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Various Artists Gypsy Groove Review

Compilation. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Don’t you sometimes wish us Britons were a little more positive in our outlook?

Robert Jackman 2007

Don’t you sometimes wish us Britons were a little more positive in our outlook?

Take eastern European music, for example. The only time it seems to get press coverage is after Terry Wogan spouts some conspiratorial Cold War drivel.

But maybe in a less cynical Britain, eastern European music would command attention for more wholesome reasons – reasons like Gypsy Groove.

This modern Gypsy compilation is a fine collection, if a little short, which admirably documents the eclectic influence and staggering outreach of Gypsy music.

You see, Gypsy music, like its masters, has a distinctly nomadic outlook – it bravely ventures across the global music spectrum, probing and exploring, but refusing to settle down.

And what better evidence than ‘'Jednou'’ by – a slick Prague-based rapper who traces his Roma roots with a sharp blend of traditional Balkan swing and laid-back hip hop cuts?

And not to forget Shantel – the prodigal son of Gypsy music. Tiring of the podiums of trendy techno nightclubs, the renegade DJ decided to take some time out to toy with the Ukranian folk music his grandmother had been fond of.

His prototype – ‘'Bucovina'’ – is a fantastic collision of pulsing electronic urgency and Gypsy jubilance. Meanwhile his tweaking with the Amsterdam’s Klezmer Band’s ‘'Sadagora Hot Dub'’ suggests his experiment is well beyond its infancy – indeed it’s maturing very nicely.

There are a few artists who are notable in their absence. Like Gogol Bordello – the ballsy Gypsy punkers whose roguish manner has snared the attention of the mainstream. You’d think their services would be rewarded.

But, on the whole, this is a great release – and any grievances will be not with the music, but the length. At just under 45 minutes, Gypsy Groove ushers the curious listener to the dance-floor; but it’s a terrible shame it doesn’t stick around when the party starts to pick up.

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