Kal is a new hip Gypsy band from Serbia. This band is truly hot and reached the top of the European World Music Charts in April 2006. Their sound on Kal (Asphalt Tango, 2006) is truly innovative, combining Gypsy folk melodies, rhythms and instruments with rock instrumentation and electronic grooves. The music is refreshing and captivating. The band is made up of a half-dozen musicians from all over Serbia, who perform regularly in Belgrade and have frequently toured Europe. Kal will launch a new tour, beginning in late April and lasting two months. They will be appearing in many Western European cities. See this site for the schedule: www.asphalt-tango.de/kal/artist.html
The Asphalt Tango label specializes in Gypsy music from Central and Eastern Europe. Up to now, most of the music released by the label has been contemporary recordings by current artists. On Sounds from a Bygone Age, Vol. 1, Asphalt Tango have reissued one of the gems of Romanian Gypsy music of the 1970s. Violinist Petre Stoican recorded this album in the 1970s with some of the finest Gypsy musicians from the Bucharest scene. Stoican’s violin plays spectacular solos, some of the best fiddling I’ve heard in years.
Gypsy brass bands have grown in popularity and Boban Markovic leads one of the best. On The Promise (Piranha, 2005), Markovic plays primarily original music, contemporary pieces, inspired by Balkan folk, using the flugelhorn and trumpet as the lead instruments, accompanied by trumpet, tenor horns, helicon, drums and darbuka. The album also features Boban’s son, Marko, who has become one of the new stars of Balkan Gypsy music.
It looks like Asphalt Tango stumbled upon a gold mine in the archives of Electrorecord Bucharest in Romania. Another treasure reissued by the German label is Sounds From a Bygone Age 2 by the legendary Romanian singer Romica Puceanu. This recording is from 1964 and it sounds unbelievably good. Puceanu is accompanied by the Gore Brothers.
Orkestina is a Spain-based group formed by musicians from various countries who share an interest in Balkan music. Several of the musicians are Eastern Europeans, who provide an authentic flavor, using clarinet, fiddle, gadulka and other instruments, supported by a powerful trap drum and acoustic bass foundation. Positivity (World Village, 2005), their latest CD, is original instrumental music, incorporating a rich variety of Eastern European Gypsy sounds, Balkan dances and Klezmer influences.
For fans of Gypsy fiddle, ARC Music has released Master of the Russian Gypsy Violin by Oleg Ponomarev. The virtuoso Russian Gypsy violinist is now based in the UK. Ponomarev is known for as part of Russian bands Loyko and Koshka. The music selection includes original pieces and modern arrangements of Russian and Moldovan songs.
Hungary has a considerable Gypsy population and Ternipe is one of the young
bands that has joined the scene. On Hungarian Gypsy Music the creative group features a traditional Hungarian Gypsy format with guitars, accordion and milk jugs, accompanying well crafted female and male lead vocals and harmonies.
Italian band Municipale Balcanica draws its inspiration from Eastern European Gypsy and Klezmer music. Their sound is unconventional, zany at times. On Foua The group combines clarinet and brass with a powerful rhythm section and electric instruments.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.