KAL: Romology; Rock'n'Roma (Arc Music)

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KAL: Play It Again
KAL: Romology; Rock'n'Roma (Arc Music)

Although this group from Belgrade led by singer-songwriter Dragan Ristic have been a very popular and energetic live act, and previous albums have topped world music charts, to casual listeners who had numerous skirmishes with this very popular style of gypsy dance music driven along by vigorous violin, busy accordion and punching horns, this album too often seems as obvious as its subtitle.

They bring traditional and modern sounds together into the same dancehall together and on the English-language Negro (with sampling and scratching, and acknowledging the influence of Mano Negro) and Emily they reveal a sense of humor.

However at times -- notably on Spunky Man -- they can sound like a parody of gypsy music becase they use such familiar tropes.

The best here are the sentimental love songs (the traditional Ljiljano, and Vust which hikes up the tempo).

No one would question their honorable intentions of advancing Roma culture, or when they poke at faux-Roma types (the frantic turntable'n'horn driven Gadzo DJ) because there are enough of them around these days.

But as authentic as this may be, the irony is there seems little to distinguish them from the all the cash-ins, copyists and adopters out there.

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