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This is the self-named album Kal by Kal! Kal are a Serbian band from the small village of Valjevo but are now based in Belgrade, they fuse traditional roma music with a very slight amount of pop/crooning, they are one of very few Serbian artists that still play Balkan music in the traditional sense as Serbian music is these days liittered with keyboards in general.
Kal (Romani for black) were once described by a BBC journalist in Leicester as "the coolest band in the world", whilst nothing from someone from Leicester should be taken to seriously (they still think Gary Lineker is cool), he's almost spot on in this case. Kal dress in black suits and hats which instantaneously gives them a mafia look, this image is quickly broken though as they're jolly outlook on life woos the crowd where ever they are quite quickly.
The band themselves do a lot of work in Serbia to integrate the roma people in to Serbia in general through theatre productions spanning from Budapest to Belgrade and Bucharest, each year they also run a school (Amala School in Valjevo) where people can come from across the world to learn more about the culture and language - www.amala.com
This album is as far as I know, their only one to date and was recorded in Dragan Ristic (vocals and guitar) homemade studio in Belgrade. Mike Nielsen, who has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Underground, Jamiroquai and a whole host of other musicians over the years was then asked to find beats, mix, arrange and produce the album and the self-titled album was then released by Berlin based record company Asphalt Tango Records.
This album is one of the best recent examples of combining roots and modern music to acquire a very pleasant sound.
The track Gurbetski Tango is an undoubted hit, a soothing and musical masterpiece, Duj Duj has a very turkish oriental sound, Dvojka starts off with a bit of mellow Drum and Bass before moving on to a very classical sound, whilst more upbeat tracks like Papusha, Komedija and Mozzarella add classy clasical vitality to the album.
Undoubtedly one of if not the best Serbian roma band currently but not as good as fellow musicians who focus more on the roots side of things like Bengas, Bregovic, Redzepova, Puceanu or Taraf Haidouks in my eyes.
The majority of the songs can be found either on www.myspace.com/romakal or through youtube, this may help you decide whether or not you wish to purchase the album!
1. Duj Duj
5. Djelem, Djelem
7. Boro Boro
9. Gurbetski Tango
10. Obrenovac Boogie
11. Tu Barosa
12. Midnight Walk
For more news on mostly up and coming bands but also some who have also released stuff, please check out my blog at www.jungleofjohns.blogspot.com
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Duj Duj
5 Djelem Djelem
7 Boro Boro
9 Gurtbetski Tango
10 Obrenovac Boogie
11 Tu Barosa
12 Midnight Walk