Re-importing the culture
It’s a sunny spring day as I sit drinking coffee in the health resort Bansko in Bulgaria’s mountain range. The CD shop around the corner sells only Western crap. But in front of me hanging on the wall is a »BALKAN BEATS« poster. Who and what are not calling themselves »Balkanbeats« these days…and especially in the Balkans this makes me smile: re-importing the culture.
But there is only one original and this has been bubbling away in Berlin for more than a dozen years now. DJ Robert Soko had already been brewing up his gypsy punk, when they were still kicking each other’s heads in, in the Balkans. Now this crazy music is not only hurtling through the entire West, but also back into the Balkans where it is mutating and being flushed back out again. Thus the phenomenon »Balkanbeats« gives birth to ever more spectacular combinations. Anything goes: Brass is flirting with Euro Pop, bagpipes pump up Rock, Klezmer grooves with Electro, Bregovic dancing with Karmen and all of a sudden some of the most beautiful Balkan songs come out of France… Why not? That’s the way music works these days. In the end it doesn’t matter, if this is called Indie or even world music. The main thing is that it rocks!
Balkanbeats has been rocking the dance-floor of Berlin’s Mudd Club for years. Meanwhile DJ Robert Soko is regularly inviting people to his Balkanbeats parties in Paris, Amsterdam or London. More and more DJs and musicians are discovering what has been missing in Western music for the last years – live, fire and a tad more none-prefabricated craziness. They are using the know-how of the modern world and combining this with the old melodies and folk instruments of the Balkans. From Frankfurt to New York – the virus is moving!
“I don’t know a single song, which you are spinning, but it’s awesome!” – a sentence DJ Robert Soko hears very often. For the third time the compilation series »Balkanbeats« is trying to help to solve this. Here you get DJ Robert Soko’s smash hits of the last year and a half on one CD – again compiled strictly from a dance-floor point of view. Nothing smoothed out, but steaming and right in your face. And as always, many of the songs have been single-handedly dug up and turned into hits by DJ Robert Soko. Thus many tracks released on this CD are making to the West for the first time.
If this is your first »Balkanbeats« CD, I can understand that your eyes may be bulging with astonishment. As one listener of my radio show about Eastern European music expressed it recently: in your show I re-discover music all over again. Now you are part of it! There is still something going on here. You have found something cool to tell your friends about. And the party is saved – the boys are grinning and jumping and the girls turn into wild gypsy brides. Shake it, baby! Life is too short for boring music.
And for us spoilt big city guys, Balkanbeats has been the hottest party in town for a long while. Thanks to DJ Robert Soko, his parties and his compilations, the news is now also carried into the living rooms and clubs of your town. Turn up the volume, dance and when the neighbours ask what this music is all about, just tell them – BALKANBEATS!
1. Slavic Soul Party!: Opa Cupa
2. Magnifico: Ubicu te
3. Kiril feat MC Wasp & Rucl: Jungle Shadow
4. Watcha Clan: Balkan Qoulou
5. Shantel feat. Boban Markovic Orkestar: Disko (friends of Boban Mix)
6. Goran Bregovic: Gas Gas
7. Ot Azoj Klezmer Band: Turkish Honga (Streamer & mps PILOT remix)
8. Max Pashm: Manea-k
9. Parno Graszt: Drunk of Sorrow
10. Slonovski Bal: Moscow Fever
11. Damian & Brothers: Hopai Diri Da (edit)
12. Äl Jawala: Heymischer Bulga (Garage-Mix 2004)
13. Figli di Madre Ignota: Nema Problema Tourist
14. The No Smoking Orchestra: Dobrila
15. Romengo: Naj ma shela