Traveling through music, time and across continents

If you are in Malmö today you can enjoy the Swedish premiere of the documentary ”Brasslands”. It screens at Doc Lounge Malmö in collaboration with CPH:DOX and Music Doc . The screening promises a lot of brass music and a unique documentary experience.

I started loving balkan brass music when I was in high school, about 10 years ago. I believed it had something to do with the steady bass lines, in combination with fast paced rhythms. But balkan brass is also both sad and happy at the same time, as if you’re on a melancholic party. The interesting thing with music is that since I started to really listing to it, this genre has made a true musical journey. One of my first big balkan crushes was Balkan Beat Box. It’s a rowdy orchestra that’s not even from balkan, nor pure balkan brass. Nevertheless they opened up a new musical world for me, with their ability to modernize folk music. Since then, back in 2003, I’ve seen that music influenced of these eastern european tunes and the gypsy beats have increased. Often this music is sorted in the genre ”world music” (and now that’s a genre and a discussion that we can have some other time…)

But there are some exceptions! Recently I’ve heard this  rnb hit on a commercial radio station. First I could not understand why I felt struck by a lightning of excitement. That’s until I realized that they’ve sampled Balkan Beat Box and it all sounded genius! 

Suddenly folk music had traveled from their roots via the electronic dance scene, trough collaborations and mash-ups with other sub-genres to the most public and commercial places in music.

And how awesome isn’t that!? Pretty awesome. 

This is the original:

And this is the new hit:

With all this awesomeness there’s also a problem, and that’s the detail with cultural appropriation. It’s clearly problematic that some people commercialise and make profit of something that’s very traditional and fundamental in others life. It’s not always easy to put something in a new context and do it right and with dignity. For me it’s a bit problematic to watch the video to Talk Dirty. One reason is that you hear a balkan sound but you see something else. You see a rnb artist flirting with caribbean music and symbols, and that’s just weird and ignorant. One should be a bit more attentive to what genres and music you borrow from. This is a shame since in the end of the day i think it’s a genius sample.

Do you have any thoughts or comments on this? Please share and discuss by leaving a reply below.