‘Hailing from Brighton, Buffo’s Wake assault your ears like a musical hurricane. Destined to make you dance with wild abandon or ‘like someone being attacked by bees’ (Richard Cadence of egigs.co.uk) this six piece ensemble fuse punk and gypsy rhythms with the sounds of the funfair’
‘You can expect them to be jumping, screaming, climbing, wandering around the audience, throwing instruments around and everything else, in their spooky musical punk circus’
Buffo’s Wake formed in Brighton, UK, in the winter of 2009, with the idea of combining traditional Eastern European folk music and instrumentation, with the modern aesthetics of Punk and Rock. They have been developing their sound ever since, incorporating elements of dark cabaret, 30’s Swing and even drum and bass, as well as extending and furthering their understanding and experience of the traditional folk music that inspires their song writing.
This unique sound has developed alongside a frenetic live show, incorporating circus performances, audience interaction, natural showmanship and a fair few stage invasions! During a typical Buffo’s Wake performance, you can expect to hear traditional Ukrainian folk music, jump up DNB, and even Norwegian classical excerpts, whilst hearing lyrics inspired by Russian folk-tales updated for the modern day and dancing to Big Band bangers – all played with the raw visceral energy of a Punk band.
Due to their wildly interactive (and sometimes chaotic) live shows, Buffo’s Wake have built a strong and dedicated cult following around the world. Tours throughout Europe and America over the previous 10 years have cemented this following, along with regular appearances at Glastonbury Festival (2015, 2017), and various other UK and European festivals. (Gitanekesfoor – Belgium, 2017, Shambala – UK, 2017 + 2018, Boomtown – UK, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 + 2018, Iboga – Spain, 2015, XFS Fest – USA, 2017, amongst many others!)
The band has taken its show on the road through 22 different countries and 15 states of America, and its not unusual for them to play up to 100 concerts a year!
Their more unusual shows include being handpicked by comedian Arthur Smith (Grumpy Old Men, Money for Nothing) to participate in the touring roadshow ‘House of Fun’ (various venues – 2015), running workshops and acoustic concerts for primary school children in Paris at the end of a two month run of shows around the Alps and the Balkans (Ecole Maternelle Marcel Lachiver – 2017), and performing for the homeless in a shelter and charity canteen on Kings day in Amsterdam.
‘THE band to watch out for at Glastonbury 2015’
-Marc Radcliffe (BBC 6 Music)
‘You may recall a desolate band of misfits in Tim Burton’s ‘Nightmare Before Chirstmas’ that popped up every now and then with musical interludes of damp and haunting melodies that were, in their own way, quite captivating. Well Buffo’s Wake have a very similar allure; that is intriguing violins and erratic accordions, both utterly besmirched with wonderfully gloomy undertones and lingering vocals.’
– Boomtown Fair
Buffo’s Wake continue to develop their sound, live show, and distinct aesthetic style with a variety of different projects.
In 2016 they launched an international collaboration with the Mexican band ‘Los Kamer’, which led to Buffo’s Wake planning a multi-sensory performance in Mexico City in 2018. The proposal was for the band to write a new original score to the classic Mexican horror film ‘El Fantasma Del Convento’ (1934), and to perform the new works live, at a screening of the film during the ‘DEVHR Foro Internacional Del Juego’ festival – a multi-media festival showcasing new work by independent artists, that occurs during the traditional Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations in the city. Release date is TBC due to funding issues, but Buffo’s Wake are determined it will see the light of day.
This cultural collaboration has also expanded into a multi-national compilation CD/Video release (Fresh Lenins presents: Gypsy Punk Compilation No.1 – 2019) featuring the bands Buffo’s Wake, Los Kamer (Mexico), The Freeborn Brothers (Poland), Gypo Circus (Hungary) and Jorge’s Hot Club (Mexico/UK), which was recorded live, on location at the Buffo’s Wake studio in Brighton, UK. The project involved the exchange of local traditional folk songs and styles – Buffo’s Wake recorded traditional songs from Mexico, Hungary and Poland (even singing in Polish and Spanish), whilst Los Kamer recorded an Irish/English folk tune and Gypo Circus took a more contemporary approach with a modern UK rock/ traditional Klezmer mixture. This CD/Video release has a launch date set for the 21st December, 2019.
