Borderline Latin: Balkan Beat Box, Balkan is European for Latin

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Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature the works of a ‘non-Latin’ artist via song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.

Their story is composed with the same stuff that legends are made of. Get this: two Israeli musicians meet in New York City, and decide to start a band that mixes folkloric Balkan music, gypsy sounds, traditional Israeli tunes, electronic music and hip hop, adding a hint of Latin soul –with Spanish lyrics included. The result is Balkan Beat Box, the brainchild of Tamir Muskat, who was already mixing and matching similar sounds when he was part of the Klezmer rock band Firewater. Saxophonist Ori Kaplan, who did his own share playing with Gogol Bordello, and a handful of their talented friends. This very Balkan, borderline experiment started in the mid 2000’s, and has since toured the world, and produced five records –Give, their last one, was released on March this year.

Their sound is difficult to define, and that’s what you have to love about them. At times very Serbian, then totally Israeli; it can go from a very French chanson accordion playing reggae to a song titled “Mexico City.” If there’s something constant, it is perhaps the fact that it always includes upbeat and extremely contagious dance-inducing sounds.

They will be touring Europe in the upcoming months, and they will also visit the U.S. during the summer. As for now, check out their song “Balcumbia” as well as their official video for “Part of the Glory” below, released a few months ago.

Balkan Beat Box – Balcumbia by nane016

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Click HERE to read more “Borderline Latin” profiles. For comments and tips, please contact me at:, and for more info on my “Borderline” works, visit Borderline Projects.