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 a song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.
Photo Credit: Marco Menghi
Our love for brass instruments and their strong and loud, yet melancholic sound knows no borders: Mariachi trumpets, Chicago marching bands — we love them all. This particular fondness of ours goes hand in hand with our love for Eastern European music. We’ve featured contemporary classics like Goran Bregović as well as obscure oddities like Yugoslav Ranchera. This week I bumped into a more recent band –only relatively “new” because they’ve been around for 8 years, actually. My first guess was Budapest, but it turns out they’re from Milan. A pleasant surprise, actually.
Nema Problema Orkestar started playing songs from former Yugoslavia in the streets of Milan in 2004. The band actually started as a project of street music, and they have remained pretty mobile. Their current alignment includes two trumpets, a couple of saxophones and a tuba. They recorded their first album c’è un psss nella mmm in 2008. Their second record was Tarochia in 2010, and to keep up with this two-year rhythm, L’Amo was released in 2012. They still sound like a street band, which is a good thing. Their style is a mixture of jazz, Gypsy and Balkan music, spiced-up with a pinch of Mariachi. They call this cocktail a “turbobalcanic mix,” and it’s as potent as it sounds.
Random fact: you probably already figured out that Nema Problema means “no problem,” but it’s also the title of an 1984 Yugoslavian film, and of another, 2004 Italian movie set in the Balkans –yes, I sometimes do my research. Nema Problema is playing on New Year’s Eve in a small town in the region of Lombardy, Italy. For those of us in the rest of the planet, here’s their latest video, “Nesanica,” released a couple of weeks ago in their YouTube Channel. Enjoy.