The Caravan World Rhythms Society, a non profit organisation which has been active in Vancouver since 2000, was the organizer of the musical experience that collected seven music groups over the two weekend nights. That kind of music is very rarely played by any common listened to radio stations in Vancouver and may not be known to general public if it's not brought up live to a stage.
Thanks to Caravan Rhythms Society, not only people originating from South-Eastern Europe but also hard core Canadians could enjoy the different tunes they hardly ever had a chance to know about its existence.
The Caravan has been active bringing so called "world music" to the venues in Vancouver where many different national groups can present their artistic heritage to the rich multi-national mosaic of Vancouver where together they can enjoy and admire cultural diversity.
The West is East event was a showcase of varied music from the Balkans and the Middle East performed by local artists.
Friday night was the time for Raha Ensamble from Iran and the Middle East, Zeelia (a mix from Ukraine and the Balkans) and Something About Reptiles from Turkey. Saturday night was for Hazem Matar trio from the Middle East, Tambura Rasa from the Balkans and fantastic Lache Cercel and Rome Swing Ensamble from Romania. Orkestra Shlivovica was the band that spanned the two nights event performing both on Friday and Saturday.
Shlivovica is the name for a strong drink made of plums which in some Balkan countries (Croatia, Serbia) is called rakija
, prounounced [ra'keeya
]. It's very characteristic and distinctive drink for the Balkans area in the way tequila is an iconic drink of Mexico.
During the performances both food and drinks from the Balkan region and the Middle East was served which gave the audience a sense of immersion in the real culture and lifestyle of the region. Also the performers encouraged people to dances in front of the stage. Orkestra Shlivovica stepped from the stage and got mixed up with the audience which started to enthusiastically dance until the end of the concert that finished after midnight.
At the end of the concert, all the performing groups got together on stage to play a huge jam session when involving the audience to dancing in the rhythm of South-European and Middle Eastern music.