Hailing from Romania, Serbia and the UK, Paprika unite traditional Eastern European, Balkan, Gypsy and Classical Music. The band have toured extensively across Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and have featured at WOMAD festivals in the UK, Spain, Canary Islands and Abu Dhabi. Highlights have included concerts at the Purcell Room (Southbank Centre), Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Glastonbury Festival, Edinburgh Fringe and EXIT festival.
The band is focusing on bringing rare and lost traditional Balkan music back to life. In 2012 the band appeared on BBC World on 3 and Radio 5 Live and was also featured in Channel 4's 'Come Dine With Me'. Highlights in 2013 include performances at the Kings Place London, Bradford Festival as well as at the Cheltenham Music Festival, where they were reviewed as one of the top 7 'Spine-tingling Music Festival moments':
"Paprika – hot and fiery lived up to their name, giving us a whirlwind tour of the Balkan countries, each piece becoming a firm favourite before being superseded by the next. Toe-tappingly good, with the audience whooping and cheering from the first note."
Cheltenham Festival 2013
"I've enjoyed their album-also called Paprika-for a while now, and often played tracks from it on my BBC 6 music radio show. But I still wasn't prepared for the energy and brilliance of their live show-if you see any gigs coming up I'd be sure to hot foot your way to the front row-these guys will never let you down- the effect they had on the great mix of Ladbroke Grove locals was a treat to see- they had everyone jumping with joy. A must see."
Bogdan Vacarescu - Violin
Milos Milivojevic - Accordion
Zivorad Nikolic - Accordion
Vladimir Strkalj - Guitar
James Opstad - Bass
Rastko Rasic - Percussion
Bogdan is a disciple of the “old school” of violin playing style promoted by Joseph Joachim and Leopold Auer, and followed by violin masters such as Jascha Heifetz, Jacques Thibaud, George Enescu and others. His repertoire comprises of music that is very close to his heart spanning Baroque to late Romantics including Bach, Beethoven, Paganini, Debussy, Wieniawski, Sarasate. Freedom of expression in the interpretation of music, combined with the elegance of bowing technique are of paramount importance to Bogdan’s approach.
Bogdan is equally comfortable performing rock, Balkan and traditional music as he is on the classical stage. He has collaborated with Nigel Kennedy, Gabriel Yared, Stephen Warbeck, The Cat Empire, She’Koyokh, and as a free-lancer with many successful ensembles in the UK.
Milos is a first prize winner at International Competitions in Germany, France, Italy and Denmark. He studied in Serbia and received full scholarship from the Royal Academy of Music. In 2007 he became the first accordionist ever to win the RAM Club Prize at the Academy open to all instrumentalists and in the 2008 was the Winner of the prestigious Derek Butler London Prize at the Wigmore Hall - contested by students from all four of the London conservatories. Milos enjoys busy career as a soloist and member of AccordDuo, London Tango Quintet and Kosmos Ensemble. He performed across the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Wembley Arena, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Sidney Opera House, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Purcell Room, and at the Foundation Day, an award ceremony attended by HRH The Princess Royal. In 2014 he has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in recognition of his contribution to music.
Zivorad began his musical journey at the age of seven, in Kragujevac, his home town in Serbia. He studied classical music in Serbia, France and England where he graduated from the Royal Academy of Music. He has travelled the world playing music and has been involved in many projects from different musical genres. His recent musical experiences include live performance of Kurt Weill’s ‘Threepenny Opera’ conducted by Ilyich Rivas as well as ‘Tobias and Angel ‘a Church Opera by Jonathan Dove. He is a member of AccordDuo, Fugata Quintet and She’koyokh - award winning Klezmer ensemble!
Born in Kragujevac, Serbia, Vladimir started out as a piano student at age 8. He then switched to the guitar in his early teens after discovering his new love for the blues and rock. He graduated at the department of jazz guitar at music school "Stanković" in Belgrade and has been a musical protege of premier Serbian guitarist Radomir Mihailović Točak since high school. After moving to London in 2009, he collaborated, recorded or toured with various artists including Cerys Matthews, John Reynolds etc. Performed music around UK, Europe, USA and Middle East.
James Opstad is a sought after bass player on the London music scene, active in a broad spectrum of musical styles. In 2011 he graduated from the prestigious jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music with 1st Class Honours. Whilst at the Academy he had the opportunity to perform with some of his musical heroes, including John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann and Julian Arguelles. He also forged important musical relationships with his fellow students, many of whom he continues to perform with. James appears regularly at many well known music venues in London and elsewhere. These have included the Purcell Room (Southbank Centre), Kings Place, Vortex, 606 Club, Ronnie Scott's, Blackthorpe Barn and Bath Festival Fringe.
Rastko grew up in Belgrade, Serbia playing trumpet as a child and later, classical percussion. After graduating from Berklee College of Music, he moved to London where he had immersed himself in music scenes as diverse as his musical interests, from jazz to pop to world music, playing drum kit and hand percussion.