urban gypsy beats from belgrad
produced & released by Asphalt Tango Records, 2009
Almost three years on from Kal's groundbreaking debut album band leader Dragan Ristic appears both weary and excited about the forthcoming release of Radio Romanista. Relaxing in the shadows of a downtown Belgrade bar, Ristic admits the last few years have been hectic ones. "We went from being this tiny Belgrade band, not even really known in our home town, to touring Europe and the US, hearing DJs blast our music in clubs, playing festivals, meeting all kinds of people, getting to spread the word and music of the Rom.
produced & released by Asphalt Tango Records, 2006
Kal are the hottest Gypsy band from the suburbs of Belgrad, rock'n'roll in attitude, fuelled on urban beats and rooted in the Balkan blues. In their wit, imagination and ability to throw disparate sounds together they mark themselves as both part of Balkan Gypsy tradition and 21st Century lifestyle. Kal - the word is Romani for 'black' - were formed by the Ristic brothers, Dushan and Dragan, to confront the prejudices and clichés the Roma face. Ristic's vision of how Kal embrace 21st Century Roma music is a generous one: bhangra rhythms underpin one song, a violin dances around a two-step rhythm played on double bass, weeping Hawaiian steel guitar drifts over a lovely waltz tempo, an accordion feeds tango flavours, Montenegran rock satirist Rambo Amadeus delivers an acerbic, hiccupping rap whilst the striking voices of Zumrita Jakupovic, Adil Maksutovic and Dragana Berakovic lend earthy, sensual qualities to the songs. Recorded on a bare bones budget at Dragan's ramshackle home studio this brilliant, intuitive album shifts Gypsy soul into cyberspace. To help achieve this mix Kal employed Mike Nielsen to mix, arrange, find beats and produce the album. Nielsen's experience involves everything from mixing Dizzy Gillespie's live sound through working with Maori and Turkish musicians to producing/ engineering Underworld, Jamiroquai and Natasha Atlas.