CD RELEASE

Ahilea: Café Svetlana
Catalogue No.: AY CD 20 (EAN: 881390202027)

Here at Essay Recordings we love what's happening on the Austrian music scene. And now we're following up the sensational Shantel production "Binder & Krieglstein: Alles verloren" with some more really hot goods. Don't forget: Vienna is, after all, the gateway to the Balkans. What could be better than signing up the mastermind of the Viennese neo-electro-Balkan scene to produce a CD for the genre's leading label? Yes, it's time for us to launch another original. Macedonian producer and DJ Ahilea has brought together a fantastic group of musicians for a wild ride along the Autoput. So fasten your seatbelts and brace yourselves for a new and visionary take on Balkan music. This man is so hot that he gets daily requests for new tracks from DJs the world over. But Ahilea has taken his time on this one. Where others might cut corners, he has crafted his tracks with care, using his heart as well as his head to kit out the virtual juke-box of Café Svetlana. Café Svetlana? It is the stuff of legend – frequented by the great anarchist, poet and prominent Munich bohemian Erich Mühsam. Today, tucked away in a little side-street in Vienna, it can only be found by those who are humming the right tune as they turn the right corner... and when they do, they enter a whole new world. As Shantel discovered one day:

"I've been around a lot in the last few years and I've met so many musicians, producers and DJs. Ahilea from Vienna is a wonderful shlaviner* who does his thing with real style and substance. The music he brings us is in his blood. He's one of my favourite drinking buddies. I'm thrilled that he's making his international debut with Essay Recordings!” Shantel

*Erich Mühsam's description of the Café Svetlana in the Ottakring district of Vienna: "It is the haunt of many painters, writers and budding geniuses of every kind, as well as many foreign artists, Russians, Hungarians and Balkan Slavs; in short, the kind of people the locals call ‘shlaviner'.” (Vossische Zeitung 5 April 1928, p. 9)

The Grand-Orchestre de Café Svetlana: this all-star ensemble is enough to make colleagues working on similar projects green with envy.

Ahilea Durcovski (Macedonia): production, programming, samples & electronics

Hidan Mamudov (Macedonia): clarinet & kaval (flute) – a brilliant ethnic Turkish clarinettist who plays straight from the heart with a drive so irresistible that audiences often lose their inhibitions.

Mitke Sarlandziev (Macedonia): accordion – a true Roma and an old hand who has played for every major singer in Yugoslavia.

Jovan Torbica (Serbia) – double bass & E-bass – he really knows his stuff. This is the man for the groove, be it funk, soul, R'n'B or jazz... Shkelzen Doli (Kosovo): violin – a member of the Vienna Philharmonic, he can play anything, and he can play it exquisitely.

Bella Wagner (Croatia/Slovakia): vocals (7 & 11) – the great, profoundly talented voice of the Vienna funk, soul and jazz scene.

Oliver Rudoll aka MC Confusiee (Austria): rap – powerful poetry paired with real cool by the deepest voice on the Vienna hip-hop scene.

Julie Anastassiou (Austria/Greece): vocals (3 & 6) – half of Central Europe has been totally bowled over by her Mediterranean temperament and timbre.

Marios Anastassiou (Greece): bouzouki & vocals – draws upon the tradition of the Mangas (no, not the comic-strip heroes, but the members of the Rembetiko-inspired underground of the 1920s to 1940s.

Alexander Shevchenko (Ukraine): - bajan (accordion) – the man whose Russian soul can make the bajan weep and dance.

Aleksander Stojic (Serbia): guitar – a gifted all-rounder in everything relating to guitar music and Balkan wit.

Alexandar Sarlandziev (Macedonia): darbuka – an outstanding drummer, percussionist and darbuka player with the Balkan groove in his blood.

Peter Marnul (Austria): electric mandola & vocals – an institution on the Vienna music scene.

The sound of Café Svetlana recognises the multi-ethnicity and culture of the Balkans. But instead of flying the nationalistic flag, this is music to be savoured with a glass of sljivo, palinka, raki or tsuika, an open mind and respect for the musicians. Every style comes into its own here: Greek rembetiko, Turkish and Macedonian belly-dancing, Serbian and Croatian folk dances, Roma songs, Albanian-Epirotic clarinet sounds, thunderous brass and the mournful yet cliché-free lament of the fiddle. All with a touch of fresh beats & grooves, basslines and finely chiselled loops from the master of the mixing deck. That's the sound: Nu Pop Music from the Balkans to take you from the bar to the dancefloor and all the way to the sofa back home!

TRACKLIST

01. Cafe Svetlana
02. Come On Bejbe
03. In Da Balkan Style
04. Kalabalak
05. Oldskulski
06. Coffee & Tulumba
07. Let Me Show You More & More
08. Monopolis
09. Dont Call Me Al
10. Dolsko Kolsko
11. Spiritus Tango
12. O Mangas
13. Autoput
14. Kolo Moser
15. Usti Usti
16. Out Of Town
Secret Bonus Track (on Promo CD only!!!): 17.Electro Carsija

All tracks written by Ahilea except track 2 (lyrics by Aneta Kokanović), track 3 (lyrics by Julie Anastassiou & Ahilea), track 6 (lyrics by Julie Anastassiou & Oliver Rudoll), track 7 & 11 (lyrics Bella Wagner/courtesy of Tic Music), track 9 (lyrics Oliver Rudoll), track 12 (lyrics Marios Anastassiou), track 15 (lyrics Mitke Sarlandziev). All tracks published by Edition Essay

