Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Ciganka” by La Cherga from their 2008 album Fake No More on Asphalt Tango Records.
This confirms it. We think Kevin may have actually grown up overseas in a Croatian circus. How else would he know anything about an obscure Balkan root band like La Cherga? All kidding aside, this is probably a sub-genre of music new to a lot of people. The band (named after a Balkan rag rug) actually consists of six members, all from the former Yugoslavia, all coming together in Germany and Austria to create this unique blend of music. It’s amazing to think that despite all the problems associated with their own countries, it was their common love for music that brought them together. What does La Cherga sound like? They mix brass and jazz vocals, traditional Balkan music, programmed beats, Jamaican grooves, to name just a few influences. “Ciganka,” the German word for “gypsy,” is actually a perfect song to showcase all those different styles. The song even has a bit of a Spanish flair and contains everything from experimental electronics to DJ scratching. They put a modern twist on gypsy music, whatever that is supposed to sound like. Maybe you could call it “gypsy music for the 21st Century”. And maybe this will explain why Kevin was juggling on a unicycle the other day.
La Cherga have a ton of upcoming shows in Germany and Denmark but no announced U.S. dates as of yet. You can read more about the band and listen to additional songs on their MySpace page. Here’s the band’s intro to the album: