released Apr 27th, 2010

from the album - Move It

bio from all music

With a group of musicians rotating around the Israel-born New Yorkers Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat, Balkan Beat Box plays Mediterranean-influenced music that incorporates traditions from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and New York electronica. Both men had plenty of experience playing in various eclectic bands before starting BBB: saxophonist Kaplan came to the U.S. to play jazz but soon fell into the underground, immigrant-driven scene, hooking up with Gogol Bordello and others, while percussionist Muskat played in Firewater for a while as well as flexing his production muscles (which he also uses with BBB) in projects with Gogol Bordello among others. In 2005, with help from bassist Itamar Ziegler, trombonist Dana Leong, and MC/percussionist Tomer Yosef, the band released their self-titled album on Jdub Records, a label that focused on promoting Jewish music of all sorts. They soon became a fixture in the New York underground, and Balkan Beat Box came out with their second full-length, Nu Med -- an album that also included contributions from guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood, trumpeter Ben Holmes, and saxophonist Peter Hess -- in 2007.

album review from all music

Most world music bands concentrate on a mash-up of African, Caribbean, and African American styles, but as you can probably guess from the band's name, that's not the case with Balkan Beat Box. Drummer and beatmaster Tamir Muskat and sax player Ori Kaplan, the band's core members, are both Israeli immigrants and met while they were playing in Gogol Bordello. They've adopted that band's freewheeling feel for fusing disparate Eastern European musics into something that's greater than the sum of its parts. The fractured meters of Balkan music may be pop's last frontier, but by combining them with the familiar pulse of reggae, rock, and hip-hop -- not to mention the gypsy music of the Arab world and the Mediterranean -- Balkan Beat Box has created something unique and eminently danceable. The drumming on Blue Eyed Black Boy was recorded in real time with real instruments, then diced and sampled to give the music the feel of a live gig. With special guests Orkestar Jovica Ajdarevica and the Serbian gypsy band Kal in tow, BBB take their sound to another level of excitement. "War Again" is an asymmetrical bit of Balkan dancehall reggae with MC Tomer Yosef delivering a powerful plea for peace over the massed ompah of the Orkestar Jovica Ajdarevica brass band. Orkestar Jovica is also featured on a couple of instrumentals -- "Balcumbia," adds Arab, flamenco, and cumbia beats to the mix, while "Smatron" gives Orkestar members a chance to show off their chops with lengthy solos delivered over a smooth, funky reggae beat. The title track is a lullaby for Yosef's new son, a lilting reggae rocker with some striking spaghetti western twang. The song's message of tolerance for people of all ethnicities and colors is still more a prayer than a reality, but it's a timely nod to the multi-cultural society we now inhabit. The set also includes the Balkan R&B of "My Baby," the funky Bulgarian salsa of "Lijepa Mare," and "Move It," a dance-happy blend of Punjabi, Balkan, and Jamaican beats. Ten years ago, nobody would have expected Gogol Bordello's gypsy punk music to break into the mainstream, but they signed with Columbia in 2010. Balkan Beat Box has a similar ethos, and the compelling combination of styles they've forged on Blue Eyed Black Boy shows them capable of making the leap from the underground to the A-list.

Track Listing

1 Intro :31
2 Move It 3:56
3 Blue Eyed Black Boy 3:22
4 Marcha de la Vida 4:08
5 Dancing with the Moon 3:48
6 Kabulectro 3:44
7 My Baby 4:06
8 Balcumbia 3:20
9 Look Them Act 3:30
10 Smatron 3:50
11 Lijepa Mare 3:36
12 Why 3:07
13 Buhala 4:39
14 War Again 3:08