What is Shukar Collective?
A Romanian act, an electro-dance band, a world-music idea, an audio-visual project, a mix of generations of musicians, a re-arranging of traditional Romanian and Roma sounds, or an eclectic mixture of spoons, wooden barrels, violins, accordions, bass, roots vocals, samples, sequencers, loops, scratches, turntables and beats.
The collective idea was born on a very hot summer’s day in 2003, when DJ Vasile and Dan Handrabur heard the original Roma songs of the Shukar original band. Immediately after, the musicians from these different generations met and decided to try and create a new project with a new and contemporary sound.
“We wanted to bring together Roma singers and a group of musicians and DJs to form and create a unique sound, the Shukar Collective sound.” explain Dan Handrabur. The final result was the debut album ‘Urban Gypsy’, released in the spring of 2005. The ‘Urban Gypsy’ album has been praised by the press from all over the world.
And now, to prove that “Urban Gipsy” was no flash in the pan, the Collective are back with their second effort. The album’s title ‘Rromatek’ is a pun, combining the two words that define this album: Roma and technology. Having moved on from the rewarding but often awkward integration phase, when two very different cultures were making music together for the first time, the rural Ursari singers, stemming from a long line of bear-taming street performers, and the urban musician – DJs have now gone to the roots of what bear tamers do best – making people dance.
Whereas the previous album took shape in the studio, “Rromatek” captures the spirit of the band from the last year, with vocals being recorded in hotel rooms, backstage at concerts or during jams in buses. With the addition of a drummer and a horn player, a more organic sound is evident throughout the album,although the band has lost none of its electro-spice. Shukar Collective’s mission remains that of exposing the brilliant traditional vocal performance of the Ursari Roma (incorrectly called gypsies) while working towards total acceptance of this minority into a tolerant, modern day society, which we aspire to. With Rromatek, Shukar Collective continues to open up the new horizons for the idea they started exploring almost five years ago.
“An unclassifiable hybrid that is often funny, frequently exciting and sometimes bewildering. This album should travel far beyond most records from Romania.” – Charlie Gillett, the Observer Music Monthly, UK
“An atmospheric as well as a bombastic journey into an unknown world.” – Howard Male, The Independent on Sunday, UK
“It’s not so much genre breaking as a parallel universe (…)” – Tim Cumming, The Independent, UK
“It coheres into something genuinely rich and strange (…)” – Daily Telegraph, UK
“Unique and totally thrilling.” – Jason Ferguson, Orlando Weekly, USA
“Highly recommended.” – David Dacks, Exclaim!, CAN
“Funny, nightmarish and funky, the Shukar Collective deliver a well-placed kick up the corduroys of the world music scene.” – Tom Jackson, Play Music Magazine
“Fine combination of ancient and modern here (…)” – TimeOut Kansai, Japan
The release of their debut album generated enough interest in the band for it to be invited to perform at various festivals: Trans Musicales Festival – France, Exit Festival – Serbia, BAM Festival – Spain, Sfinks Festival – Belgium, to name a few, where audiences were thrilled by the unique blend of styles and cultures.