Running Away With The Circus – Trans- Siberian March Band (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

0005798226_350If the universe is indeed infinite as those clever types on BBC 2 shows are always trying to explain to my less than comprehending brain, then there must be a place where traditional Balkan folk tunes and first generation British punk meet. So why not here and now? Okay, a bit of clarity before I scare you off.

 

Although Trans-Siberian March Band may deal in the musical fabric of eastern European it is their approach which makes one think that had John Lydon been raised in a small Black Sea port then this is exactly the type of music he would have been famous for. Perhaps. If you take his subversive nature, his desire to warp music into a new strange and snarling beast and to approach music purely on his own terms and apply it to Balkan traditions then you end up with TSMB.

 

Throughout 12 tracks the ear is treated to a musical chimera where folk frolics and gypsy jaunts fight with klezmeric machinations and Slavic ska to form a brass infused Ottoman folk-punk or it might just be the sound of Bellowhead working as the house band in an Armenian brothel.

 

Even if you haven’t dipped a toe into music like this before, even if you have never even heard of WOMAD or know an ocarina from a tambura , this riot of re-imaginings, this progressive celebration of what we once used to try and label world music is the perfect place to start. Right who’s up for a bit of Janissary Jazz? Balkan Beat?

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