BALKANBEATS Vol. 3 – Artist


Slavic Soul Party!

Fiery Balkan brass, throbbing funk grooves, killer Gypsy accordion, and virtuoso jazz chops make Slavic Soul Party! NYC’s official #1brass band for BalkanSoul and GypsyFunk. With Latin, Jewish, Gypsy,and American roots, SSP! make new music out of the unplanned results of immigration, proximity, and globalization, pumping astrong Balkan brass sound through the filter of life in New York’souter boroughs. The nine-piece band has won fans in Carnegie Hall, Serbian schoolyards, skate punk tours, and pasha’s palaces, playing over 300 shows in the past six years and releasing four albums.



Already an old friend of Balkanbeats, Magnifico occupied the opening spot of vol.1 of our series with his hit Hir aj kam, hir aj go. Now the Slovenian Mr. Cool is back with a new album and we can already exclusively present a new song from it- Ubicu teI’ll kill ya! – a Balkan drama about passion and jealousy. The whole lot is wrapped up tightly as a party smash- very typical for Magnifico. In the last ten years, he has changed into so many various images of fantasy, that he was proclaimed the Slovenian Madonna. But Magnifico is always sexy and provoking on his campaign against homophobia. His new album is a step further into unknown territory – a wildly spiced, well mixed cocktail of various musical styles, openly flirting with turbofolk and Balkan rhythms. Magnifico is allowed to do that and we love this crazy cat for it.

Kiril feat MC Wasp & Rucl

Kiril is another candidate, who is still widely unknown in the Western world, but a must-have for Balkanbeats aficionados. Born in Macedonia, Kiril Dzajkovski is a composer best known for his solo releases combining Macedonian ethnic music and electronica. In addition to his solo albums, Kiril writes music for film, television and theatre.

Jungle Shadow is another exclusive – a track from Kiril’s up-coming album and features the voice and lyrics of Melbourne based MC Wasp, as well as a guest appearance by Rucl. The song was featured on the soundtrack of the latest Milcho Manchevski film Shadows.


Watcha Clan

Balkanbeats is becoming more and more international. France has always been fertile soil for Balkan sounds. It’s been ten years since the music of Watcha Clan started moving to the rhythm of the waters of the Mediterranean. Their current album Diaspora Hi-Fi breathes the freedom of spirit of travelling people. They’re free and committed, and above all, they are nomads. Using Eastern European melodies the singer’s mother sang to her when she was little as well as tunes from the Maghreb seaside, Watcha Clan combines electro, ska and folk in a magic brew. Balkan Qoulou is for sure one of the most majestic tunes on Balkanbeats vol. 3 – a wonderful melody and a uniting dancefloor hit.


Shantel feat. Boban Markovic Orkestar

To introduce Shantel here would be like carrying the club to the Bucovina. The figurehead of the Balkan party movement has established his own sound. For many years he has been conquering the worldwide partizani discos with his ziganisazia. His catchy hooks stick to your ear and instantly make your dancing feet move. These days Shantel sometimes even tours with a whole live orchestra. Robert Soko and Shantel appreciate and support each other and Shantel has exclusively contributed this disco remix for Balkanbeats vol.3. So far it had only been released on a strictly limited vinyl E.P. So here it is for you for the first time on CD!


Goran Bregovic

Bregovic – the master of all things Balkan is a must have on all Balkanbeats compilations.

Aside from music for theatre and film (he has composed the music for Kustrica’s films for many years), collaborations with the best singers and tours with fifty musicians on stage, Bregovic also managed to reform his old band White Button (Bjelo Dugme) for a sold-out tour of the ormer Yugoslavia. And he has written an opera: Karmen – with a K and a happy ending and with wild Balkan music, of course. For Balkanbeats vol. 3 we have managed to get the high speed smash hit of the record – Gas Gas. Alike Robert Soko (Bosnian himself with a Croatian father and a Serbian mother) Bregovic stands for Balkan culture as a whole without territorial borders in heads, hearts and maps. Partying unites.


Ot Azoj Klezmer Band

Amsterdam based klezmer band Ot Azoj was founded in 1994, and is named after the song Ot Azoj, Git Azoj meaning “that’s the way, it’s good that way.” Ot Azoj has captured the attention of many listeners while performing in a colourful mix of venues: both on stage at prominent festivals, at weddings and parties, but also in theatres and on streets. The band have developed their own style and sound over the years: intimate yet energetic – a unique blend of old klezmer music with Eastern European c ontemporary influences and oriental styles. Here it received an even funkier makeover by Holland’s top world fusion DJs mps Pilot and Streamer.

