New Internationalist

Never Mind the Balkans

March 2009

By Max Pashm

Max Pashm, purveyor of KlezmerBalkanGreekGypsyPunk with electro beats.

Eleven years after Weddings, Barmitzvahs and Funerals, comes Never Mind the Balkans, an album delivered in a sleeve that bears a canny resemblance to another very famous record. Whether or not this latest album from the fun-loving Max Pashm hopes to be as iconoclastic as the Sex Pistols’ début wasn’t, remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the music that Pashm describes as ‘KlezmerBalkanGreekGypsyPunk with electro beats’ is entering a Klezmer market that is at saturation point. Does Pashm have what it takes to pull ahead of the Klezmatics, Balkan Beatbox, Oi Va Voi or the exuberant theatricalities of Gogol Bordello?

Only time will tell. But in its favour, Never Mind the Balkans goes on at quite a lick. Pashm’s band – a judicious mixture of Greek, Jewish and Balkan musicians – belt along with brass, baglamas, woodwind and lyres at their disposal. His vocalists make some thrilling interjections, but this isn’t an album that’s lyric heavy. Pashm, as on his previous album, layers on the digital beats, fades and phases tracks in and out and generally DJs the whole affair with a pleasing verve. There is an amount of self-mythologizing present, as the MC-esque introduction makes clear – in tones that won’t be out of place in any Madness song (remember all those ‘One step beyond!’ calls?) of yesteryear.


This column was published in the March 2009 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Never Mind the Balkans

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Never Mind the Balkans Fact File
Product information Elektrikos Organikos EO 102 CD
Star rating3
Product link

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Music

All Music

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 420

New Internationalist Magazine issue 420
Issue 420

More articles from this issue

  • Payback

    March 1, 2009

    Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood

  • Mariama's story

    March 1, 2009

    Mariama lost two babies in childbirth - because she had no help. This is her story.

  • The Last Supper

    March 1, 2009

    The Last Supper is an erudite and entertaining novel of boundless ambition in its concept and consummate skill in its delivery.

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.