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BALKAN

  • region:Gypsy and Balkan
  • style(s):
    • Brass
    • Gypsy
  • label:Piranha Records

When Piranha took its first steps into the music of the Balkans, the genre hadn’t developed into the booming dancehall heavyweight with the regular metropolitan clubs around the world that it is now. The Jova Stojiljkovic Duva Orkestar’s participation in HeimatKlänge’s earliest edition (in Piranha’s founding year of 1988) or Ferus Mustafov’s week in the “Odyssee” cycle in 1994 were still radiating some intriguing international perfume of the formative world music years, rather than making the party crowd get to their feet.

That all changed when Fanfare Ciocarlia came onto the scene, not only for Piranha Records, but also for the world of music in general. Pioneering Balkan label Asphalt Tango Records took up work with the brass band from Zece Prajini as a joint venture with Piranha Records, releasing the band’s first three defining records on Piranha from 1998 to 2001 – to worldwide success! Next, Boban Markovic came into the Piranha play and joined the colorful cast of other contemporary acts from the exploding region, some representing the rural variation of Balkan music, other the urban, metropolitan.

Juicy, high-energy brass batteries, virtuoso bolting through a wealth of sentimental, often sad and melancholy folk songs – that’s one side of the music of the Balkans. Highly sophisticated, richly orchestrated and, more often than not, rather dark, depressed and aggrieving meditations on all kinds of man-made tragedies – the regional wars of the nineties a source that will not run dry so soon.

And then there’s the new movement – the BalkanBeats! Some celebrate the music of their lost home countries out of utter emotional need; others just for sheer fun. Whatever the specific reason, though – the phenomenon caught on the international dance floors with huge success, not only in specialized Balkan disco circles, but also as an indispensable flavour in any kind of world music party.

May the lust for life and the will to mingle all the different ethnic sub-ingredients of Balkan music outweigh the sad separatist tendencies that run against the will to live in peace and harmony. Not just on the international dance floors – where the fight has been won long ago, but in real life in the troubled region, too.

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