I had a spot of trouble at Gayhane once. This was during  those crazy five years between 2005 and 2010, when I was riding the Balkan wave, living out my midlife crises with large quantities of booze and untold substances.  Back then I wasn’t just interested in Balkan, but also Oriental, specifically Turkish music. I loved everything from halay beats to ...

Raised in Lyon with the tunes his Sicilian grandmother sang to him, Julien Lesuisse set out in search of his “Sicilian soul”. Along the way he picks up on the sound of the Maghreb, incorporating a heavy dose of Algerian rai, soaked up in situ in Oran, the Algerian home of rai folk music. The result is Luci e Guai, eight ...

One Friday not long ago I met with Ero Behrić and Alen Hebilović – two erstwhile figures in Berlin’s Balkan party scene –  in a Turkish café on Oranien Straße, half an hour before cuma – Friday prayers – at the Bosnian mosque on Adalbert Straße near Kotti. They always had cuma at two o’clock at the Bosnian mosque, which was a convenient thing for ...

The new Balkan sound departs from the clean, straight, beat-laden Balkan club tracks of yore, insofar as the new stuff is looser, fuzzier, deeper, more distorted, less distinct - subtler even, trafficking less in Balkan clichés. “Ethno psychedelia”, you could call it.  Balkan Taksim group members Sașa-Liviu Stoianovici and Alin Zăbrăuțeanu have known each other for more than a decade, ...