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Balkan Dance & Culture


International Roma Day was established Poland on April 3, 1990 to commemorate a major convocation of world Roma leaders in the UK on the same day in 1971.

The day celebrates Roma culture as it manifests all around the world – from India to Europe to the Americas and the four corners of the globe.

In Macedonia, the Roma people enjoy a high level of integration and respect, with a Minister of Roma Affairs and other high-ranking Roma officials within government. The country is a world leader in the preservation and promotion of its unique Roma culture.

Macedonian music is unmistakably infused with Romani energy and flair, and on April 8, 2021, we’ve gathered Macedonian Romani Masters from across the country for a celebratory benefit concert commemorating the 50th anniversary jubilee of the historic 1971 convocation.


This benefit concert will support the art of Macedonian Romani musicians and help establish the Bijandipe Roma Cultural Center (Centar Kultural Romano-Bijandipe) in Berovo, Macedonia.

Featured musicians:

Dzafer began his musical career in his teens in Berovo with the Maleševski Melos Orchestra. His talent with the saxophone has led to many calling him the “King of Macedonian Roma Sax” inside and outside of Macedonia.

Berovo’s Uska Kan Orkestar is led by the multiple award-winning trumpetist Usain Kan and features his sons Delsin, Dildzan and Demir, who won the celebrated Guča “Golden Trumpet” Award in 2013 and 2014. This Roma family orchestra is known internationally for its lively world-music presentation of Macedonian Romani music.

Dzeljo Destanovski comes from a long line of Macedonian zurla players from the Ratevo/Berovo region. In Skopje, he graduated from the Musical Academy and played zurla for the renowned “Tanec” National Dance Troupe.

Etno Maleš was formed seventeen years ago by Milo Destanovski and his family. They have performed the Roma Maleševo style internationally to great acclaim.

Milo Destanovski is widely known as a Macedonian Roma culture-bearer who works tirelessly to promote Macedonian and Roma music to the world. His most recent project is the establishment of the Bijandipe Roma Cultural Center in Berovo.
We invite all music lovers to get their by-donation ticket and join us on April 8 at 6 PM EST for the concert, streaming over zoom. All proceeds from tickets will go towards the Bijandipe Cultural Center, whose aim is to preserve and promote Roma music for all generations.


In Balkan Dance, I feel the strong root of ancestry rising up from the Earth to my feet, to my heart, and throughout my tribe.  The rhythms of my homeland transmit the lore and legend of the Balkan soul – the cycles of the Earth, bygone eras and the cultural panorama at the crossroads of East and West. 


Growing up in a folkloric family brought intimacy with music, history and dance.  

My grandfather, Vangel Betinski, clapped out many a rhythm with us, as we learned the evocative Balkan repertory.  He was my greatest teacher, who stressed the unity of cultures and rhythms and showed us how to celebrate our heritage through dance.


In 2007, I returned to my native Macedonia to film "Raq'n the Roots with Malesh Roma - a mini-documentary on our region's musical tradition.  Richly infused with Greek, Turkish and Romany influences, Maleshevo's music is an invitation to celebrate! 


In 2009, I joined forces with Milo Destanovski to found the annual Ethno Square Festival, which welomes dancers and musicians from all across the globe for ten days of singing, dancing, eating and sight seeing! 

We've welcomed participants from the UK, Australia, Brazil, Slovenia, Spain, the Netherlands, France and the U.S. for ten days of cultural immersion at the end of August, the tradtional Feast of the Virgin.

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