The journey continues ... what DJ Soko started in the Berlin-Kreuzberg underground about a dozen years ago, has now become an established trademark and a party burner for fans and admirers. After the first compilation “BalkanBeats” the interest and the excitement was great. It managed to not only cherish the grand Balkan brass orchestras but to also combine this congenially with varieties of Balkan music, not heard of so much before, i.e. ska mixed with folk, klezmer, brass, Roma music and jazz. The sounds flowing in from the Balkans is getting more and more exciting.
“BalkanBeats volume 2” widens the range again. Here you find artists from ten different countries; Indian-oriental influences next to electronic music and classic gypsy tunes. DJ Soko has again dug deep into his magic box. Next to treasures, which he discovers on his journeys to his old homelands, he is now also being sent music from many artists who like the open concept of BalkanBeats. Little Balkan scenes also exist in other cities now. The DJs invite each other for guest appearances and exchange music. Everywhere you find people dancing wildly, whether it's at the Mehanata Bar New York, at Divan du Monde Paris or at the Schauspielhaus, Frankfurt.
Despite his international commitments, DJ Soko is still doing his monthly BalkanBeats nights at the Mudd Club in Berlin every second and fourth Saturday. This is the home base of Balkanbeats plus a fixed address for Balkan fans. It is great to watch how more and more people get excited about this music and how other DJ's pick up this passionate music. This feedback then again inspires and encourages musicians in the Balkans. At home, masters of their art, like Fanfare Ciocărlia, are by now not only regarded as just another Roma brass ensemble but are respected as internationally acclaimed musicians. Young DJ's and producers in Croatia and Serbia are now more self aware of their roots and mix this with crazy new sounds.
On “BalkanBeats volume 2” DJ Soko seeks to project these new style-crossing trends as well as to acknowledge purist sounds – just as it is being celebrated at their parties. Balkanbeats does not cut the edges though. No smoothness or clean shaveness here! The Balkans is torn apart: wild/romantic, whilst at the same time it is able to be a modern European region. Many talented people have emigrated. That is why you also find on “BalkanBeats volume 2”, artists from the States or from Belgium bringing their own new influences. Some artists have probably not even heard of each other before. Some come from remote villages whilst others are fully linked up and socialised in the capitals.
As the borders in Europe disappear and the cultural exchange spans world-wide networks, the music also there has less and less clearly defined genres. Crossover! Passion is the keyword. You can find this in abundance in the Balkans. BalkanBeats does not preserve this culture like a museum piece as it swirls it onto the dancefloor to keep it alive. Whoever has danced through a night in the Berlin Mudd Club has an idea of how integration can work without words. DJ Soko (Bosnia) and his partner in crime Marko (Croatia) do not give a damn where the people on the dancefloor come from. Balkanbeats means tolerance, which is fun. What counts is, no dress code and to only dance together around the Balkan fire, which blazes in one or another form in all of the songs here. Balkanbeats try to capture this spirit between passion, delicate melancholy and it's very own unique craziness.