ABOUT AHILEA

Ahilea's biography: what a story! Remarkable, and yet not untypical of the Balkans, where people's biographies have rarely ever been straightforward, and where the vagaries of life have taken them from land to land in search of work or refuge; in the Ottoman Empire there were practically no boundaries. Ahilea Durcovski was born stateless in 1965 on the territory of former Czechoslovakia, near the Polish border. His parents had been evacuated as children when civil war erupted at the end of WWII. They met in a children's home and eventually fell in love and married. This Walach/Aromun and Macedonian/Slavic family is just the kind of wild ethnic blend that you find throughout the Balkans. In 1974 the family left Czechoslovakia and settled in the little town of Debar near the Albanian border, where Ahilea grew up in a multi-ethnic environment. He studied civil engineering at the University of Skopje and, on graduating, immediately started all over again – this time studying art history and archaeology. The soundtrack to his student days was dominated by the singers and bands of the Novi Talas (New Wave): EKV, Idoli, Haustor, Electricni Orgazam, Sarlo Akrobata. He moved later on to Ohrid, a very beautiful town on the famous Ohrid Lake.

The next change of direction came in 1987, with a move to Graz in the Austrian region of Steiermark, where Ahilea took on any job that was going (washing dishes, leafleting…) until he had managed to master the German language. Then he became a DJ, spinning Chicago House, and trained as a sound engineer – a profession he has practised for 18 years in clubs and for bands like Tschuschen Kapelle. At one of the gigs, he met Zoran Tomasev, a fellow sound engineer. They became firm friends, going along to “Balkan events” where they were appalled at the rubbish the DJs were playing. So they decided there was only one thing for it: let's do it ourselves! They founded Export Import Tunes as a creative platform. Soon, their "SchliwoBeatz" nights became must-do events in Vienna. Not least because of their use of visuals (such as excerpts from ex-Yugoslavian films of the 1970s and 1980s).

Ahilea had already produced electronic music, especially the kind of style that is often described as "funky, groovy, jazzy". But it was his colleague Zoran who pointed him in the right direction: "Hey, you know the music of the Balkans. Why don't you try something of your own??!" No sooner said than done. He sent his first piece, Out of Town, to three colleagues: Shantel, Robert Soko, Penny Metal. Their unanimously euphoric response encouraged him to follow his own path.

Through his work as a front of house engineer and thanks to his SchliwoBeatz nights, Ahilea already knew some of the finest musicians in Vienna's Balkan scene – some who were soloists and others who played in respected bands or even classical orchestras.

Ahilea's musical cosmos: his grandmothers sang him Greek, Walachian and Macedonian songs and folk music. His parents were more into rock ‘n' roll. He grew up listening to the vibrant pop music of former Yugoslavia that was popular throughout the entire Eastern Bloc and renowned for its revolutionary new approaches, creativity and topical references. But, like his colleague Shantel, it was the traditional music of the Balkans with its melodic and rhythmic structures that Ahilea was drawn to and which he tried to blend with his very own electronic lo-fi aesthetic. One particularly rich source of inspiration for him was the music played at weddings. Yet Ahilea is also open to all kinds of contemporary urban styles – from funk to reggae, freestyle, electronica, broken electronics and guitar-led indie rock.

The Grand-Orchestre de Café Svetlana: this all-star ensemble is enough to make colleagues working on similar projects green with envy.

Ahilea Durcovski (Macedonia): production, programming, samples & electronics

Hidan Mamudov (Macedonia): clarinet & kaval (flute) – a brilliant ethnic Turkish clarinettist who plays straight from the heart with a drive so irresistible that audiences often lose their inhibitions.

Mitke Sarlandziev (Macedonia): accordion – a true Roma and an old hand who has played for every major singer in Yugoslavia.

Jovan Torbica (Serbia) – double bass & E-bass – he really knows his stuff. This is the man for the groove, be it funk, soul, R'n'B or jazz... Shkelzen Doli (Kosovo): violin – a member of the Vienna Philharmonic, he can play anything, and he can play it exquisitely.

Bella Wagner (Croatia/Slovakia): vocals (7 & 11) – the great, profoundly talented voice of the Vienna funk, soul and jazz scene.

Oliver Rudoll aka MC Confusiee (Austria): rap – powerful poetry paired with real cool by the deepest voice on the Vienna hip-hop scene.

Julie Anastassiou (Austria/Greece): vocals (3 & 6) – half of Central Europe has been totally bowled over by her Mediterranean temperament and timbre.

Marios Anastassiou (Greece): bouzouki & vocals – draws upon the tradition of the Mangas (no, not the comic-strip heroes, but the members of the Rembetiko-inspired underground of the 1920s to 1940s.

Alexander Shevchenko (Ukraine): - bajan (accordion) – the man whose Russian soul can make the bajan weep and dance.

Aleksander Stojic (Serbia): guitar – a gifted all-rounder in everything relating to guitar music and Balkan wit.

Alexandar Sarlandziev (Macedonia): darbuka – an outstanding drummer, percussionist and darbuka player with the Balkan groove in his blood.

Peter Marnul (Austria): electric mandola & vocals – an institution on the Vienna music scene.

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