International dance music has seen a resurgence since Jewish singjay Matisyahu stormed MTV2 and radio stations across the map. Following in his steps is Balkan Beat Box, a Brooklyn/Tel Aviv-based trio that crafts funky, gypsy dancehall like no other (does anybody else craft funky, gypsy dancehall?).
On its latest release, Nu Med (JDub), BBB steps away from mere head-nodding dance music laced with obscure cultural instrumentation, and hones its bass-heavy breakbeats and chiming gypsy percussion towards tearing down cultural and political constraints that separate nations and their respective musical traditions.
BBB saxophonist and co-founder Ori Kaplan explains that, "because Jews and Gypsies lived in the same countries through the years, Jewish and Gypsy music are cousins. We play each other’s songs. We have been through the same persecution and pain."
The trio assembled quite a following after touring with Matisyahu last march, destroying the sold-out Central Park Summerstage with a 40-piece samba troupe (complete with stagedives), as well as engrossed a legion of gypsy-punk fanatics. BBB accomplishes this without relying on flags, borders, or nationalities. Instead, the boys fuse hip-hop, funk, dancehall, gypsy guitars, and traditional Mediteranian sounds to place their cultural heritage back on the musical radar.
Nu Med is out May 15, 2007 on JDub.
1. Keep Em Straight
3. Habibi Min Zaman
5. Digital Monkey
8. Quand-Est-Ce Qu'On Arrive
9. Mexico City
11. Joro Boro
12. Gypsy Queens
13. 20 For Boban
14. Baharim (Outro)