Martin Lubenov is one of the most unconventional accordionists of our time - a virtuoso, comedian and storyteller all in one. Coming from the Roma music of the southern Balkans and the most sophisticated Ethno-Jazz of Bulgaria, he has created his own musical language, a hybrid with an immense personal tinge, that breaks out of all conventional "Balkan music" clichés.
What defines Martin Lubenov's signature? A fusion of the highest conceivable virtuosity, compositional sophistication, boundless intensity and unprecedented effortlessness - glossed over with humour. In his compositions Lubenov not only tells stories, he sprinkles in abundant irony and unexpected punchlines.
Both academic-jazz and Balkan pathos are foreign to him - he rather juggles with everything that comes his way. So far he has managed to mesmerise all audiences, including those that were initially not interested in modern jazz or Balkan folk.
His gaiety and playfulness free the listeners from reservations for his sometimes intellectually challenging music. Thus, Lubenov's accordion forms the natural extension of his personality: mischievous, curious, human and yet profound.
Whether as a solo artist or with his two current ensembles - his gypsy orchestra "Martin Lubenov Orkestar" and his trio "Martin Lubenov's Jazzta Prasta" - he has mixed the music of the Roma, traditions of all southeast European countries, those of the Middle East, rhythms of India, the charm of French Musette & Manouche and the flair of Latin music with the formal possibilities of jazz and classical music, all into one extremely passionate and ingenious genre.
Lubenov was born into a musical Roma family from Sofia. As a child he received private lessons from the then best Bulgarian accordionist - Angel Vangelov. Apart from that, he is a self-taught musician. Around the turn of the millennium, he found his centre of life in Vienna, the beginning of a mutual enrichment. With his CD “Dui Droma” (Two Roads), he managed to achieve one of the most interesting artistic contributions to the international Roma culture, followed by the highly acclaimed ethno jazz album “Veselina”, recorded with his Jazzta Prasta ensemble.
In March 2015 he launched "Impressions" - Jazzta Prasta's long-awaited sequal album in a trimmed-down, trio version. Soon to be released is yet another new record - "Don't Worry, be Gypsy" by the Martin Lubenov Orkestar.
His documentary portrait “Jazzta Prasta or Where are the Bulgarian Notes” (directed by Andrey Slabakov, Camera Film Sofia, 2009) won the price for the best film at the 16th Mediterraneo Video Festival of Agropoli in September 2013.
Richard Galliano, Renato Borghetti, Milcho Leviev, Vladimir Karparov, Ivo Papasov, Theodosii Spassov, Wolfgang Puschnig, Nicola Simeon, DJ Shantel, Alegre Corrêa and Aleksey Igudesman are just a few (prominent) names of the eternally long list of musicians who were seeking his inspiration.