Posts Tagged ‘balkan’

Top of the World: She’Koyokh – Wild Goats & Unmarried Women

Posted on May 22nd, 2014 in Recent posts, Reviews by .


Words by Garth Cartwright

TUG1080London klezmer band get it right in the studio

She’Koyokh have carved out a reputation as one of the UK’s brightest world music bands. These young Londoners effortlessly blend vernacular music from Turkey, the Balkans and Eastern Europe to create a very exciting whole. Klezmer is at the root of She’Koyokh’s sound and ‘Der Filosof/Flatbush Waltz’ is a lovely slice of soulful klezmer sung by tuba player Paul Tkachenko. But rather than endlessly play variations on klezmer tunes, they have expanded their sound into a rich tapestry. In concert, She’Koyokh are never less than brilliant yet their previous studio albums have often felt a little stiff, as if the band freeze up without an audience. Wild Goats & Unmarried Women finds them raising their game, sounding more organic, unhurried, looser and more dynamic.

As ever, the interplay between these eight musicians is superb – clarinettist Susi Evans, guitarist Matt Bacon and violinist Meg-Rosaleen Hamilton weave intricate, complex melodies over an impressive rhythm section, while vocalist Çiğdem Aslan (whose debut album Mortissa was one of Songlines’ picks of 2013) sings with mournful beauty on tunes such as ‘Moj Dilbere’ and ‘Teke Zortlatmasi’. The only improvement I can imagine to the band’s sound would involve them further exploring the more psychedelic, trance-like elements of their music – Balkan raga rock drones. But Wild Goats… remains a hugely enjoyable listen.

Track to Try: ‘Moj Dilbere’

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Top of the World: Mostar Sevdah Reunion – Tales from a Forgotten City

Posted on February 17th, 2014 in Recent posts, Reviews by .


Words by Kim Burton

layout_02abPioneers of the New Sevdah movement salute their city

The forgotten city of this CD’s title is, of course, Mostar itself, once a tolerant city of Christians, Muslims and Jews, now a testament to the spiritual and physical effects of a vicious war, yet retaining some of its beauty and, in spite of everything, something of its soul. This new recording, by the band that arguably began Bosnia’s New Sevdah movement, is a deeply affecting tribute to the life of a city that may not yet be quite forgotten, nor completely lost.

The style of the band has changed since its early days, along with many of its members. Guitar and piano have joined violin and accordion as lead instruments, while a younger generation of singers has taken over as vocalists, but the music remains fluid, thoughtful, and an effective reminder that there is more to Balkan music than the high-octane brass bands and drunken stomping of popular imagination. There are settings of poetry by Serb Aleksa Anti, including his famous ‘Emina’, and Muslim Osman Jiki, whose ‘Djela Fato’ is performed with a transatlantic swing that contrasts happily with the otherwise elegiac tone of the album.



Click here to buy the March (#98) issue of Songlines or download the free Songlines app from iTunes or Google Play.

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Mahala Rai Banda: The Noble Band from the Ghetto Tour

Posted on September 20th, 2012 in News, Recent posts by .

This October Mahala Rai Banda bring their explosive fusion of Balkan and Gypsy rhythms, lightning fast melodies and infectious brass to the UK.

Hailing from the villages of Romania and bursting onto the scene in 2005, the band have earned a reputation as a fierce live act with its mix of Romanian musical traditions – oriental pop, Catalan rumba, reggae and manele. Their band leader, Aurel Ionita (who has been credited for his skills in directing and production) ensures a tight set and the Roma scat singing, catchy hooks and irresistible rhythms are sure to get you on your feet.


The band are set to return this autumn to UK audiences, blending accordion, fiddle and Gypsy brass to spectacular effect.

Tour dates include:
October 2 – London Jazz Café, with special guest She’Koyokh
October 3 – St George’s, Bristol
October 4 – The Old Market, Brighton

Be sure to check out recently released remix of the their track ‘Balkan Reggae’ from Ghetto Blasters. The remix is by the London-based Jstar, who is a big Mahala Rai Banda fan.


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