Black Sea Songs

By Sanem Kalfa, Joachim Badenhorst, George Dumitriu

Black Sea Songs is a new trio of Amsterdam and Antwerp musicians paying tribute to traditional songs from the Black Sea countries, transforming them with a mixture of meticulously calibrated improvisations and multifarious arrangements marked by endless variety.

Portrait of the trio Black Sea Songs, consisting of Sanem Kalfa, Joachim Badenhorst and George Dumitriu

Black Sea Songs by Joachim Badenhorst, Sanem Kalfa, George Dumitriu

© Alp Esin

Past Dates

More on folk & improvised music in our Digital Guide “Outside Traditions”

Black Sea Songs

(TR, BE, RO)

Much like Berlin, Amsterdam is a city that functions as an artistic magnet, bringing musicians from all round the globe together in an unpredictable hothouse atmosphere for creativity. It was in this environment that the trio Black Sea Songs was formed. Perhaps, singer Sanem Kalfa and guitarist and violist George Dumitriu were missing the sounds of their homelands, Turkey and Romania, respectively, both countries with a Black Sea shoreline. Joined by the wildly versatile Flemish reedist and composer Joachim Badenhorst (Carate Urio Orchestra)—who still lives in Antwerp despite strong Dutch connections—they’ve forged beautifully mysterious new arrangements for a wide variety of traditional songs from around the Black Sea. Kalfa’s husky alto articulates melodies with an elastic imagination, injecting wordless accents, shadowy whispers, and generous melodic variation, while her compatriots complement the spidery lines they play on their main instruments with atmospheric loops and other electronic effects, to transform the material into something thoroughly contemporary without surrendering its folk roots. The trio moves from ambient drift to traditional dance rhythms, with each tune getting radically divergent settings, but in every case they succeed in reframing these timeless, sorrowful tunes in a fresh light.


Sanem Kalfa vocals, electronics
Joachim Badenhorst clarinet, live electronics
George Dumitriu acoustic and electric guitars, viola, effects