The Benka Boradovsky Bordello Band: Polkapocalypse (Monkey)

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The Benka Boradovsky Bordello Band: Dark Eyes
The Benka Boradovsky Bordello Band: Polkapocalypse (Monkey)

The problem with playing certain kinds of folk music -- Jewish klezmer, polka and gypsy music come to mind -- is that it can too easily fall into the area of parody and ridicule, albeit unintentionally, if that isn't your culture.

Roots Americana is internationally transferable because musicians can put in their own concerns in the lyrics. But polka, gypsy music etc if not your culture means you are simply borrowing the style for . . .?

In the case of the BBB Band, for a very good time indeed.

This is knees-up dance music (as it is in the original perhaps, although there is ample evidence of gypsy music being somewhat more) and therefore rides familiar melodies and rhythms, all of which works live.

But transferring that to disc opens up a whole set of other problems: and they aren't exactly ameliorated by the caricature vocals which might get them into trouble with the militant wing of the Gypsy Defense League (if there is one).

Musically of course everything is kosher (if we might appropriate that word for these purposes) and the band fairly kick along with fiddle, percussion, accordion, ripping electric guitar (on Nabakov's Wandering Eye) so on -- although a cover of the Dead Kennedy's Too Drunk To Fuck inna gypsy-style suggests their tongues remain shoved hard in their cheeks. (That'll be the Gypsy Anti-Defamation League on the phone, huh?)

The BBB Band provide exciting party music live (some of this is from live sessions) much like Brave Combo do with rock'n'roll polka (covering Hendrix, the Stones, the Doors etc) and Boom Pam do with their invention of Israeli surf music. But too much of this errs towards the parody to be entirely comfortable.

Enjoyable enough, but let's hope Garth Cartwright isn't sent a copy for review. 

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