Frankie and Masoud’s Pick of the Day – Balkan Beat Box
Published on January 18th, 2013 | by Frankie and Masoud
It’s always difficult to know which Balkan Beat Box tune to showcase. We are already treading iffy territory by featuring a band from a region that is so bound up in violence and issues of territory. But we’ve found, not surprisingly, that musicians, again, are the ones more interested in dialogue and peace than the powers that be.
Balkan Beat Box fuse ancient and contemporary sounds – from Jamaican Dub and Middle Eastern Music, to Gypsy, Electronic and of course – Balkan traditional music. Their aim is – collaboration. From the Asian Dub foundation to Romani musicians, their musical ethic betrays their worldview. Peace, dialogue, the cessation of violence, equality…
Here are a few much older interview questions from HEEB magazine and the Chicago Innerview but they’re an interesting peek into what the band is all about…
You often speak on stage of cross-cultural dialogue and even bring on a diverse bunch of musicians—including Iranians, Arabs and North Africans… Do you ever find it harder to spread the message of cross-cultural dialogue and understanding? More specifically, is it harder in times of turmoil, such as during and after the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza?
TOMER: It’s definitely not making it easier. For example, we never had the chance to collaborate with a Palestinian musician. .. We would love to show ourselves and the world that it’s possible to communicate and to interact with your so-called ‘enemies’, with the only tool we have, which is music—hoping that it can be translated into communication and action towards peace by those who have the power to really make it happen. The politicians have tried for so many years to make it happen and failed. I hope we can set an example and be the ones to influence and inspire the politicians and not have them influence our lives.
“La Bush Resistance,” from your first album, is a great song, but it’s somewhat timely to President Bush’s term in office. One of the funnier lines mentions making Bush belly-dance with the Afghanis. But now that Afghanistan is President Barack Obama’s battle, do you still play the song live?
TOMER: We do play it. It’s very important to remember George Bush, to remember what happens when the wrong man is in power. There is a lot to learn from those times when he was president. And we hope that Barack Obama will act with this memory—a strong lesson for what not to do.
Chicago Innerview: Do Palestinians come to your shows?
Ori Kaplan: (mentions the difficulties of crossing over) so our exposure to Palestinians comes from places all over the world. We meet lots of Palestinians in places like Paris. They have never heard of people like us and we are able to make connections on such a charged issue. The people are always different from what the media says. When people come to see us, it’s an opportunity for dialog and that is food for thought. We can all experience music together.
So here’s the Pick of the Day. Well, two picks and we’re only providing links to these to copy and paste. I’m really interested particularly in what local Palestinian musicians think about this sort of thing. Also if anyone wants to translate the Arabic on Ramallah-Tel Aviv for me they can email me at email@example.com. If you want to get into a discussion of some sort, you can do so in the comments section. Cheers guys – and don’t shoot the messenger!
No Man’s Land