Every now and then the thin membrane that separates popular from eclectic is pierced and all kinds of interesting things slip through before the membrane repairs itself. This compilation celebrates a series of popular mash ups of Gyspy, Balkan and pop sounds from Central and Eastern Europe (and New York)
No one (apart from the noticeable-by-his-absence Gogol Bordello) could sum up the mixed up nature of all this better than Germany’s DJ Shantel. Claiming ancestry to Bucovina, this globalista DJ has switched to Gypsy beats of late and manages to coax a thoroughly Gypsy feel out of a calypso melody and a pile of circuit boards on the track ‘Bucovina’. His sure touch is also felt on the remix of Amsterdam Klezmer Band’s ‘Sadagora Hot Dub’ another genre-cross dresser.
Another big name of late is the Israeli-born duo Balkan Beat Box. Having emerged from the New York Scene at the right time, this pair’s contribution is a jolly upbeat bass thumper with wandering trombone and wah wah. The kind of good time track that you’d get from a band like Ska Cubano if they swapped their axes slightly.
Or take Gypsy.cz who manages to mix Gypsy and Cossack with the Beatles and The Eagles and having acheived that, he then raps over the top. I am quite giddy with it all.
As you’d expect from a Putumayo compilation, there are no really harsh edges to the selection here, just fun, upbeat selections from a world gone crazy and mixed up. It is the un-Balkanisation of the Balkan sound.