“Squeezed in by Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, we Istrians pass much better as chameleons” Luka Šipetić is from Pula, a city on the northern coast of Croatia renowned for its festivals of electronic music held in old Habsburg fortresses. He is the man behind "Tarot Funk", one of Bandcamp's hottest  albums in 2019. Predominantly an instrumental work that invites listeners ...

The Gothenburg Balkan scene is a wild fusion of many different styles of music from Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. I have visited numerous arenas, clubs, venues and forgotten dance-floors during my twenty-five years in this city on Sweden’s west coast – and here is my little guide to the Balkans in Gothenburg. There are plenty of acts and artists that ...

One day during one of my trips to the Balkans I found myself in the historical town of Ohrid on Lake Ohrid in western Macedonia. My idea was to go to Sveti Naum on the border to Albania, an ancient monastery where once a year thousands of Orthodox Christians gather, coming from all over the Balkans in their tour busses.Mungo Park “You have ...

Your latest release with Piranha Records is with The Glass House Orchestra, how did this project come out?  Six years ago was the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary. What I didn’t know before then, in most places in Germany and Europe, the Holocaust took place over approximately 5-6 years. In Hungary, it all happened at once. The Jews were ...

It must be love! by @denizdenden This production is a utopia in dystopian times. Shantel & Cümbüş Cemaat's album “Istanbul” open up a utopian space between Frankfurt-on the-sea and Istanbul on the Bosphorus. Here a new attempt is being made to create – with respect and devotion – a  new dialogue between pop cultures.  “Dialogue of cultures”, that sounds a bit trite, ...

#postzionist music. Thoughts about etnoise and fakelore.   In a letter from Tel Aviv I have arranged this interview with Ensemble of Love and Terror as part of an exploration of  the local music scene, asking questions like  what is folk,  or what is  fake folk (“fakelore”) or what is   “etnoise”.  I thought it would make sense to start with the guy ...

At first glance there is something suspiciously “arty” about DakhaBrakha. Attired in exaggerated folk costumes and oversize black lamb-fur head-gear – they play on ethnic stereotypes while at the same time subverting them.  These four trained ethnomusicologists  came together in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art «DAKH» under the aegis of the avant-garde theatre director — Vladyslav Troitskyi.  The ...

My name is Rafi, a Syrian-Palestinian musician. Growing up, I knew about Omar Souleyman, but in the Middle East his music is considered cheesy, or maybe only for weddings. After moving to Berlin I got to discover that he represents a unique phenomenon in the Western world. I was surprised by his popularity here, his success and fame amongst hipsters. ...

“Kaybola” means something like “Let’s get lost” in Turkish. It is the second album of Istanbul trio Islandman. The idea is to create for the listener rich soundscapes, layered with elements culled from around the world – be it the Turkic realm (Anatolian folk-rock), Bulgaria (women’s folk choirs), Bali (gamelan music) or Mongolia (throat singing). Tolga Böyük is the personality ...

“A soundtrack of freaks, gangsters, pimps and punks of the era.” So Uzelli Kaset bills their newly  released compilation of Turkish electric saz music, called Uzelli Elektro Saz (1976-1984), curated by Murat Ertel – the lead singer and saz player of Istanbul psych band BaBa Zula – with his wife, Esma Ertel. And as the blurb suggests, the LP is being ...

        And so it was that -- filled with a tremor of excitement --  I embarked on another trip to Belgrade,  that wild, loud, brawling, lawless and free city in the Balkans, where the kafanas flowed with rakija and the streets were filled with beautiful girls in knock-off Versace and silicone tits.  Some called the bus line the “Gastarbeiter Express” because it hit ...

    In Vladičin Han,  the South Serbian town, where Marko Marković hails from, nearly everyone plays brass . “Growing up I didn’t have a choice,” says Marko. “The trumpet chose me.” Marko Marković (30) is the son of Balkan brass legend Boban Marković, five times winner of “Best Trumpeter” award at Guča, Serbia’s annual summer-time brass music blow-out.   Almost before he ...

The story of Dudu Tassa and the Kuwaitis is an amazing one. How Israel’s most famous Mizrahi rocker Dudu Tassa revived the Iraqi music of his grandfather and his brother, which had fallen into neglect in an Israel that had turned its back on Arabic music, forging a new “Iraq & roll” for audiences in Israel and abroad. Dudu was supposed ...