Damn, Paul Ackroyd went all out on this one. Originally posting these while the London Olympics were on, the man sometimes known as Kamikaze pushed his record collection to the extreme, pulling out one track from every country competing. Pretty impressive to say the least, this is some dedicated digging with hefty results. I’m not sure […]
I’m a huge fan of the singer/songwriter, Maraveyas Ilegal. His songs, his movement, the dancing and interactivity with the audience put him on top of my world music performers list.
‘Most bands that play traditional music, do it in a traditional way. What’s interesting for us it to keep it fresh and make it a living tradition,’ said Gergely Barcza of Hungarian gypsy-fusion band Besh o droM. Formed in Budapest in 1999, the name translates as ‘ride the road’, which they’ve done with performances at festivals all over Europe, Asia and soon for the first time, in Australia. ‘When we started, I never thought the music would travel so far, and take us all to so many different places.’
Gogol Bordello’s frontman, Eugene Hutz, was born in Kiev to a Romany family which fled their home following the Chernobyl disaster when he was a teenager. He spent years travelling through Eastern European refugee camps before arriving in Vermont, in the north-east American region of New England, as a political refugee. He eventually established himself in New York as a musician and artist, and became the resident DJ at the Bulgarian Bar, Mehanata, which, thanks to Eugene’s ‘kidnapping’ of touring Romany and Gypsy bands and artists to perform there after their official seated concert hall shows, helped turn it into the ‘CBGBs of Gypsy Punk. Gogol Bordello formed after its original members met at a Russian wedding in Vermont, and soon snow-balled into a fully-fledged immigrant orchestra. Debut shows at famous New York venues, including the Mercury Lounge and the Bowery Ballroom, saw them banned for performances that were ‘too over the top’.
The first album released by the Malian duo Amadou & Mariam, Dimanche a Bamako, bordered on exceptional, if not for its songwriting then for its sheer diversity. You’d be forgiven for approaching cautiously an album that draws its influences from Syria, Cuba, Egypt, India, and Colombia, as well as its own country – much like a restaurant that offers every cuisine on the planet: choose one and do it well, you’d argue. But the album is fantastic: so full of life, so catchy and so accessible.
The Tinariwen album, Aman Iman, was a star among the many great releases of 2007, surprisingly so given the underexposure of world music in your average annual list of must-haves (even emo-warriors Pitchfork gave it a big thumbs-up). Their story is as intriguing as the music: hailing from the Tuareg tribe in Mali, they formed […]
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.