by Zolton in New Music on Wednesday 5 December 2007

Featuring the diverse talents of former Gogol Bordello member Ori Kaplan and Firewater member Tamir Muskat — amongst an ever-expanding cast of collaborators — Balkan Beat Box create dynamic and buoyant music which resonates with all the tradition of its Middle Eastern roots. We interviewed the guys recently. World music is so big right now. Why has it taken this long for so many people to really appreciate the diverse sounds and beats out there? [Ori] ‘The real question might be — why if someone takes Irish traditional music and mixes it with old black American music its called country music and if one takes Middle Eastern and mixes it with hip hop its world? It’s all a funny commercial perception dictated by the industry. People are much smarter than media though and maybe they are getting sick of tags. After all, with the immigration around the world, how can new breeds be prevented? You’d have to arrest people soon if you want to stop it. It’s urban evolution’. There’s lots of collaborations going down with the BBB sound. Is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet that you’d love to? [Ori] ‘We always look to unknown artists. Tomorrow we may go to a village in Morocco or Serbia and discover the most amazing singer. This is part of the excitement, not just using the well-established artists. We like to mold new voices into the BBB aesthetics, even if it’s just for one magic day in the studio, or on stage. From the people out there in the limelight, we would love to have M.I.A as our guest soon’.