The Shukar Collective offers something a little bit different than the average electronica on their latest CD, Urban Gypsy.
Urban Gypsy features ursari music – Romanian bear tamer music – combined with breakbeats and dub effects. The tracks prominently feature folk instruments like spoons, wooden barrels and darabuka. Just as prominent, though, are drum machines, synthesizers, samples and effects.
The Shukar Collective’s core are Shukar founders Napoleon, Tamango and Clasic, who play traditional instruments. The collective brings together the Shukar groupmembers and a group of DJ/composer/producers.
The numerous collaborators give the CD a bit of an uneven feel, but the CD is an exciting cross-generational electronica collaboration, nonetheless.
Shukar’s traditional instruments and vocals provide a great deal of interest and character to the tracks. The best tracks capture large chunks of Shukar’s performances and arrange them within an electronica context. On these tracks, traditional bear-taming vocals and percussion gel with jazz bass, breakbeats and synth riffs and effects.
Highlights include the jazzy tracks Shub and The Wind, the driving breakbeat-filled Malademna, the bass-shaking Lautarium and the infectious Taraf. A few of the tracks are less exciting. Diasperiae Romanes sounds a bit too generic, like an electronica track that samples Shukar, rather than a collaboration or performance.
The Shukar Collective’s Urban Gypsy is an interesting mix of traditional Romanian music and electronica. Where else are you going to hear bear-taming breakbeats?
- Calling Tamango
- The Wind
- Gipsy Blooz
- Oh, Mother
- Bar Boot
- Disperiae Romanes
- Do Baba 3:42
- Verbal Fight