Max Pashm

Max Pashm first rose to fame in the late nineties with his debut album Weddings, Bar-mitzvahs & Funerals. Drawing on his Hebrew/Greek roots, Max established his reputation as one of the early pioneers of global fusion music. In 2006, Max formed the Max Pashm Band. The collective includes some of the most leading and talented players of traditional Klezmer, Greek, Balkan & Gypsy music, from as far a field as Russia, Bulgaria, Greece and the U.K. This sound carpet then gets a nice wrap up by Max’s beats. His new album (to be released) is a hell of a Balkan-Klezmer ride full of rich dancefloor fillers.


Parno Graszt

“They do not use sources of Gypsy music… they are the source itself.” said Simon Broughton (editor in chief of British music magazine Songlines) after spending a weekend with Parno Graszt in their home village Paszab in 2004. Three years later, group leader József Oláh writes in his diary: ” …these ancient melodies circle around unconsciously… they don’t come from anywhere yet they are everywhere.” Isolated from urban life and mainstream influences, the sound of Parno Graszt remains genuine, intact and untamed, thus keeping the tradition and folklore of Hungarian Gypsies alive, loud and bright.


Slonovski Bal

Slonovski Bal from France breathes a wind native to the central European Balkans. A perfumed wind, blended with the centennial epic of the Gypsies and a unique mix of European, Slavic, Turkish and Mediterranean cultures brought us a unique tradition of oriental brass band music. Slonovski Bal, which means “the Elephant’s Ball” in Serbian, is on the top-flight revival of Eastern European music, both there and over here, totally involved in the evolution of composition and improvisation. It’s in this way that they cross Europe, boosted by the luminous energy of such dances as Coceks, Sa-Sa and devilish Kolos played at the speed of light. For the Balkanbeats track they created a unique mixture – Balkan reggae combined with the Russian übertune Podmoskovnye Vechera (Moscow Nights).


Damian & Brothers

Roma musicians absorbed music from wherever they settled and in turn spread their influences to the local musical styles from percussion in Turkey up to flamenco in Spain. But the greatest influence was across the Balkans where the Romany musicians earned their living by playing for village weddings, feasts and celebrations of all kinds. Damian Draghici, a world class pan flutist, performer and composer from Romania has brought together twelve of his countrymen in order to create this contemporary gypsy band. Damian & Brothers bring a fresh sound to this classic gypsy tune on Balkanbeats vol.3. They’ve created a sound of joy and pride here.


Äl Jawala

The quintet Äl Jawala from Freiburg (Germany) has earned itself an excellent reputation as a live band. As Äl Jawala is an Arabic term for travelling people and their tours bring the German band even to the Balkans, where they sort of re-import the culture and thus gained a solid fan base. With their easygoing approach and their combination of Balkan soul and driving beats they deliver an extremely danceable music. Gypsy-Roots taken to the dancefloor. The cumulative power of the saxophones tears down cultural frontiers.

Figli di Madre Ignota

Figli di Madre Ignota is a band from Milan, Italy. Made up of group of people who play a mix of balkan music, evil polkas, klezmer made out of nothing, mean swings, breathless tarantellas, and all made up with surfy electric guitars and a generous horn section: in two words, SPAGHETTI BALKAN!

It’s music to dance wildly to and with a lot of fun! They dress in elegant lounge suits and their live show is electric and hilarious. If you can imagine a Balkan brass section playing with a twangy rock combo, you’re close to the atmosphere of their show.

Figli di Madre Ignota literally means “unknown mother’s son”, and it was the legal definition of orphans of women who couldn’t or didn’t want to recognize them. These bastards rock!


The No Smoking Orchestra

The No Smoking Orchestra’s most renowned member is the film director and ex-punk Emir Kusturica on bass and guitar with his son also joining the band on drums. No Smoking seems to be the fun Kusturica needs to let off some steam from his time-consuming director’s work. Although this can not be strictly separated, as The No Smoking Orchestra also often records the scores for Kusturica’s films. As films like Underground or Black cat, White cat single-handedly started the Balkan wave in Western Europe in the Ninetees, The No Smoking Orchestra quickly became one of the first Balkan bands to fill big halls from London to Paris with their trademark Unza-Unza sound.

By the way, The No Smoking Orchestra are no pioneers of the anti-smoking laws, but simply don’t like to wear dinner (smoking) jackets.

For Balkanbeats vol.3 we secured an exclusive song, which has so far only been released on the Serbian version of the soundtrack to the Kusturica film Life is a miracle.



The group ‘Romengo is new voice in Eastern European gypsy music. This song here is an exclusive and unreleased so far. Romengo’s lead vocalist Monika Lakatos is already well-known in Hungary, where she is considered to be one of the most powerful, soulful and authentic gypsy singers. Emerging from the traditional ‘Olah Gypsy Music’, Monika & Romengo compose new repertoire in this typical ‘Olah’ style, with her unique voice and the typical rhythm of the traditional tin can, as well as with string instruments. The result is a fresh, powerful and emotional sound and a wonderful tune to round off our third Balkanbeats journey.