|Brass instruments reached the Balkan countries through the military bands of the 19th century. It wasn´t too long before they filtered through to the towns and then on to the countryside. The brass band craze spread all over the Balkans and created a new sensation in Balkan traditional music almost instantaneously. For the first time in history the bands used exclusively Western instruments - the very same instruments that would be used by a brass band in, say, New Orleans, but what they played was a particularly fiery brand of their own countries´ traditional music, down to the same scales and odd time signatures that characterize the music of all the Balkan countries. In Greece brass bands form an integral part of the musical tradition of Western and Central Macedonia.|
|For over thirty years FLORINA BRASS BAND has been one of the main exponents of this important and sadly so far neglected part of local musical tradition.|
| FLORINA BRASS BAND was formed in 1960 by Tasos Valkanis, the
leader of the Florina Town Brass Band and also a folk musician.
Occasionally they collaborated with musicians such as Chimerini
Kolimvites or Floros Floridis. Based in the small North-Western
Greek town of Florina, they performed a thousands of times:
from tiny villages and towns in Macedonia to the InterBalkan
Festival in Thessaloniki and festivals in France. Their sound
and the dance tunes they play are unique in Greek traditional
music and can mainly be found in the Western part of Macedonia.|
Tasos Valkanis has passed away, but the spirit of the band carries on through his sons Lazaros and Georgios. The members of the band today are Lazaros Valkanis on clarinet, Georgios Valkanis on accordion, Floros Floridis on alto sax, Christos Hasapis on cornet, Panagiotis Ioannou on trombone, Pandelis Stoikos on cornet and Athanasios Samaras on drums.