Likened to “a traveling musical caravan burning brightly across the night sky” (music critic Alan Cross), the 12-member Lemon Bucket Orkestra is Canada’s only Balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-super-band. Born on the streets of Toronto as buskers in 2010, the original quartet of guerrilla-folk troubadours quickly amassed a battalion of troops armed with brass and bows and started touring the globe.
LBO ‘s many honors include a Galaxie Rising Stars Award at TD Sunfest ’14, a “Best Band” ranking in NOW Magazine’s 2015 “Best of Toronto” issue, and a JUNO nomination and “Best World Music Album” win from the Canadian Folk Music Awards for its 2015 album “Moorka”. But the group’s greatest achievement is the ability to embody the dynamic space between ‘home’ and ‘exotic’ and to welcome music fans into the celebration of that space.
“Our music is joyous and contagious because it pushes back against the darkness. We try to pass our own exuberance and joy on to the audience,” says LBO frontman Mark Marczyk.
The LBO troupe has even gone as far as the eastern front of the war in Ukraine, using its music as catharsis, support and a platform for storytelling and information sharing in a political arena obfuscated by propaganda and misinformation. “Moorka” includes re-worked folk songs that the band learned from local virtuosos in Romania, Ukraine, Serbia and Macedonia, each tune spiked with a unique blend of funk, punk, psychedelia, blues and swing to give it that now infamous LBO momentum.
LBO darbouka player Jaash Singh elaborates: “There is some indiscernible quality in the way the music is played by a Roma man sitting in Bucharest [as opposed to] someone trained at the Royal Conservatory of Music here in Toronto. That’s kind of what we’ve been trying to hone in on.”
LBO’s new album, “If I Had the Strength,” will be released on November 3rd via Outside Music. The recording once again finds the ensemble drawing inspiration from Eastern European folk traditions while honing its storytelling skills.
“’If I Had the Strength’ is about coming home, about never being the same, about the parts of ourselves we lose, the parts we gain, and about the prisons we inhabit or that inhabit us,“ explains Marczyk.