This international and collaborative approach encompasses the spirit of Buffo’s Wake.
An EP of traditional Gypsy and Klezmer music is in the works, in collaboration with esteemed cimbalom player Kallai Janos, as well as a more ludicrous recording project, involving rearranging the songs of System of a Down to fit the instrumentation of a traditional Armenian folk band.
‘…Buffo’s Wake, whose idiosyncratic mix of traditional European folk with vibrant on-stage antics is, there’s no other word for it, weird.’
‘Combining fast-paced folk, carnivalesque humour, lewd tango and gypsy intricacies into a highly energetic, gleefully anarchic explosion. As influenced by the grime and darkness of Nick Cave as they are by Balkan folk and Ukrainian hooligans Gogol Bordello, Buffo’s Wake delight in sudden gear shifts, baffling non-sequiturs and a healthy sense of the absurd, and are undoubtedly the perfect accompaniment to an evening of knees-up silliness, preferably having consumed an obscene quantity of cider. Come and have a go if you think you’ve got the stamina!’
– Electric Harmony
For their sold-out album launch party (October 31st 2019, Brighton, UK) Buffo’s Wake organised and scored a small chamber orchestra (16 piece band including string and horn sections) in order to perform their new studio album ‘Dybbuk’ from beginning to end, featuring almost all of the musicians from the original recordings.
Crowd-funded and DIY-produced, ‘Dybbuk’ is a collection of songs that summarise the last 4 years of their relentless touring schedule. Traditional folk songs sit alongside horns, ska-punk, drum ‘n’ bass breaks and elaborate string arrangements, to create something unique and unforgettable.
2020 looks to be a busy year for Buffo’s Wake, with even more touring on the cards (France, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary and a bunch of British festivals already confirmed) and a bigger, more wild live show to bring to the stage. Keep an eye out for these ‘musical schizophrenics’ stopping by a town near you!
‘Twisting folk with a heavy smattering of pounding gypsy dance music’
– Two For Joy
‘Dark and twisted, and full of energy!’
–Simon Price (BBC Introducing DJ & Music Journalist for The Independent)
‘It was late at night when Buffo’s Wake debuted, but people were still hidden somewhere waiting for the main course of the evening. Another band unknown to us, but we were impressed. They presented their debut album, Carniphobia (2014), with songs like Drunk Girls, which drew in the audience. With their Gypsy, Balkan and Ska sounds, the British band played a short but very respectable set, with violin, accordion and bass masterfully accompanying the eccentric singer.’
–La Mancha Rock
‘Arguably confirming every Daily Mail reader’s prejudice about our fair city, Buffo’s Wake’s latest video sees the Brighton band on a debauched romp along the seafront, ending in violence, vomit and bus-stop cop sex. Having already played an impressive string of festivals and gigged in over 15 countries, the gypsy punks are now off on a fifty date tour of the UK, beginning and ending with shows in their hometown. Like demented circus freaks running riot at a Day of the Dead carnival, Buffo’s Wake blend Eastern European folk music with classical touches and a punky anything-goes sense of absurdity. Their debut album, fittingly released on Halloween, features its fair share of soaring violins, sinister vocals and rampant, rousing choruses. Slowing down is not an option.’
‘Opening like a bouncier version of Rodrigo Y Gabriela’s Re-Foc album and strutting confidently through ten tracks of cool and elegant gypsy punk, Carniphobia is party music par excellence’
‘Storming gypsy bangers! Twisting folk with a heavy smattering of pounding gypsy dance music – while very new to the scene, Buffos Wake work the crowd like pros, jumping, dancing and bringing you headfirst into the world of eastern European madness – we love them! Sounds Like: the gate has swung shut behind you at the abandoned fairground.’
When we thought that the atmosphere could not get any better, the members of Buffo’s Wake convinced us otherwise. Sympathetic, energetic, persuasive, playful and professional, they kept up the energy levels throughout the gig. It was easy to see from the looks on their faces that they were very pleasantly surprised by Zagreb’s audience – being so well received even though it was their first time in our region. They completely ruled the moment….. an explosion of energy and dancing…..the audience was insatiable, and called for an encore several times. The highlight of the evening was during the last two songs, when about 20 people from the audience climbed onto the stage and become one with the band, who visibly enjoyed every moment.