05 January 2009

Monday's mp3: Authentically Neo-Roma

CD REVIEW
KAL: Radio Romanista
(Asphalt Tango)
KAL - Radio Romanista - on SoundRoots.org
KAL makes Roma/Gypsy music; KAL makes modern urban music. And there's no separation between the two.

The musical equivalent of nuclear fusion, the Serbian band seems to create ever more energetic tunes, upping the ante from their self-titled 2005 debut with the 13 songs on Radio Romanista (the title track tells of a radio station in the imaginary nation of Romanistan, homeland of the Gypsies). Traditional touches pervade the album, co-mingling with urban beats and outstanding (and often very speedy - check out the fiddling on "Romozom" and "I'm Gypsy"!) instrumental prowess. (audio samples)

[mp3] KAL: Krasnokalipsa featuring Marcello
from the album Radio Romanista

KAL bandleader Dragan Ristic has a fantastic ear for modernizing his rich musical roots without losing the essential elements. With KAL's success," says Ristic, "we're proving the music of your ancestors is still valid, still lives." And it's not merely alive, it's dancing down the street and pulling you along it its wake.

Ignore the narrow-minded reviewer who said of this album: "It's a sad commentary on the state of the world when you can no longer count on ethnic groups to behave the way you want them to." Tradition isn't static, music is constantly evolving. KAL's sound is as authentically "Gypsy" as anything from Vera Bila, or anything from Gypsy.cz, for that matter.

Sure it's early in the year, but go ahead and mark Radio Romanista as one of the best albums of 2009.

More KAL:
website
label site
youtube
wikipedia
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