Various – Vintage Balkan Beat

13,50 12,10

SKU: JSP 5401 Category:


For the first time a superb compilation of 'Vintage Balkan Beats' aimed at both the contemporary Balkan beats crowd and also as a sampler for the amazing JSP box sets of Rembetika and other eastern European music

20 tracks compiled and annotated by world authority Ken Smith this set is a brilliant entry point into Balkan and Rembetika music. The contemporary Balkan beats scene pays tribute to the roots and here this set serves up 20 superb and accessible tracks.

Emotional Geography 20 May 2014
By Ian Clayton

About ten years ago in a music shop in Pontefract I watched a man stringing a battered acoustic guitar. The man started to play a song full of sadness and yearning, the music reminded me of something I'd heard sung by the great gypsy singer Ljiljana Buttler. When this man finished playing I asked him "Is it a sevdalinka?" He looked a little surprised, it's not every day you get a conversation about the sad songs of Sarajevo in the Yorkshire coal mining district. He then smiled and nodded. Over time, this man, Muhammed, came to be a friend and I spent many happy hours at his house on a council estate. We drank plum brandy, smoked strong tobacco and he played and sang his songs of loss, exile and trying to make a home somewhere. Muhammed eventually returned to his home in the northern foothills of the Balkans and I've only seen him once since, when i made a journey to Bosnia to continue our friendship and to eat, drink, smoke and soak up more of the wonderful music.

I tell that story because when I listened to this very moving collection, I was reminded of that friendship and how music, even music from cultures far removed from our own geographically, can make a connection through emotional geography. The songs here are from Greece where it borders Albania, the backstreets of Piraeus and the ancient region of Thrace that straddles the Greek border with Bulgaria. If you make connections to the Mississippi blues of Charley Patton or the Portuguese Fado of Amalia Rodrigues, this is a record for you. If you were one of the thousands that got turned on to the voices on the "Mystere de Bulgares" records back in the eighties you too will want to add this to your collection. It's a lovingly crafted and curated set, put together by the renowned blues enthusiast Ken Smith, who connoisseurs will remember from his days at the helm of Red Lick records.

The sleeve notes are thoughtful, knowledgeable and witty. He describes Markos Vamvakaris, a rock solid bouzouki player and the father of rembetika, as the Howlin' Wolf of the genre. Ken also orders the music perfectly, the seventeen tracks here tell of a beautiful oddyssey, from the opener a clarinet and accordion dual, through the magical soul singing of Rosa Eskanazi to the erotica of Marika Ninou, these are inspired choices. My favourite at the moment is a piece by Vulkana Stoyanova, a singer from a Thracian village who travelled to Sofia in 1936 at the age of just fourteen to record Dimo Na Rada. Like that other great Bulgarian singer, Yanka Rupkina she has a voice that can pierce bone and fetch tears after just one verse.

A word on the title of this collection "vintage BALKAN BEATS", don't go thinking that this is some dance hall mash up of exotic rhythms to dance to in the nightclubs at three o'clock in the morning when you're buzzing off your tits. This is seriously vintage music made by working class people trying to find the way back home. All the better for it an'all, that's what I say.

Track Listing:
Kitsos Harisiadis: 1. To Moiroloi Vathi - 3:07   Mita Stoicheva: 2. Stori Se Horo Golyamo - 3:13   Rosa Eskanazi: 3. Bul Bul Manes - 3:06   Anadolu Oyun Havasi: 4. Tekmil Incesaz Takimi Ile - 3:18   Markos Vamvakaris: 5. Andilaloun I Fylakes - 3:09   Jack Grigoriou & S. Michelidhis: 6. To Minore Tou Deke - 4:06   Vulkana Stoyanova: 7. Dimo Na Rada - 3:35   Stratos & Stelios Keromytis: 8. I Baglamadhes - 3:11   George Katsaros: 9. Afta ta Kleftika Sou Matia - 3:22   The Five Gliniotes: 10. Mia Emorfi - 3:19   Annitsa Nikolaou: 11. To Mathene Pos S'agapo - 3:22   Marika Ninou & Vassilis Tsitsanis: 12. Ela Opos Ise - 3:31   Udi Hrant: 13. Huzzam Taksim - 3:20   A. Kostis: 14. Kaike Ena Scholio - 4:12   Demir Cholakov: 15. Kulska Trapeza - 3:28   Athanasios Makedhonas: 16. Tsifte Telli - 4:16   An. Halkia: 17. Gianni Mou to Madili Sou - 3:21   Markos Vamvakaris: 18. Olli Rembetes to Dounia - 3:14   Apostolos Hadzichristos: 19. Nychto Pouli - 3:21   Vassilis Tsitsanis: 20. Serviko - 3:07