I don’t know how to name this genre.
i’m trying to work out what it should be, or even just what these bands have in common
all i know that i love all of them for the same reason:
The Crooked Fiddle Band – “Chainsaw Folk”, Sydney
Alimaailman Vasarat – “the hammers of the underworld”, Helsinki
The Barons Of Tang – “Gypsy Death Core”, Melbourne
RotFront – “Emigrantski Raggamuffin Collectif”, Berlin
The WooHoo Revue – Melbourne
Budzillus – “Gypsy Punk”, Berlin
Leningrad – “punk-ska”, St Petersberg?
Vulgargrad – “Kings of Russian criminal sound”, Melbourne
Afenginn – “Bastard Etno”, Denmark
The Cat Empire – Melbourne
What do they have in common?
- mostly instrumental
- lots of brass
- very composed
- eastern european musical roots
- rock/metal/punk influences
Harry Angus [the Cat Empire] says of his band:
The jazz/reggae/funk/latin/gypsy/hip hop tag grew longer and longer, but it was an apt description. The band would jump from one genre to the next, many times within a single song, it didn’t matter what it was, as long as people were dancing.
For over a decade now, and through various recordings, The Cat Empire have carved themselves out a unique place in the musical firmament, as a band with no guitars, with no easily definable style and no corresponding haircut, but a band that can step onto any stage in the world and make the crowd move. More than move, in fact. Make the crowd lose themselves in a frenzy.
The group is inquisitive, playful and imaginative and takes an anarchic approach to traditional musical structures. Their compositions range from lyrical, picturesque and programme music-like pieces to jagged up-tempo numbers in odd time signatures, always with the special rhythmic and melodic finesse which characterises Afenginn. Their own term for the band’s musical style is “Bastard Ethno”.
In the Alamaailman Vasarat music you can find traces of tango, klezmer, jazz, psychobilly, cabaret, circus music, new age, progressive avant-garde and heaviest of heavy metal.
It is fairly typical to hear the band sail between creepy “Christmas-songs-for-the-poor”-type melancholic Finnish melodies to hot desert mirages of Ancient Persia just to engage an up-tempo Klezmer-wedding when you least expect it!
Whatever the mood or style, the main elements in all Alamaailman Vasarat compositions are a strong visual image and powerful melodic content, preparing the listener for an unforgettable musical journey to places yet explored, strangely distant but at the same time curiously familiar. True world music!
Julian from the Barons says:
Mixing Klezmer and Balkan feels with punk, bent folk music and whatever’s lying around the kitchen… With an arsenal of instruments such as bass clarinet, accordion, banjo and double bass, the band is redefining the limits of both “punk” and “world” music.
Vulgargrad say of themselves
Defying description one thing is for sure, they might sing in Russian but they are a foot-stomping, power-punching music experience not to be missed. Elements of Gypsy, perestroika punk, rhumba, jazz and pop
A review of the WooHoo Revue
the Woohoo sound is a frenzied blur of Balkan, gypsy, swing and jazz. You know the kind of sound I´m shooting at; the kind that makes you dance by kicking your legs about haphazardly and spinning until you can feel your brain burning. The band managed to sap the entire populace of the NSC of energy, beating them senseless with their whirling tango tunes.