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Putumayo Presents: Gypsy Groove ()

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Plugging along with their Grooves series, Putumayo's Gypsy Groove album collects a series of slinky, groovy pieces from the dance clubs of Eastern Europe, with a few diversions here and there. Music of the various gypsy groups has found its way over the years into any number of musical forms, from flamenco to "modern" brass band affairs. As such, it's not too surprising to find an updated version is making the rounds of the Euro dancehalls. The album opens with a nice piece courtesy of Stani Vana's !DelaDap out of Prague, then moves to a combination of brass band and bass thumping from Shantel (both Shantel and !DelaDap will make appearances in remixes later in the album). Czech rapper Gipsy.cz starts out with a bit of a traditional ballad before moving into a smooth delivery of rap with some hints of other Euro-rappers (not quite as smooth as an MC Solaar, but much smoother than the more aggressive American forms). Shantel comes back over the top of a klezmer band, and New York-based Balkan Beat Box contributes a more laid-back number from their debut album. Making a quick move from Eastern Europe all the way to Central Asia, Uzbek singer Karen Gafurdjanov provides a dance track with a beat straight from the mid-'90s and a vocal track hailing from the qawwali tradition. Slovenian disco-funk, a schizophrenic dance hit from Hungary, and an excellent piece from Kistehen Tánczenekar that sounds like it could have come from Brazil's lounge scene all pave the way for a couple of additional remixes to close out the album. As with the other items in Putumayo's Grooves series, this one makes for an excellent casual party album, but is probably even better as a vehicle for a highly eclectic set of music that still hangs coherently together via the love of a danceable groove and the elusive-to-name but always-present gypsy soul in the music. ~ Adam Greenberg, Rovi Hide synopsis

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