Rromatek by The Shukar Collective
Released: Jan 2007
Label: Eastblok Music
If anything begs the question of how musicians should mix traditional and electronic dance music, it's Rromatek. Shukar Collective's first album was a gruff, fascinating and sometimes difficult listen, featuring Usari Roma singers who carry on a centuries-old tradition of bear-bating songs. Since then the collective has smoothed out the sound, privileging techno and using the Roma simply to provide aural texture. The result is seamless and relatively engaging, but it's transformed what had been a window into another culture into simply ethnic window dressing. Still, it's worth a listen.
Sarah Bardeen
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