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West Philadelphia Orchestra Biography
Drums moving your feet like an earthquake, trumpet notes slicing the air like circus knives, saxophones wailing in outrage and joy, tenor horns rootsy like home-grown tomatoes, a tuba belching bass lines like a dyspepsic diety, and suddenly the celebraton spreads and bodies break into dance. Welcome to a West Philly Orchestra party. West Philadelphia Orchestra (WPO) is a large revolving-door band, a community, with brass, percussion, vocals, and sometimes strings. Influences include the traditional Balkan ensembles like Meka Ajdinovic Orkestar, Boban Markovic, and Kocani Orkestar, but also people like Sun Ra, Raymond Scott, Bartok, Albert Ayler, and the urban sounds of Philadelphia. They are an oddly diverse collection of folks, ages 20 something to 50 something, from all walks of life, and they are a creative and organic village band. They began playing Romanian ballads, Macedonian folk-dance songs, Gypsy melodies, and various klezmer tunes in late 2006, and have continued expanding/corrupting their sound and repertoire over their 3 blurry years of existence. The band plays often in Philadelphia, including concerts, picnics, protests, and dance parties - like their monthly dance party at Tritone Bar.