Read, Write, Run, Roam

Balkan beats banned from Macedonian buses

Okay, so it’s not Serbia, but I thought this article was too good to pass up. From the Associated Foreign Press:

SKOPJE — Public transport bus drivers in Macedonia’s capital have been asked to replace turbo folk melodies popular throughout the Balkans with classical tunes and easy listening music, officials said Friday.

After numerous passenger complaints, managers of Skopje’s public transport company JSP decided to equip new Chinese-made double-decker buses with about 400 song-playlists prepared by Macedonia’s prominent DJs.

“Our passengers complained demanding the music be changed. I know that we cannot satisfy everyone’s taste, but I believe most of them will be happy with the choice,” manager Miso Nikolov said.

No turbo folk? I can’t imagine this in Belgrade. Listening to turbo folk is a god-given right here, like smoking and nursing coffee for two hours. For those who don’t know what turbo folk is, it’s traditional Serbian (or Balkan) music set to a techno beat. There are tons of examples, but here’s one from Ceca, Belgrade’s arguably most famous turbofolk singer.

I don’t know whether I’m proud, embarrassed or indifferent that I (1) know this song and (2) no longer consider turbofolk a “change the station” moment. I’m pretty sure that we don’t have any music on Belgrade buses, but if we do, I’m very sure that there’s some turbofolk and that it’s here to stay.

You can read the full AFP article HERE.


4 responses

  1. noname

    My ears just got raped…

    October 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

  2. Agnieszka

    Dear RHOB,

    I must agree with your concerns about turbo folk. At the beginning when my Serb tried to help me to explore this type of music we watched few new and old stuff on youtube while still living in US/UK. I asked myself what’s in that music, why it turns all Serbs on?? The way singers look (!!) or maybe just the music? I was allowed to comment this while still living abroad but since we moved to BG there was no chance I would comment this phenomenon in public. felt like Kant – lost and obsessed with these phenomenal and noumenal realms (turbo folk music in Balkans). Is this real? Really?

    October 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

  3. I think–THINK–I have an idea about what makes turbofolk so special. it’s a way of being both cool and sentimental. These are songs that everyone’s grandparents can sing, but it’s set to a beat that is pure techno/modern Balkans. It reminds me about how I felt when I saw Sesame Street characters set to hip hop–blending my childhood, my young adulthood, and just plain fun music all in one. Here’s a link to it, but I imagine this makes people shrink in horror much like turbofolk does.

    On second thought, I just watched this link again and it’s AWESOME.

    October 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

  4. I learned something new today- so they call it “turbo folk” in Serbia. Here in Bulgaria we have “chalga”. I’m pretty sure if someone asked the bus driver here to turn off their music they’d tell you to get lost!

    October 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm

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