Blato Zlato’s Sophomore Album
HOMETOWN: New Orleans, LA
LANGUAGES ON ALBUM: Bulgarian, Macedonian, Megrelian
DISCOGRAPHY: Swamp Gold (2017), Voyage (EP, 2017), In the Wake (2019)
RIYL: DakhaBrakha, Kitka, Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares, Laboratorium Piesni, Black Sea Hotel, Silk Road Ensemble
New Orleans’ preeminent Balkan band, Blato Zlato, will release their anticipated second full-length album, In The Wake, on Friday, Nov. 22. The album pays homage to the band’s dual musical homes of New Orleans and Bulgaria, featuring modern interpretations of Balkan folk traditions steeped in the band’s uniquely dark sound and inspired by their lives in New Orleans, a city teeming with both musical richness and seasonal flooding. The result is a concept album that, while musically rooted in Bulgarian tradition, reflects heavily on New Orleans’ tenuous yet binding relationship with nature.
In advance of the full album release, Blato Zlato has released the album’s first single, Vodata Teche (“The Water Flows”) through a premiere by the international folk-music platform Folk Radio UK, released Oct. 25 as an Editor’s Pick. The song is an original composition written by the band in Bulgarian about climate change and water’s omnipresence in New Orleans. It would be easy to confuse the song for an old folk song, as it draws heavily from traditional musical elements of Bulgarian folklore, such as a 7/8 rhythm, three-part polyphonic vocals, modal melodies, and Bulgarian lyrics that explore themes of man’s interaction with nature. Yet the subject matter is inherently modern: written in New Orleans in 2018, the lyrics speak of the band’s growing concern about climate change and its effects on their home state of Louisiana. The lyrics remind us of the omnipresence of water—flowing under the houses, flowing under the streets—and warn the listener that “water waits for you all.” The track begins and ends with musical mimicry of the ocean and nearby (disappearing) coastline.
Fans can also download the single along with a pre-order of the album via the band’s Bandcamp page. Vodata Teche will be accompanied by a music video directed by Sasha Solodukhina and Sarah VanDerMeer of All of Them Witches, to be released prior to the full album release.
In The Wake follows Blato Zlato’s debut album, Swamp Gold, which received critical acclaim following its release in January 2017, as well as a limited-edition vinyl EP, Voyage, released in December 2017. The release of Voyage culminated in a large-scale performance entitled “The Discovery of Voyager” commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Voyager golden record. The show was directed and produced by the band, hosted at New Orleans’ famed Music Box Village in partnership with New Orleans Airlift, members of Preservation Hall, and assorted artists such as Helen Gillet, Rebecca Crenshaw (Arcade Fire, Samantha Fish), Carl LeBlanc (Sun Ra Arkestra) and Binky Griptite (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings).
The album will be released on CD complete with a lyrics and translation booklet as well as on all major digital distribution sites, including Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon Music. Fans can pre-order the album now and receive the advance single on the band’s Bandcamp page at blatozlato.bandcamp.com.
The album release will be celebrated through a Balkan-music blowout bash featuring Balkan bands Trendafilka and Backyard Balkan Brass Band from 6:30-11:00 PM at the Happyland Theater (3126 Burgundy St, New Orleans, LA 70117).
1. Vodata Teche (6:29)
2. Pusta Mladost (5:22)
3. Oblache Cherno (7:08)
4. Janka Prez Gora Vurveshe (4:41)
5. Asho Chela (5:03)
6. Gaidine Sviryat (4:53)
7. Rodino Moio (4:20)
8. Shto Imala K’smet Stamena (5:16)
9. Kanjat Me Mamo (5:37)
-All Tracks FCC Clean-
Lou Carrig: Accordion, Vocals | Ian Cook: Violin | Ruby Corbyn-Ross: Vocals, Riqq (Track 2) | Janie Cowan: Upright Bass, Riqq (Track 8) | Annalisa Kelly: Vocals | Boyanna Trayanova: Tapan, Caxixi (Track 4)
Recorded at Piety Street Recording Studios in Henderson, LA, by Chris Bloch and Mark Bingham, and at NOLA Recording Studios in New Orleans, LA, by Mike Harvey. Mixed and mastered by Dave Cook, Area 52 Studios. Produced by Blato Zlato. Cover artwork by Magda Boreysza. Photography by Sarrah Danziger. Logo design by John Rushing. Liner notes watercolor by Lou Carrig. Album and liner notes graphic design by Annalisa Kelly. Lyrics translation by Boyanna Trayanova and Demetre Qitria.
Thank you to all of our Kickstarter backers, Demetre Qitria, Ensemble Adilei, Donka Koleva, Radka Stefanova, Isabel Sokol-Oxman, Ena Day and family, Sasho Nasev, Mark Carrig, James Corbyn, Sarah Jacques, Hunter King, and all our BZ family and friends.