West Philadelphia Orchestra
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West Philadelphia Orchestra plays music that is mostly rooted in Eastern European folk music traditions, but we do it with our own voices, Philadelphia voices nourished by our jazz heritage, tinged with punk rock, soul, and cheesesteaks, and blended with the voices of our community. As a village band, we aim to uplift, inspire, and unify the community by playing music that renders boundaries obsolete and represents excellence. We play concerts on big stages, concerts in tiny corners; we play house parties and block parties; benefits and protest rallies; weddings and any occasion for celebration; and everywhere we play, feet stomp, hands clap, hips sway, people grab hold of one another, lift their glasses, and celebrate life, absurdity, and what is best in us.
With a line-up of Philadelphia musicians whose influences range from Sun Ra to Bulgarian brass bands, West Philadelphia Orchestra is a unique live ensemble in today’s auto-tuned musical world. They began playing Romanian ballads, Macedonian folk-dance songs, Bulgarian wedding music, and Klezmer in late 2006, and have continued expanding their repertoire of Eastern European music. The band also plays original tunes which blend other sounds, like jazz and classical, together with traditional Balkan sounds. As much a community as a band, WPO’s performances are celebratory events. With blistering beats and walls of brass, they inspire audiences to hold hands, gyrate, howl, and otherwise slip the yoke of the homogenized culture industry.