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Gypsy Groove, Album Review, Putumayo Records

Gypsy Groove

Album Review
Putumayo Records

Putamayo, the most user friendly world music label, has done it again! They have taken the often daunting task of exploring new ground in World Music to the next level with Gypsy Groove. I mean how would you even start to research the magical culture of the Roma and the beautiful music that has threaded through that culture for a thousand years.

Though often misrepresented and romanticised, Gypsies, or the Roma, as they prefer to be called, have had a fascinating history. Leaving the Indus Valley more than 1,000 years ago, they migrated first to the Middle East and Eastern Europe and then to the rest of the world, making an impact on the cultures with which they came into contact. They earned reputations as master musicians and entertainers whose influences can be heard in a variety of genres, including flamenco, Jewish klezmer and the works of Dvorák, Rachmaninov and other classical composers.

On March 27, Putumayo World Music presents Gypsy Groove, a collection of Balkan beats, gypsy jams and other treats from the leaders of this vibrant music scene. The album jumps off with a track that epitomises this sound. Prague producer Stani Vana has spent the last 2 years developing his own concept of cultural communication. As a leader within the gypsy genre, he has mastered the ability to both adapt to and extract from a variety of musical influences. The result is his group !DelaDap, whose name means "to groove" or simply "to dance" in the Roma language. !DelaDap contributes the opening "Zsa Manca"
and adds his signature sound to the remixed "Vino Iubirea Mea" from the German/Turkish production duo Eastenders that closes the album.

Germany's Shantel is another talented DJ and producer seeking fresh sounds to take to the dance floor. After seeing Gypsy brass orchestras, he decided to incorporate Balkan and Gypsy tunes into his set. Now considered Europe's chief selector of the best Balkan grooves, Shantel contributes his signature track "Bucovina" to this gypsy jam. Shantel also appears behind the boards on another track on Gypsy Groove, remixing Amsterdam Klezmer Band's "Sadagora Hot Dub." With their talented musicians, the Amsterdam Klezmer Band is an energetic stage act that charms international audiences and implores them to dance `til they drop. Though they originally only performed covers of traditional songs, the band now endeavours to breathe new life into the Eastern European Balkan, klezmer and Gypsy music traditions by creating original repertoire.

Another breath of fresh air comes from Ori Kaplan and Tami Muskat, two Israeli-born musicians who make up Balkan Beat Box. In addition to the myriad of cultural influences they received growing up in Israel, the boys' family trees also have roots in Romania, Belarus and Poland. Both moved to New York and, in addition to performing alongside John Zorn, the White Stripes, John Spencer Blues Explosion and others, they both joined the acclaimed group Gogol Bordello that has spearheaded the Eastern European cultural revolution there.

Other artists on this Gypsy-inspired party include Czech rapper Gipsy.cz, who adds violin, accordion, cimbalon sounds and Roma rhymes on "Jednou," and Uzbekistan's Karen Gafurdjanov, who mixes pop music with traditional Uzbek melodies on "Yov Uzga." The celebrated Slovenian singer Magnifico
combines traditional Balkan sounds with disco, funk and electronic music, while Hungary delivers two groups determined to make your feet move. Anselmo Crew is a 9-piece band for whom movement is the driving force of their music, and nothing will inspire dancing joy like Kistehén Tánczenekar whose
name translates to Little Cow Dance Band.

Finally, Gypsy Groove features the previously unreleased "Amari Szi, Amari (Remix)" from Luminescent Orchestrii, a Brooklyn-based group whose repertoire is a combination of Romanian gypsy melodies, punk frenzy, salty tangos, hard-rocking klezmer, haunting Balkan harmony, hip-hop beats and
Appalachian fiddle. A portion of Putumayo's proceeds from Gypsy Groove will be donated to the Roma Education Fund in support of its policies and programs that promote quality education for Gypsy children. Gypsy Groove is the tenth release in Putumayo's successful Groove series, which has sold more than 1.5 million records around the world. For more information on this and other Putumayo Groove releases, or to learn more about the Roma Education Fund, visit our website:

1. !DelaDap (Czech Republic/Hungary) 2. Shantel (Germany) 3. Gipsy.cz (Czech Republic) 4. Amsterdam Klezmer Band (Netherlands)
5. Balkan Beat Box (USA/Bulgaria) 6. Karen Gafurdjanov (Uzbekistan) 7. Magnifico & Turbolentza (Slovenia) 8. Anselmo Crew (Hungary) 9. Kistehén Tánczenekar (Hungary)
10. Luminescent Orchestrii (USA) 11. Eastenders (Germany)

Radio Latino, Various Artists, Putumayo World Music

Radio Latino
Various Artists
Putumayo World Music

For those new to contemporary Latin music, this collection of upbeat, radio-friendly tunes are the perfect introduction.

Continue reading: Radio Latino, Various Artists, Putumayo World Music

Turkish Groove, Album review, Putumayo Recordings

Turkish Groove - Album Review

Well on its way to becoming a fully fledged member of the EU this new compilation from Putumayo proves that Turkish music may well be making more of an appearance in our top 40 as well.

This collection of modern Turkish stars compiled by Putumayo head A'n'R man Jacob Edgar swells amply with the intriguing rhythms that tend to make subsequent listens to current chart hits sound increasing hollow.

As MP3 downloads are surely increasing the nation's exposure to new and diverse music so the Turkish sound is bound to grow in popularity as more people are exposed to it. This album is a great starting point to get acquainted with modern Turkish music, the albums tracks exuding an air of accomplished sophistication and satisfyingly high standards of quality.

The album contains tracks by 2003 Eurovision song contest winner (Turkey's first win) Sertab and Mustafa Sandal, internationally recognised musician and described in some quarters as the Turkish Justin Timberlake. Along with Tarkam these two young performers are the heartthrobs of the Turkish music industry, hugely popular at home and with Tarkam about to release an album in English, and increasingly so, on an international stage.

Turkey's strong traditional musical signature has, unlike our own domestic pop industry, managed to carry itself into the modern age. This lends a power to these tracks that raises them well above the moniker of pop records and adds a gravitas hard to find in any more western popular genre.

The hypnotic percussion of the Turkish tradition drives these modern hits and is for me their greatest appeal. Having recently fallen under the spell of Erkin Koray, 70's Turkish progressive rock guitarist (and all round psychedelic master), entirely because of the powerful musical signature of Turkish traditional composition displayed in his music, this album had an instant attraction.

The album is a great shop window for what is bound to be an increasingly noticeable Turkish scene and would be a good first foray in to the world of Turkish music.

Tareck Ghoneim

Putumayo Records

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