Blato Zlato is a New Orleans-based Balkan band featuring dreamy three-part vocal harmonies over hard-hitting instrumentals. The band performs folk and composed music from the Balkans and Eastern Europe with a particular focus on Bulgarian songs and dark, improvisational arrangements. Blato Zlato was recently featured by the Gambit Weekly in its 2017 Music Issue highlighting up-and-coming bands to watch in New Orleans. Their debut album, “Swamp Gold,” and second release, “VOYAGE (EP),” were released in 2017.
Based in Louisiana yet rooted in Balkan traditions, New Orleans’ Blato Zlato features dreamy three-part vocal harmonies over hard-hitting instrumentals inspired by both the ancient traditions of their heritage and the musical influences of their lives today. With many band members raised in Eastern Europe and having ancestry there, the band’s music aims to explore and preserve the traditional elements of Balkan music that make it so unique – the rhythm, melody, harmony and storytelling – but musically translate these songs with influences of each member’s unique musical background. Elements of classical, jazz, and even psychedelic and metal seep through the folk arrangements, forming Blato Zlato’s unprecedented genre of progressive Balkan folk-rock. A recent review from OffBeat Magazine describes their debut album, Swamp Gold, as “aggressive… a band rocking out with exotic sounds…. The best moments happen when [the vocal] harmonies meet with the band’s rolling thunder.”
Following the release of their debut album Swamp Gold (January 2017), the band has begun to tour nationally and perform at festivals, and has had opportunity to collaborate with such local and national artists as Nels Cline (Wilco), Binky Griptite (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings), Dustan Louque, Leyla McCalla, Carl LeBlanc (Sun Ra Arkestra), and Wendell Brunious (Preservation Hall Jazz Band All Stars). Their second release, a golden vinyl 10” record called VOYAGE (EP), was released in December 2017 and was featured at a weekend-long show produced by Blato Zlato at New Orleans Airlift’s Music Box Village commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Voyager Golden Record’s launch into space.
Blato Zlato was recently featured by the Gambit Weekly newspaper in its 2017 Music Issue highlighting up-and-coming bands to watch in New Orleans, and their debut album, “Swamp Gold,” was nominated for Best Album of 2017 in No Depression: The Journal of Roots Music.
“Aggressive… a band rocking out with exotic sounds….gorgeous voices…The best moments happen when the [vocal] harmonies meet with the band’s rolling thunder.” – OffBeat Magazine
“[Swamp Gold] weaves actual bayou sounds into joyous, meditative rhythms and melodies colliding with dense three-part harmonies.” – The Gambit Weekly as part of their 2017 “artists to watch” feature
“[Blato Zlato] kicked the doors down at this year’s Golden Fest…a very impressive show… everybody was blown away!” – NYC Radio Live
“[Blato Zlato’s Swamp Gold] infuses tradition with dark, dreamy, original arrangements and the sounds of the Louisiana swamp.” – Folk Radio UK
“Released in tandem with a gorgeous multimedia performance to celebrate the anniversary of the Voyager spacecraft and its Golden Records, the Balkans-inspired band released its interpretation of Bulgarian classic “Izlel e Delyo Haidutin,” as well as an original composition, an indictment of xenophobic groupthink, asking the world to keep up with the band’s galactic ambitions.” – The Gambit Weekly, on VOYAGE (EP)
“Parfait.” (“Perfect.”) – Nova Express Musique
“Custom dark arrangements, three-part vocal harmonies and swelling instrumentals.” – NOLA Defender
“Alternately exuberant and plaintive, with sweet singing, sturdy Old World percussion, and lively New World folk dance fiddling. The shimmering voices are strong enough to stand alone.” –Lorena Moore, Bandcamp review
“[Golden Festival’s] out-of-town surprises include Balkan-funk stew Blato Zlato” – The Village Voice
- Nov. 16, 2017 – Discovery of Voyager at the Music Box Village
- Oct. 1, 2017 – Release of Music Video, Izlel e Delyo Haidutin
- Sept. 5, 2017 – Kickstarter Campaign for Discovery of Voyager
- May 17, 2017 – Release of Debut Music Video, Miatalo Lenche Iabalka
- Dec. 30, 2016 – Release of Debut Album, Swamp Gold
DakhaBrakha, Slavic Soul Party, “Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares” (Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir), Warsaw Village Band, Beirut, Dikanda, Beats Antique