WORLD TARAF DE HAIDOUKS Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 18 May
The Taraf De Haidouks wore nylon shirts and crumpled suits until Japanese couturier Yohji Yamamoto dressed them in velvet jackets and wrap-skirts for his Paris fashion week catwalk show. Back home in Romania they played village weddings that went on three days and nights until Johnny Depp met them while filming Sally Potter’s The Man Who Cried and flew them to Los Angeles to play at the hip Viper Room.
Since they came together in 1990 as the Taraf De Haidouks (Band Of Outlaws), their wild dances and soulful ballads played in their furiously anarchic style on several fiddles, accordions, huge hammer dulcimers and bass have torn apart festivals all around the world, while their three albums have given them three number ones in the European World Music Charts as well as sold-out tours. Being a band of gypsies, the Romanian government, particularly their foreign ambassadors, have found this acclaim an embarrassment.
Indeed the Taraf De Haidouks were forbidden to play the capital Bucharest until two years ago when even then, set to record their Band Of Gypsies live album at three live gigs, the theatre tried last-minute cancellation of the booking when they heard they were a village gypsy band. Fortunately, the recent accolade of one of BBC Radio as first World Music Awards has finally helped change opinion back home, and a recent Bucharest concert finally had full media attention and cautious celebration.
The Taraf are still playing weddings when in and
around the village of Clejani, where they live up a dirt road in the gypsy neighbourhood, even though the money Johnny Depp reportedly paid them has risked the unpromising attention of the mafia. As has the hard currency in their pockets from touring abroad which sees them returning home laden with material treasures while, for singer Cacurica, it’s the chance to build a new house.
A night with the Taraf is a night you will never want to forget. Quite simply their music woos the
A band apart
spirit and the soul, the ability to entertain a vital part of their genes. As Depp says: ‘These guys are among the most extraordinary people I have ever met. They are a model in the way they approach life. Despite all they went through — in particluar, the racism against gypsies which went on for centuries and still exists today — these guys play a music which expresses the most intense joy. They have this gift to make you feel alive.’ (Jan Fairley)
RAP REVOLUTION Venue, Edinburgh, Sun 12 May
Skitz tops up on revolutionary spirit
UK-based producers and M08 have been making quality hip hop since the lTlld 80s but have been hugely over-shadoxlved by their US COLinterparts. Home- grown acts like Gunshot and the Brotherhood failed to obtain the level of respect that their mUSIC deserved. partly due to maior label mismanagement and the hip hop buyer's tendency toward inverse xenophobia. but all that is set to change With the ambitiousiy-titled Rap Revolution tour.
Essentially a travelling showcase for his Titan Sounds imprint. esteemed producer Skitz is the lynchpin of the Rap Revolution. Does he sense an uprising? ‘l'm fed up saying that people are ready. All I know is
that we are. There's definitely a Wind of change in the air and the kids are up for it. The scene is expanding and kids are getting more patriotic and supportive of the blossoming local MC's. It's still hand-toniouth. we're still skint. but we've got the hottest click in the comtry.‘ The Titan family extends beyond Skitz and his cohort Mickie to embrace the Extremists. Skeme. Big P and DJ Excalibah. all of whom Will be playing their part in the revolution.
However. One among the ranks has been over the course before. Veteran rapper Rodney P is the father figure of this ensemble. having been a member of UK hip hop pioneers London Posse. whose influence Skitz openly acknowledges. 'I looked to the American scene but also followed the horne- grown one closely. people like Mike Allen. Demon Boyz. Imperial Mixers. Wild Bunch and the London Posse.“
Many of UK hip hop's alumni featured on Skitz's debut album Oeuntryman. As well as emerging stars Roots Manuva and Phi-Life Cypher contributing their skills.
‘Really the tow is for the artists on Titan to get some exposure. and show some love to the people ouISide of London,‘ he says. 'I love coming to Scotland. the Vibes are always Wicked but I always tend to get messy on the local whiskyl' This revolution. it seems. WI“ have to wait until the morning. (Steven Clark)
JAZZ KURT ROSENWINKEL Henry's Jazz Cellar, Edinburgh, Fri 10 May
Kurt Rosenwinkel is one of the more original and i'l‘étglllélleU exponents of Jax/ guitar on the current scene. Although he spent some time at Berklee College in Boston. and was given a substantial pusn into his career ‘-.'.rhen Gary Burton took him on tour in the early 905;. he has never been content to go down a corwentional mainstream route.
The guitarist has built his reputation in steady fashion since that early baptism ‘.'.’llll Burton. both as a Sl(l().’l‘£tll and ill his ()‘.‘."li band. He has issued SB‘yUl'Ztl albums as a leader. including a couple on Verve. and has also deyeloped his wordless vocal accon‘i)ani'itents to his playing as an intentional ; spect of his
‘The vocals started as a natural kind of sing along thing. but e\.'entual|y I realised that the yocal is actually part of the sound. I needed to disco‘.'er that. Sol began to be more conscious of it and bring it out more. started using a ii‘.ici'ophone at gigs. really exploring it as a possibility. and also '.'.orked ‘3th it in recordings. So it's very deliberate.~
Although a well schooled player. Rosenz'xinkel t)(}ll(}‘.“(}55 in the need to continually surprise yourself as a creatiye 'i‘tisician. To that end. be men began to experiment With random alternate tunings. y'xorking by ear ‘.‘.'|lfl the sounds thrown up.
‘You start off not kll()‘.'.’|ll§] what you're doing. then you organise things A ; so they become ordered. When that I- i order becomes static. you naye to break it up to create another state of , " instability. which, in turn. throu‘xs you back into chaos. That's what continuing on to the next step is all about.
‘At one point I had become so discontmted ‘.'.’llll playing the guitar that I started to explore alternate tunings. I felt like I knew too much about what l \.'-./as doing. and my knowledge of the guitar was hindering my relationship to the music.
Turning the tuning pegs instantly obliterated all knowledge of the guitai in one fell swoop. All of a sudden I knew nothing. I had to ier on my ears and touch. That helped we to experiment and iinpioyise. and find a whole lot of new things lll my 'iliis;i<:.' (Kenny Malliiesoni
In tune with new ideas
‘ '.l :. .‘ .‘ THE LIST 49