Start the year with a burst of frenetic energy – from Gypsy jazz and passionate flamenco sounds to Balkan beats and even hip hop, this playlist is guaranteed to get feet tapping! Watch the musicians in action below, or listen to the whole list on Spotify or on Youtube.
Django Reinhardt – Minor Swing
The Granddaddy of gypsy jazz, Reinhardt was born in Belgium and grew up near Paris. Although he played with many of the American jazz greats, Reinhardt’s playing has a distinctly tzigane flavour to it and his magical guitar playing has captivated generations of fans. “Minor Swing” is one of his best-known, and most recognisable compositions and is at once both jazzy and slightly melancholic.
Remedios Amaya – Turu Turai
Singer Remedios Amaya brings a Spanish flavour to Gypsy music and is one of the best contemporary flamenco musicians. “Turu Turai” has all of the rhythm, longing and wild passion typical of Gypsy music and explains why Amaya is a popular singer and why her inspired singing continues to enchant audiences worldwide.
Camarón de la Isla – Soy Gitano
“Soy Gitano” is a powerful slice of Romani flamenco music from Camarón de la Isla, who began singing at the tender age of eight! Although Camarón died aged just 42, he recorded many albums and was one of the most popular cantadores of the period.
Mahala Rai Banda – Mahalageasca (Bucovina Dub)
Mahala Rai Banda hail from Romania and their lively style fuses traditional Gypsy music with modern Balkan Beats. Strings, brass, accordions and percussion create a rhythmic party sound that will have you feet tapping in no time. This remix of “Mahalageasca” has crazy Gypsy party written all over it and is proof of why the band has had international success.
Gipsy.cz – Romano Hip Hop
And now for something a little bit different – Gipsy.cz bring a hip hop flavour to Gypsy music! The Roma group are from the Czech Republic, where their music has had chart success. They have also played at Glastonbury and the fusion of typical melodies and energetic rapping is pretty unique. “Romano Hip Hop” will give you an idea of what this talented group are all about.
Taraf De Haïdouks – Turceasca
One of the most popular Gypsy groups around, the rhythm, vitality and energy of Taraf De Haïdouks is impressive. The group has toured internationally and have famous fans including Johnny Depp and Yohji Yamamoto! “Turceasca” is a glorious explosion of sound which really exposes their musical talent. Despite their success, the band members still reside in the modest countryside town of Clejani in Romania.
Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar – Otpisani
“Otpisani”, seen here in a live recording, is a groovy, gutsy slice of Balkan brass from the Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar – a band from Serbia. They’ve won numerous prizes, played concerts all over the world even made Oasis delay their gig by half an hour at the Sziget festival in 2000!
Fanfare Ciocărlia – Manea Cu Voca
Fanfare Ciocărlia are a twelve-piece band from Romania playing music with Austrian and Turkish military origins. Fast-paced and packed with energy, “Manea Cu Voca” features saxophones, clarinets, percussion and lots of brass. They often improvise on stage and as well as touring internationally, the band won a BBC World Music award in 2006 and performed music in Borat.
Šaban Bajramović – Barval Pudela
Šaban Bajramović was a popular Romani musician from Serbia who composed over 650 pieces of music, including the official anthem of the Roma people “Djelem Djelem”. Despite his great talent, he died in poverty in 2008. “Barval Pudela” is a slow, romantic song that seems to reflect the hope and sadness of the Roma.
Goran Bregović – Kalashnikov
Another uber-talented musician from the Balkans, Goran Bregović is well-known for his compositions for Emir Kusturica’s films. Bregović often performs with a large group of musicians; the Weddings and Funerals Orchestra, which has over 4o members! “Kalashnikov” is a mix of rock and Roma music and is a typical example of Bregović’s frenetic style.
Balkan Beat Box – Bulgarian Chicks
Balkan Beat Box are not, strictly speaking, a Gypsy band. But their fusion of klezmer, hip hop, dancehall and Balkan styles is so brilliant that we couldn’t resist adding them to the playlist! The group regularly collaborates with a huge variety of world musicians and “Bulgarian Chicks” has been successful in clubs as well as on stage. Pop this one on at a party and watch the atmosphere ignite.
Kočani Orkestar – Siki, Siki Baba
Kočani Orkestar is a Romani brass band from the Republic of Macedonia whose oompa-oompa sound is inspired by Turkish military music. “Siki, Siki Baba” is joyful, full of funk and the perfect ending to our Gypsy playlist!