The Dutch band Amariszi is known for their captivating and exhilarating Balkan inspired pop music performed by bass & drums, guitar, horn section and accordion. Original compositions with feel-good arrangements create an accessible music attracting a wide audience: this approach has helped the group acquire a respected position within the Balkan scene. Merel Simons’ role is noteworthy, as she became the figurehead of the band, through her bright timbre and splendid diction.

Founded in 2007 by accordionist/composer Kay Krijnen and drummer Dolf Huybers, the band celebrates its 10 year anniversary in 2017 with the release of their third album Babel Fish. Recorded in an old wine cellar in rural Hungary in between clucking chickens and pungent spirits, you can hear the Balkan signature, which is cleverly and refreshingly interspersed with pop, reggae and swing.

The many languages sung on ‘Babel Fish’ make for a distinctive character. Among others the songs are in Arabic, English, Italian and Turkish. On location the singer, Merel Simons, worked with locals on texts and pronunciation. Hence the album title ‘Babel Fish’ refers to Douglas Adams’ fictional linguistic creation of a little yellow universal interpreter, which needs to be inserted into one’s ear to understand any language heard.

‘Balkan Chaotica’, released in 2011, was well received by the press: a noteworthy debut on which coherent interplay, originality and inspiring virtuosity are key attributes. Three years later ‘Nine Balkan Nights’ emerged and landed on first place in the British World Music Network Audio Chart and 13th place in the World Music Charts Europe. The band’s achievements include winning the Dutch Balkan Blues Contest (Gipsyfestival Tilburg) and Next Best Band.