tracks. This is one band that has bridged the gap of fusing jazz, rock, funk, soul, gypsy and folk very well. The Hungarian band Kerekes should take note as the album they done under the banner ethno funk Folk fusion was awful. Next time Lubo Alexandrov are in town do go if you want to dance the night away or just stand and nod your head with beer in hand either way you will feel cleansed of the fever you knew you never had.

I had picked up on Lubo Alexandrov on my space some months back. I like what they do so check them out

- Leon Parker

"Old-world urban sound"

It happens almost faster than the ear can handle.
The drum 'n' bass groove that kicks off Lubo Alexandrov's A.J. yields to a traditional-sounding Gypsy melody, with the guitarist's lyrical lines echoed by Pascal Boudreault's sax. The horn is soon replaced by Emil Iliev's accordion, as a tricky stop-start rhythm gets under way. Instruments collide, double and harmonize in a frenzied dance that makes way for Eastern-flavoured jazz.
And we're less than a minute and a half into the track.

There's no mistaking that Alexandrov and his band, Kaba Horo, belong to an endangered species: musicians who, when playing together, don't really sound like anyone else. But the Bulgarian-born axeman, who moved to Montreal in 1992, almost fell into the trap of being just another picker.
"A lot of people - including me - fall in love with jazz greats like Pat Metheny or John Scofield or Keith Jarrett. And we just go, 'Oh, my God! I want to play like him.' We just work and work, and we try to sound like that. But the reality is that it doesn't go like that. I realized that you could not share somebody else's energy with people. You have to share the language and the feelings that you have."
So Alexandrov reached back to his childhood in Bulgaria, to the Varna region where he lived with his grandparents until he was 7. His grandfather, Atanas Ganchev, was a kaval (wooden flute) player of some repute, and his grandmother, Elana, was a folksinger. Musicians would show up at their home two or three times a week to eat and trade songs, Alexandrov remembered. Delighted with the earthy, folky camaraderie, the young boy took up the kaval himself, but had his head turned by rock 'n' roll when he was 11. AC/DC and Deep Purple had come calling. Jazz wasn't far behind.
But the gospel according to Metheny wasn't enough. "In 2002, I had this explosion inside of me," Alexandrov said. The detonation was sparked by a return home to Bulgaria for a Gypsy wedding and a meeting with Turkish musician Erkan Ogur, who introduced Alexandrov to the wonders of the fretless guitar - the better to reach some of the notes that fall between the cracks, particularly in Eastern music.
"I decided, 'That's it! That's what I want to do!," Alexandrov said. "I wanted to go back and play that music I grew up with, but I also wanted to put what I love now in it." Bulgarian dance music, Gypsy songs and Turkish sounds were beefed up with urban grooves. With that hybrid, Alexandrov was in a position to redefine the jazz chops he had learned in Bulgaria from guitarist Alexander Petkov and consolidated with two years of music at Concordia University, plus a few years of local club gigs.
Fortuitously, two other Bulgarian musicians, Iliev and bassist Georgi Stankov, showed up on the Montreal music scene to add authenticity to Alexandrov's new concept. Boudreault, drummer Martin Auguste and Chet Doxas on clarinet were then recruited to record the eight tracks that ultimately made up Alexandrov's recently released debut, also named Kaba Horo. Ramachandra Borcar - also known as DJ Ram and the man behind Ramasutra's exotica - produced with Alexandrov.

The band's first performance was on an outdoor stage at the 2004 edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. With that show, the city was introduced to some unusual notes it might not have heard before.
Alexandrov deals in makams - complex groups of notes that might sound different from Western scales. Some of those notes might actually fall between two Western notes. That's why he often plays a fretless guitar, a rarely-used instrument with a smooth fretboard that allows the player to slide across the neck. "There's a lot more fluidity in the sound and playing - a more voice-like quality," Alexandrov said. Oriental music, particularly of the Turkish variety, benefits greatly from the extra scope, he said.
Alexandrov's unusual instrument helps feed the complicated polyrhythms of Kaba Horo, now a seven-piece unit with Mark Simons in Doxas's spot and Anes Beglerbegovic on darbuka and bendir. Challenging as the tempos are, Alexandrov makes them swing.

"I'm not a fan of making music more complicated than it needs to be," Alexandrov said. "These tempos are danced in my country. They're very common dance rhythms, and we do them because they're fun. You can take that music from Bulgaria and play the grooves - but not like the Bulgarians do them. You play them like a jazz guy or a funk guy will do them. It's different. Sounds a little more hip."


1. Contrabanda (CCM/Fusion3) - 2008
2. Kaba Horo (ENJA/Justin time) - 2006



The versatility of Kaba Horo covers a wide spectrum, from contagious dance floor demands, delving into the cauldron of hot, fast and complex sounds that celebrate life’s earthy camaraderie to the more emotional evocations of Middle Eastern styles. While their roots are in Balkan gypsy village wedding music, the band also takes it into the ghetto of urban funk, rock and jazz. Their passionate, go-for-the throat spirit and energy is a knock out experience.

Their first CD was released in 2006 on the German based ENJA label and won the 2007 JUNO for best world music album in Canada. Their second CD, to be released in October 2008, features world famous guest artists such clarinettist Serkan Cagri (Turkey) and singers Neno Iliev (Bulgaria) and Brenna MacCrimmon (Turkey/Canada), among others.

A truly global band, they are a mix of Bulgarian Gypsy and Montreal based musicians: the front end of the performances is covered by Deyan Mitev's charismatic vocal performance, Lubo’s fast paced pickings on fretless/fretted guitars and vocals, Nedyalko Nedyalkov’s virtouso playing on kaval and zurna, Emil Iliev’s high speed accordion fingering while saxophonist Eric Hove provides the sharp improvising embellishments with all of it backed by Georgi Stankov’s funky bass and the rhythmic pulses of drummer Martin Auguste.

Recent performances include: Balkan Fever Festival - London / 1st Balkan Trafic Festival – Brussels / Zacatecas International Festival – Mexico / Zinco Jazz Club – Mexico City / Montreal International Jazz Festival / Vancouver International Jazz Festival / SunFest – London, Canada / Winnipeg Folk Festival / Toronto Global Grooves, etc.