Do a Happy Dance: WPO’s Balkan Dance Party at Underground Arts

There aren’t many regular shows in the Philadelphia area where you’re likely to hear fans clamoring for a sousaphone encore, but that’s not an unusual occurrence at the West Philadelphia Orchestra‘s monthly Balkan Dance Party at Underground Arts.

Music fans in the know will remember the band’s original residency at the now-defunct Tritone. In those days, a loud, drunken, exuberant mass of humanity filled the small room at the Tritone to hear the exotic brass and percussion of WPO. Now, a similarly-excited crowd fills Underground Arts every first Thursday of the month (or occasionally, first Fridays) to be moved by the sweet sounds of vocalist Petia Zanfarova and the group of talented musicians that make up one of the most unique bands in the Philadelphia area.

The magic in WPO’s shows comes both from the people who attend, and from the musicians themselves. A diverse mix fills the room during these shows, from young to old, including newcomers to the Balkan rhythms and Eastern Europeans who grew up with these sweet sounds. Everyone is free to (and encouraged to) dance, to sing along, and to get lost in the music and the crowd around them. Every month, without fail, multitudes of fans do exactly that–sometimes, very literally getting lost in the music, as the band comes down from the stage to the floor and plays the music from amongst the crowd.  WPO members describe the phenomenon well, as seen in this video:

Adventurous Philly music fans and those who want to experience the West Philadelphia Orchestra for themselves can do so at the band’s next Underground Arts show, starting at 10PM on December 6th.  Underground Arts is located at 1200 Callowhill Street in Philadelphia. This is a 21+ show, and will feature three full sets by WPO. Tickets are $10, available at the door, or online through Ticketweb.

Most importantly, don’t forget your dancing shoes!

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