20 August 2007

Monday's mp3: Romano Hip Hop in the House

Gipsy.cz: Romano Hip Hop
(Indies Records)
Buy CD : watch Romano Hip Hop video

I'm not trying to be cool with the lingo -- the above headline directly from a lyric in "Welcome to Prague." Rapper Radoslav Banga, aka Gipsy, spouts such lines with ease in English as well as other languages (Czech? Roma?) in his journey taking modern Roma music to a new level. His ensemble Gipsy.cz blends traditional music and instruments with pumped-up beats and rapid-fire rapping (and frequent exclamations of "Opa!" which apparently isn't just for Greeks...).

Gipsy.cz - Romano Hip HopThe album opens with "Tajsa," a song that will appeal to fans of Ojos de Brujo with its rap-meets-flamenco vibe. The tracks "Multin" and "Tecka" are are FCC-unfriendly (is it inevitable that profanities are the first foreign words one learns?), though both are strong tracks that deserve listening. And at the end of the album is a crazy a capella hidden track. But I'll let you listen to one of my current favorites:

[mp3] Gipsy.cz: Bengoro Hang

Easily one of the most enjoyable global albums of the year, Romano Hip Hop has already won a slew of awards and spent months in the World Music Charts Europe. And for good reason. Gipsy, violinist Vojta Lavicka, accordionist Petr Surmaj and his bassist brother Jan Surmaj make a glorious sound. Catchy as pop-laden commercial hip hop, Gipsy's music comes with the extra appeal of tradition-rooted melodies made modern.

Sure, his attitudinal boasting (some in English) comes off a bit simplistic but his delivery is solid and the arrangements tight as a drum. Besides, after generations of oppression, the Roma community is due a little cultural pride. So crank up this album, and you'll soon agree that these gipsy kids can get u down. Highly recommended!

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