Balkan clubbing

Balkan beats and Roma party music are coming soon to a club near you. Time Out grabs its accordion

  • ‘There are 175,000 Eastern European immigrants in the UK,’ states the press release for Nomad Disko, a new ‘Balkan beats’ night which moves into the 333 on Saturday week. ‘At some point they had to have an impact on club culture…’

    Ah, but they have already. Many of the newest converts to psy trance, and hard house clubbing are those recent immigrants that the tabloids get so nervous about, as they’re embracing nightlife styles that may not be so spectacularly presented in Krakow or Sofia.

    It isn’t Poles or Bulgarians who’ll troop along to monthly nights like Nomad Disko or Russ Jones’s Globo Loco, which returns to Cargo on Thursday, but a cosmopolitan, open-minded crowd who just can’t resist the hugely uplifting excitement of brassy Balkan wedding music, Gogol Bordello’s ‘gypsy punk’ frenzy, klezmer accordion struts or the twenty-first-entury remixes of Ukranian, and Romanian party tunes.

    ‘I’m putting a lot of effort into Globo Loco becauuse the reaction has been so positive,’ enthuses Jones. ‘People love the music, even if they’ve hardly heard it before. The crowd are really friendly and the feedback has been amazing.’ He could have said the same about his compilation, ‘Gypsy Beats and Balkan Bangers’, which included both the ace original ‘Mahalageasca’ by Mahala Rai Banda and Felix Buxton of Basement Jaxx’s thrilling housey remix. The collection got great reviews from Time Out to Radio 1 and it was the success of the launch parties, where guest DJs Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello and DJ Shantel of Frankfurt’s Bucovina Club flew into perform, that prompted Jones to launch Globo Loco as a stand-alone monthly.

    Each night will feature bands, from klezmer specialists to flamenco and Roma groups, and on Thursday it’s the turn of Mama Matrix led by the ubiquitous Daz Dolczech. Hardly a ‘typical’ gypsy band they claim to have landed on the musical map ‘somewhere between Frank Zappa and Elvis Presley (via Eastern European infused punk)’. Confused? That’ll be part of the fun.

    Jones has been playing Roma music within his long-running club, Future World Funk, and Balkan beats have been a big part of two other regular nights at the Notting Hill Arts Club, Radio Gagarin and Costa Urbana. It’s still very much a fledgeling scene here, whereas Balkan beat events are already hugely popular in Germany – see or listen to Penny Metal’s

    Costa Urbana’s host Paras is Greek and grew up with Balkan beats. While his Costa Urbana club presents music from all around the Mediterranean, Nomad Disko will focus firmly on parading the rough energy of Roma party music, crazy accordion solos and Balkan brass constructions to the Mother Bar in the 333 on Saturday 7. Whether it’s full of Poles, Greeks, Brits or a more typically London mix of nationalities, Shoreditch had better get ready for a real party.

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