Just got another Balkan music fix. I’ll be jonesing again soon, but it feels nice at the moment.

Gotta wrap up the reviews of my last batch of CDs before I pick up new ones, which could happen any time. I got these two off CDBaby, which is a great place to order all sorts of independent music.

Figli di Madre Ignota

One of my favorite new discoveries is Figli di Madre Ignota, a band from Tuscany, Italy (The name means “children of unknown mother”). I found them thanks to Jango Internet radio. I made a “Gypsy” themed station and tried to get as many Eastern European-sounding bands to pop up as possible. The first thing I thought of was Gypsy Punk band Gogol Bordello, but Figli is different. Not much of a punk flavor. More of a big band sound, with the nice horn section and a bit of swing. They refer to their music as Spaghetti Balkan. It does have an Italian sort of flair about it. I also hear influences like dancehall reggae and ska, klezmer, and surf. I bet they would be nearly as fun to see live as Gogol Bordello.

Very enjoyable album all the way through. Lyrics are Italian, except for the excellent “Theme from Paradise,” which is in English and “Dago Shoes” (mostly English). The booklet has translations for “Falafel Express” and “Nema Problema Tourist.” And by the way, the CD came with two free videos, one for “Theme from Paradise,” the other from “Ole Ole.”

BalkanBeats Vol. 2

Since I was already on CDBaby about to order something with a Balkan feel, I decided to get some straight-up Balkan music. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff like that, so I went with a mix so I could find some new favorites. And I certainly did. Also found some great new tunes by bands I already knew and loved.

New ones that jumped out at me include: “Anti Geroj” by Azis (very Indian-sounding), “Mozarrella” by Kal (reminds me a bit of Taraf de Haidouks), “Gypsy Part 1” by Biber, “Ha megfogom az ördögöt” by Besh O Drom (killer song, love the flute), “Hora Evreiasca” by Fanfare Ciocarlia (already one of my favorite bands – awesome Gypsy brass, really fiery number), “Otpisani” by Boban Markovic Orkestar (more great Gypsy brass by another current favorite), “31” by Va Fan Fahre (this is a new favorite, a Balkan brass band from Belgium with a klezmer influence, absolutely explosive – a “magic organ” version of this song turns up later as a hidden track), “Moldavian Song” by Emir Kusturica and the No Smoking Orchestra (I’ve loved Kusturica and his band for years and this does not disappoint – incidentally, Kusturica is also a hell of a movie director. Time of the Gypsies and Underground are some of my favorites and also feature great soundtracks by Goran Bregovic).

See if this doesn’t get your blood pumping:


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Filed under music, review, Uncategorized, world music

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